Friday, December 23, 2016

Bonin Architects' End of Year Dinner

Sunrise in St. Croix
Is it the end of the year already?!? I've been a bit behind in posting in this blog lately. Jeremy and I took a much needed vacation to St. Croix for ten days, and we returned to work with our accountant in end of year tax preparations. 

Last night, we hosted our annual end of year company dinner at a local country club. We had such a great time, good food, drinks and lots of laughs! What a fun time, I'm still giggling this morning at some of the hilarious stories that were shared last night. We all spend so much time working together, and Jeremy and I are so thankful that we enjoy working with our employees, otherwise, coming to work would be a chore and we would not want to do it anymore. We consider ourselves lucky and blessed, hopefully you are too! 

Happy Holidays from all of us at Bonin Architects!
A

Friday, November 18, 2016

Another Testimonial From Great Clients!



Without testimonials and references from past clients, it would be difficult to continue to grow as an architectural firm. We're so grateful for all of the testimonials we've received over the years. 

We would like to say thank you, David & Lisa, for choosing our firm to design your wonderful new home. Their testimonial follows below, and if you would like to read other testimonials from past clients, please click here http://www.boninarchitects.com/testimonials/

“We hired Bonin Architects to design and manage the construction of our home on Lake Sunapee, NH. What was important to us was to design a home that reflected our style but also functioned well for the family priorities most important to us. During the design stage, we were most impressed that the Bonins spent much of their time listening to us rather than trying to convince us to adopt their preferred style. Not only did they work hard to incorporate our thoughts and desires into the plans but added many additional elements we would not have thought of that added much to the architectural impact and functionality of the project. In addition, we were interested in adopting some local historical cues to the style which they enthusiastically researched and incorporated extremely well into the design.

“As project manager, they were realistic and often stopped us for a reality check to assure we were on budget. The staff was efficient and consistent in answering questions and sending our monthly status reports. Their estimate of the cost and time frame were accurate allowing us to feel in control during the entire process.

“The quality of the work met our high standards and, to our great relief, they took care of all local and state regulatory issues and paperwork. They also provided invaluable advice and options for builders. Unlike many other projects we have heard about, our builder had no major issues with his ability to construct what the Bonin’s had designed.

“We would not hesitate using them again or recommending them highly to others.”

– Lisa & David

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Updated Renderings of a New Home Design Overlooking the Great Bay in NH

Exterior Courtyard Rendering


It has been a very busy fall season! We are excited to share some updated renderings of a new home, soon to be built overlooking the Great Bay on the Seacoast of NH. There are too many images to share on this blog, but please take a look at our Facebook page for more views of this great project. 

Here's a link to our Facebook page. If you haven't "Liked" us yet, please do  https://www.facebook.com/BoninArchitects/

Friday, October 7, 2016

Return of the Pumpkin People 2016

Bonin Architects' Design Team with our Entry for this Year
It is October! Each year, our town is one of many in New Hampshire which holds contests for pumpkin people or scarecrow people creations. Our town displays pumpkin people-businesses and residences participate and they're everywhere. What a joy it is to travel around the different towns to see the creativity out there!

Our design team had a great time designing, creating and assembling our version of the 1933 movie King Kong, which included the Empire State Building, pumpkin people pilots in the airplanes, a pumpkin head King Kong, a pumpkin lady in an evening gown, and Leggo pumpkin people peering out of the windows at King Kong. It is so fun to watch people bring their families to take photos in front of the building.

Last year, we entered and won with E.T.  Please view the rest of the photos of this year's entry on our Facebook page and please remember to "Like" us! https://www.facebook.com/BoninArchitects/
Last Year's Pumpkin People Entry-We won first place!




Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"How Much Is A Red Car?"

Bonin Architects & Associates' Trade Show Display Booth

About fifteen years ago, it was part of my job description to travel to trade shows as a vendor representing the company I worked for at the time. The shows usually started on a Friday afternoon and finished on a Sunday afternoon. These were grueling weekends of standing on my feet all day, talking to literally hundreds of people throughout the weekend, and giving away small trinkets and brochures to people who would stop by our display booth. In the beginning, it was a way for consumers to learn about our products and services and the crowds were large. It was a time when high speed internet was not readily available or affordable to many households, so this was a way for people to obtain information about different companies offering similar services and products.

My diet during those long days usually consisted of hard candies, Goldfish crackers and water, since there was no time to really sit down and eat. I really did not enjoy these shows at all, there was just not enough time to spend one on one attention with potential clients, and when we started our firm almost ten years ago, Jeremy and I attended a few as vendors. Thankfully, gradually, people started researching through the internet and the crowds started to dwindle over the years. After a few years, we decided not to participate in these trade shows anymore.

