aged vs. old

in life, there are some things that can’t be re-created.  i firmly believe that the best things in life are those that have age + a story.  that doesn’t mean everything “old” is “aged”.  old is standing the test of time.  an old shirt, an old picture, an old car.  while things old are impressive by their sheer perseverance to have survived as long as they have, they don’t cross the threshold to ‘aged’ without having lived, without having a story.

pause for a moment + think of something that is old. now without letting that thing go, think of how you experienced it. can you touch it? feel it? smell it?

at my desk at all times, is a baseball. for me it invokes memories of childhood, of playing a game. but even more, it brings a feeling. i feel the dirt, smell the grass, taste the sunflower seeds, hear the sound of the ball hitting leather. i also can feel the wooden bench + see a hand in the bucket pulling out another clay stained ball for a round of batting practice. a simple baseball can calm my mind + set me at ease. now the ball on my desk has not been with me since childhood, nor is it one that is brand new out of box. it was fished out of a bucket from one too many batting practices. a few smudges, few rough spots, multiple frayed seams. it’s not the ball itself in its ‘loved’ condition, it’s the places that ball + so many before it have been. it is about the feeling of that ball + all its stitching + dirt that rolls around in my hand.

what’s your baseball? is it an old car that you remember riding with a loved one in? how about a watch or some jewelry that’s been passed down? it could simply be a combination of coke + peanuts that are an aged coupling that invokes memories, tastes + sounds of the past.

something aged has gone through a process of growing old while gaining wisdom, building a story, living. aged makes mistakes, has some dings, some scars, some tales to tell. a tree that has stood tall thru storms, thru more birds nests than it can remember + even that tree house that got added three families ago. it has lived, it’s been loved + it’s seen time pass while leaving a little of itself, but taking nothing in return.

we can all hope to one day be aged, not just old. to have a story, to tell that story + to leave a piece of who we are in the memories we leave behind. what baseball will you leave for those who come next?


porch: (noun) an addition to a dwelling that allows for a covered seating area. e.g. “meet you out on the porch” / (verb) filling up your cup; resting your bones e.g. “let’s porch this”

a porch is a place. a porch is a feeling.  a porch is where nature meets man-made.  it is a room “missing” a few walls.  that is just the start of what a porch is + can be.  there is no wrong way to do a porch (other than to not do it at all).  when you need a place to sit, to stop, to crossword, to relax, to talk, to listen….to be, the porch is it.  a few simple actions taken make just as big a difference as the items found there.  from an architectural standpoint, each part of a porch has a story, each has a purpose + most of all, a function. some aspects are purely functional: a way to keep out the rain, push back the harshest parts of the sun, welcome in the breeze + enjoy the smells.  a place that is neither in nor out, coming nor going.  a place that is never meant to be everything, but somehow provides a vehicle to all that we need, whenever we need it.  like the fireflies that come by in the summer, or the sound of a late-season downpour.  it can’t be captured, only experienced.

most importantly a porch becomes a part of who you are, if you will take the time to let it.  it isn’t intrusive or distracting or demanding.  it is something that ages as we do + it is timeless in a way we can’t be.  a place where memories are made + remembered simultaneously. 

what makes a porch?  that is difficult to answer, yet easy for anyone to sense.  for one person it might be a rocking chair that invokes time with a parent or grandparent.  for another it might be a well worn spot of a family dog.  for someone else it might be a swing that can fly you to some destination you’re dreaming of or simply watching children at play in the yard.  whatever the porch elements, that feeling is what makes the porch, well the porch.  

x ink


today’s thoughts come to you over a nice hot cup of coffee (okay maybe it’s actually my third cup of the morning, but who’s counting).  most days start this way for me; studio days, saturdays, job site days, travel days, + church mornings.  this morning’s cup comes from a roaster called stumptown that we ran across right here in atlanta in a favorite bookshop in vinings. when we discovered the coffee came all the way from the west coast, we knew it would have to be a standard on the shelf at home.

