Variety...With Intent

We've focused on interior design this month to give Amy Schluessel, our commercial Interior Designer, a little time in the limelight! It also is a great way to highlight the diversity of project types Firm Ground works on. Environments for living, working, playing, and now we can add travelling and healing.

This month we feature one of three hotel projects we have been working on in Burlington, Iowa. It is a boom town and there are lots of opportunities for creating reuse projects along the Mighty Mississippi. Please contact Jeff or myself for more information.

The other project, 5555 Boone Avenue in New Hope, is our 8th project with People Incorporated and the first one we have done together that focuses on the mental health of our youth. A very special project for an outstanding customer. People Incorporated's Artability Show is the coming week and we have included information about that as well. This is our second year as a sponsor for this great event that proves art can heal the soul. We hope you can check out the show!

                      -Tom
                            

People Incorporated

Artability

Once again, Firm Ground is supporting our client, People Incorporated, by participating as a sponsor to their annual Artability Show. The Artability program is a celebration of the creativity and contributions of people with mental illnesses to our community. A series of art and writing workshops lead up to the multi-day Artability Show & Sale held each fall. Artists may sell their work at the show and receive 80% of the profits, with the remaining 20% going back to support the Artability program. Writers also contribute their creative work to an anthology available for sale at the show. We hope you will all attend this year to see why it is and event very important to us and to our client.

Artability Show & Sale: October 28-29 at the Great Hall in St. Paul 180 E 5th Street St. Paul, MN 55101

New Facility Opening

One of the first steps in designing any space is to determine the function; once the purpose is defined it creates a boundary for the evolving design. There are lots of factors that play into designing a space such as material selection, color psychology, figuring out the most efficient layout and lighting arrangement to just name a few. For the newly opened Juvenile Mental Health Facility in New Hope, color psychology was a key component in influencing behavior. Soothing shades of pastel blue and green were carefully selected as a way to calm and not stimulate the students. Each color has a different effect on humans whether the end goal is to create energy, increase communication, provide harmony or be comforted there is a color that suits every environment!
 
 

Holiday Inn Express

This past year we have had the privilege of working on three hotels with DesignWise and Great River Entertainment in Burlington, Iowa. Holiday Inn recently refreshed it’s environment after it underwent an interior remodel that affected the lobby, breakfast area, pool, business center and guest rooms. The new colors and materials created a fresh and crisp interior that can be easily maintained while making guests feel at home during their stay. The inlaid carpet and contrasting colors of the floor tile provide visual interest and help differentiate conversation areas from the main corridors. The deep, rich espresso stain on the floating ceiling provides a level of comfort to contrast the existing white coffered ceiling. This stain is also repeated on the barn doors leading to the breakfast area and on the chair frames, repeating this design element helps lead your eye around the lobby. This remodel helped update their look by opening up and expanding their existing lobby space and modernizing the layout to make it more functional for guests and staff.
 

Happy Spring!

We have the best clients!

We really do! Each one has very specific project needs! Each one a unique opportunity to create a “Raving Fan”!

Variety is the spice of life. It drives us and helps keep the creative juices flowing. There is another ingredient in the mix that is equally as important and that’s consistency.

We have a consistent process that we follow regardless of project or program. Call it the recipe for success. The process covers the steps in the complex flow of designing and building projects for individual customers. It’s the consistency of our approach that is reflected in successfully executed projects.

The bottom line on all of this is communication. Firm Ground strives for continuous improvement in how and when to talk to our clients. It is easy when things are progressing smoothly, but it is in the moments where something has gone awry that relationships are really forged and strengthened. Our aim is to create personal relationships with our clients that grow over time. Share in the risks and rewards, and celebrate the success!

How can we get you to your celebration?

                      -Tom

 

Harriet's Inn 

Harriet’s Inn is the newest project built in the East Harriet Neighborhood although you might not notice it. Smart Associates and Firm Ground teamed up with the restaurant owners to create a turn of the century English pub in Minneapolis. With this inspiration we surveyed the area to document the feel and context of the neighborhood to build a building that would fit in and look as if it has always been there.

This new restaurant enriches the neighborhood in many ways. First and most obviously we have replaced an abandoned gas station with a warm inviting neighborhood pub. Read More...

Thank You!

We would like to extend a resounding thank you to each and everyone who attended our open house last month. It certainly was a successful one. It was a joy to see all of you and we are so grateful you were able to celebrate our 7th anniversary with us. In case you were wondering about the delicious food we served, it was from our new friends, This Little Piggy Catering. The delicious food they create is only outmatched by the service, and we are proud to help them grow their business by designing their expansion.

Thank you all once again, and here's to another 7 wonderful years!