Trade Show Crowd-There were aisles and aisles like this one


One of the most frequently asked questions I received (and still do) was, "How much will it cost me to design and build a home?"  My favorite answer came from another vendor, who was a classmate of mine representing another company in our industry. Between people visiting our booths, he came over to say hi and we started discussing how we answer THAT question, the one people always ask about costs. His answer was one I'll never forget, "I don't know..how much is a red car?" 


There is a big difference in cost between these two red cars
Brilliant! Although it was meant to be tongue in cheek, and we were a little punchy after a long day, it made perfect sense. Not only are there many different types and models of red cars, their price ranges can be extreme. Plus, consider that the red car is being built exclusively for you-in your driveway one part at a time. I've since heard different answers such to the question of cost, such as, "I'm not sure..how much is a bag of groceries?" "How much is a bottle of fine wine?" You get the point...

There are so many different variables in designing and building your home. Site considerations, aesthetics, building codes, material selections, construction types and methods are all factors in which we take into account when we begin a project with a new client. We utilize means and methods which help us work with our clients to establish a reasonable budget range for their custom home which has worked well for us. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss all of the different variables which need to be taken into consideration when budgeting for your red car, I mean...your custom home design. Kim@boninarchitects.com or 603-526-6200


Jeremy & I were tired! Taken in CT at the end of a trade show back in 2007

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Scholarship Winner-Me!

Austin, Texas

I am so excited! Earlier this week, I received this email after submitting an essay along with other information about a workshop I am very interested in attending. The organizers of the event were offering a few scholarships based on the submissions they received from people from all over the country.

Here's the important part...Dear Kim, (blah, blah, blah, you know-all the formality stuff) and then.. "I'm happy to announce we've decided to award you a scholarship to the upcoming Small Firm, Big Projects workshop in Austin."

Wow! I get to go to Austin, Texas! What a great opportunity, I am so thankful! Since I live in New Hampshire, this will take a bit of coordinating on my end. Jeremy won't be able to come with me because our firm is really busy right now, and our Bernese Mountain Dog, Bailey, recently had a TPLO surgery, so we would not be able to bring her to the local animal inn. 
Bailey, the day after her TPLO surgery

This trip is a little bit beyond my comfort zone, (OK, a LOT beyond my comfort zone) to say the least. I've never flown alone, believe it or not! I know, how could that be, I'm 48 years old, for Pete's sake! Well, I've always flown with my family, friends or with Jeremy, and even then I get lost in parking garages and hotels. Plus, I typically do not fly to attend seminars or conferences when there are plenty within driving distance or online workshops. This one in Austin, TX, however, really caught my eye since it deals with topics I work with on a daily basis. The seminar is "Small Firms, Big Projects" in Austin, TX. It is filled with speakers presenting topics such as setting attainable goals, fee structures, marketing topics, and client relationships. 

Our firm, Bonin Architects  is predominately a high-end residential and landscape architectural firm, and we're already working on large scale projects, however, I always seek knowledge, continuing guidance and education in how to effectively manage our firm. We've been in business for almost ten years now, and I do not want to us to become complacent or comfortable. 

So, the hotel room is booked, the airplane tickets have been ordered and I'm looking forward to traveling to Austin for three days in October. I can't wait to come back and share what I've learned from the workshop with our design team. Stay tuned for photos and updates about my trip when I return!

Saturday, September 3, 2016



We are really excited about this upcoming project! Here is a photorealistic rendering of a new home to be built on Lake Sunapee, NH. I posted more photos of this project on our Facebook page which you can check out here, https://www.facebook.com/BoninArchitects/

If you are considering a new home design and would like to learn more about our services, feel free to contact me anytime. I'm happy to discuss how our entire design team works together to create beautiful home designs for our clients from all over the country! www.boninarchitects.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Are You Looking For Property?



Here's a shameless plug!  Are you seeking a beautiful property which has been cleared for a building site and could be subdivided? 

If so, I know where you could find 13.7 acres surrounded by undeveloped land with a peekaboo view of Mt. Sunapee. How do I know? Jeremy and I own it and it is now on the market. We really don't have any use for it anymore. If you need someone to help design a home for the property, I know a firm that could help, too! :)

My good friend, Pam Perkins from Sotheby's in New London, NH is the listing agent. She walked the property with us and used her drone to take some pretty awesome photos. Here's a link with more information, thanks for looking! Feel free to share this link.
https://www.neren.com/listing/0-Turkey-Hill/57b3d077b46e6cdb93b4d76d

Monday, July 25, 2016

Last Friday-After Hours with our Design Team

L to R-First Row-Jeremy, Mike, Jude, Mike. 2nd Row-Chris, Ben, Greg, Me






Last Friday, Jeremy and I took our design team out for a tour around Lake Sunapee. It was a fun way to see our projects around the lake from the lake view. We looked at some of our past projects, current projects, and the locations of a few of the projects which are under design and scheduled to begin construction next year. 