coffee to me is a constant.  yes, it is enjoyed every day + yes, it is always brewed fresh + served black.  however the roaster + flavors rotate, depending on the season.  the consistency comes with the first pour, no matter what is going on that day.  i take it everywhere in a plain white mug which accompanies me throughout the day to many places.  see, in my world coffee never stays long enough in the cup to justify keeping it warm for hours.  it’s meant to be consumed as it’s poured + refilled often.

it wasn’t until i was an adult with an all day black coffee consumption habit of my own that i realized without thinking about it, i was echoing a habit of my grandfather’s.  my mom drank coffee growing up, but, looking back i recall, it was on saturdays helping grandad i watched him have coffee for breakfast, lunch + dinner.  it was never odd to me then + it’s oddly comforting to me now. my coffee habits include a full day of coffee (along with some water at meals or a good beer in the mix).  it’s the smell, the warmth, the taste + the consistency.  

i hope to cover more coffee over time in this space just to let you know what’s brewing in our studio.  until then it’s time for another cup to keep the creativity flowing (+ me moving!).


it’s october. to many that means pumpkins, halloween, leaves, + football. to me, that has always meant baseball, more specifically, playoff baseball. now what does this have to do with design or even architecture you ask? for many it means absolutely nothing. for a boy that grew up loving the game + every aspect of it, this season means everything.

the game of baseball at surface level can be many things to many people. i have always appreciated the intricate parts of the sport; the strategy, angles, anticipation, preparation + snap decisions. as i grew older i was fascinated by the ballpark’s design, especially the cathedrals of america’s pastime that were torn down, replaced with faceless cookie cutters + then reimagined as city centers (more on that in snippets to come).

luckily, as an atlanta braves fan, most of my youth was spent enjoying the late fall + baseball bliss late into the evenings. for the first time in many years this is again a reality. so, as some late hours are the reality of design, this chance to watch my team extend into the wee hours is a rare + cherished opportunity. as the design ideas flow, if there happens to be a hit + run to win the game i’ll be happily here with my late night coffee to take it in.


a blank sheet of paper, a piece of wood, a napkin, chalkboard, or even a piece of glass. that’s how it always starts. an idea that becomes a tangible drawing on whatever flat (or semi-flat) surface is handy. a pencil, a pen, crayon, piece of chalk. the method to the madness is less about what does the drawing or what it is drawn on, but that it is drawn at all. it’s a moment where possibilities are endless + decisions are easy. the initial idea has potential that final drawings never will have.

the key is to START + put something down. nothing can evolve or change until its started. every building, every piece of furniture or tangible creation starts with a sketch. in the studio they tend to be at the most spontaneous of times with often the most random of beginnings. mine tend to be coffee fueled in the morning + let’s be honest, late in the evenings as well.

what idea is begging to start with a sketch for you today?

full time charrettes

charrettes aren’t just for saturdays anymore!  today’s the day— i’m excited to be on this journey.  making this a reality for our family has been a long-time dream + now, the part time gig is the full time gig.  we’re excited to share the energy we have for devising intentional, creative solutions for any size space or situation.

stay tuned… more to come!

– ryan

first cup

good day!  welcome to the studio.  this is the place to come for random musings from the resident architect, tinkerer + coffee drinker.

as we get started in this dream of ours to make intentional design a part of the fabric of life in our little corner of the world, this is a way for me to put some thoughts on paper + document our journey.  my experience ranges from professional architect to helping my grandfather fix most anything as a child (or in his words, fix it so good no one else can).  my goal is to help share a little of what makes my world tick in the hopes that it can help you in some way.

stop by for some thoughts on design, construction, what coffee is brewing, what tunes we’re playing + sometimes, what meats we’ve got smoking/grilling.  i look forward to seeing where this goes + sharing the journey as it happens!

– ryan