Newest Additions

Firm Ground would like to introduce you to the newest member of our staff, Obettu Subah. Obettu is currently an intern from the drafting program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, but will be joining us full time this spring upon her graduation. We are so happy to have Obettu as part of our team, and proud to see the progress she has made in such a short time.



"I am always excited to getting to know new clients and working on their projects, I find this very fulfilling.  I believe that each client is unique and have awesome ideas and just need help bringing that to life, and this inspires me tolisten to the clients understand their needs, so that together me and my team-members alongside with the clients can make their ideas come to life."  -Obettu Subah
 

We would also like to share our excitement in our tiniest addition to the Firm Ground family.  Jeff Schuler and his wife welcomed their first baby girl on March 18th. She is perfect and mom and dad are over the moon!

Ward 6 Does it Again!

Once again Ward 6 has proven why they are one of the best restaurants in St. Paul.  After many trips for dinner or drinks, this time was for brunch.  I must say, as usual, top notch in every way. The work and passion Eric and Bob have put into this place continues to show at every turn.

 The service was fantastic, especially considering we were a group of 9 celebrating my nephew's fourth birthday.  The menu is utter perfection for the surroundings with classics like Eggs Benedict, Shrimp & Grits and Biscuits & Gravy.  Yet these aren't so simple, there is a spectacular twist on them all, and attention to the little details that makes each dish distinct from anything else.  I must say, these were the best shrimp and grits I've had outside of Savannah, Georgia!

The history of the building is always striking to me, and I find something new in it to be amazed by at each visit.  Ward 6 also plays an amazing part in the neighborhood.  It is located at Payne Ave and Phalen Blvd, an area that has been long known by St. Paulites as not the best part of town.  The dream of Eric and Bob has played a key role in reinventing the image of the Payne-Phalen neighborhood, and Firm Ground is proud to have been part of it!

~Gillian

Check out Ward 6 and all their original details at 858 Payne Ave. St. Paul, MN and grab either one of their signature cocktails or a beer from their primarily Minnesotan list!

ward6stpaul.com

My Frank Lloyd Wright Summer

Without really trying I’ve ended up becoming a Frank Lloyd Wright Pilgrim this summer!

It all started with a wedding invitation to Madison, Wisconsin in June. On the way home we decided to go to the House on the Rock in Spring Valley. Well without thinking about we had stumbled into the home of Taliesin!

  

This was an interesting side trip and Spring Green was hosting its annual Summer Art Festival. I purchased an interesting piece of artwork created by a student of Taliesin.

In July we were in Florida, yes Florida in July, and we stumbled upon Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Beginning in 1938 Frank designed several structures over a period of years as well as the esplanade that links many of the buildings together:

 

 

The College found a set of drawings in a drawer for one of the Usonian Homes that Wright had designed for college staff. It was recently built and is featured on the campus tour:

   

In 2012, the Florida Southern College Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior for being the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world! Lakeland is located halfway between Orlando and Tampa & is a beautiful town to explore beyond the boundaries of the College!

        

Welcome to Firm Ground!

Change is a constant in our lives. According to a “DISC” Profile I completed many years ago I like to command, manage and reduce change.

The funny thing about life is that it challenges us to grow, learn and accept that we do not control change but change, in its many forms, strengthens us, cultivates compassion and builds character!

Firm Ground was founded on these principles of change. Heck, Firm Ground continues to evolve, grow and change all the time!

Within a specific framework we welcome change and help our clients face the challenges changes brings into their lives and businesses too!

Since this is our first “official” blog post, a BIG positive change for us, I thought it would be appropriate to illustrate how we can help with your next challenge, project or remodel.

What We Stand For:

Making your work our own

Understanding your style

Having fun together

COMMUNICATION

  •  Great listeners
  • Approachable
  • Respectful of others opinions
  •  Easy to understand project documentation

INTEGRITY & GENEROSITY

  • Honest
  •  Family focused
  • Community driven

“IF YOU CAN DREAM IT, YOU CAN DO IT” - WALT DISNEY

  • Imaginative
  • Creative and collaborative
  • Optimistic & forward looking
  • Evolving

ATTENTION TO QUALITY

  • Leadership as facilitator
  • Work-Life Balance
  •  “The power of We”

 

There is a story behind each bullet point…curious to know more?

 

SERVICES AVAILABLE

 

  • Master Planning
  • Entitlement
  • Space Planning
  • Architecture & Supporting Engineering Services
  • Interior Design
  • Construction Administration
  • Preservation & Renovation Services
  • Bank Draw Inspections
  • Connection to Broker Services for Land Acquisition
  • Due Diligence Pre-purchase Property/Building Inspection
  • Networking with Financial Institutions
  • Consulting
  • Graphic Design
  • Rendering
  • Owner’s Rep