The weather was perfect and it was a great way to end a Friday afternoon after a long work week. We enjoy everyone we work with; it was nice to relax together and have a little fun outside of the office environment.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Today Was A Fun Day For One Of Our Clients!

Our client-this looks like fun!

Today was a very exciting day for one of our clients! They recently relocated to NH after years of dreaming about designing and building their new home. Little Lake Sunapee is located in New London, NH & Springfield, NH, their building site on the New London, NH side of the lake...and, this is cool, it is about one mile from our home and two miles from our office. We can walk to this project!

Our client wanted to participate in the site work, so, the excavating contractor, Nate, was nice enough to let him give it a whirl. Our firm designed the home as well as the landscape architecture.


Nate-providing some instructions to our client

















Here are a few photo realistic renderings our firm prepared for our client during the design process. The views depicted out the windows will be their actual view. 
Photo Realistic Rendering of the Great Room
Rendering from the bottom of the stairs

This will be the view!

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Ultimate Lakeside House-We're Featured in New Hampshire Home Magazine!





In the July/August 2016 issue of New Hampshire Home Magazine, one of our Bonin Architects & Associates' designs is featured with a corresponding story, in which many of the people involved in this fantastic home design were interviewed!

Our clients were fabulous to work with, and we still keep in touch as friends beyond the design and building process, which is always the best part! When Jeremy and I decided to focus or firm's efforts on primarily residential projects (with a few commercial ones mixed in here and there), it was because of the lasting relationships we create with our clients!

Here's the full story if you wish to read more:

http://www.nhhomemagazine.com/July-August-2016/The-Ultimate-Lakeside-House/


Friday, June 24, 2016

Repeat Clients Are The Best!

We love repeat clients; we've had several over the years, and we really appreciate it when clients return to us and refer us to family and friends who are also building new homes.

Nine years ago, we designed a vacation home in Lincoln, NH on Loon Mountain for clients who live on Cape Cod. Here's a picture of it above. We had such a great time working with them and getting to know their family. Although there is never a "perfect" project, Jeremy and I were proud of our first completed project together as new business owners, (even though we'd been in the industry for many years prior to starting our own business). Back then, it was just Jeremy, Jackie and me and Chris-who was working part time for us while he transitioned from his full time job, to a full time position in our firm.

Now, we are designing an extensive addition/renovation for their primary home in East Sandwich, MA. We drove down there earlier this week for a design meeting, plus it was great to catch up with them after many years.
Here's me on Cape Cod with our clients' dog, Hazel, what a sweetheart


Their home design in the white mountains remains today, one of our sentimental favorites. Are we allowed to choose favorites? It seems as if it would be like choosing a favorite child...Our clients told us that they still love going to their vacation home as often as they are able to travel there, especially in the winter. Here are some finished pictures of our first project, http://www.boninarchitects.com/loon-mountain-retreat/

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Some of Our Projects From the Lakeside View!



One of the 3 lighthouses on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire

The weather was nice last week, so we ventured out to snap a few photos of a couple of our home designs which are now under construction around the lakes region of New Hampshire. Here are a few renderings of these soon to be completed homes, as well as progress photos of the homes which are currently being built for our clients.

We were hired for both the architectural design and landscape architecture for this fabulous lakefront home below:

A rendering of a new 12,000sf lake home in NH


The 12,000 sf lake home almost completed-sod was installed last week

Here is another of our Bonin Architects & Associates' designs, currently under construction on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire:

Rendering of a new lake home on Lake Sunapee, NH
The Lake Sunapee home-almost completed!





A rendering and a progress photo of a third lake home, currently under construction!



A fun family home on a lake in NH-it will be well used by their family and friends!

The fun family home under construction-it is almost completed as well!

Thank you to our wonderful clients, our amazing design team at Bonin Architects, along with our network of professional general contractors, engineers, and subcontractors around the state. We are thankful to work on a daily basis with so many great people, and we look forward to showing you more of our projects! If you are considering a new home design, please contact me anytime, Kim@boninarchitects.com. Jeremy, our staff and I would be happy to discuss your project!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Getting Around Lake Sunapee Just Became a Bit Easier!


It's been a few weeks since I last posted here, and it is only because we're knee deep into our busy season in the Lakes Region of NH, thankfully! This is our favorite time of the season.  Every year, usually around May until October our phones really start ringing, people from all over send email inquiries, and we're in and out of the office at site consultations with potential clients.

Our Chaparral at the dock on Lake Sunapee


Last week, we brought our boat to the dock we rent every year on Lake Sunapee for the summer. Jeremy and I have our boat licenses and we use our boat for both work and play. Lake Sunapee is 25 miles around the entire lake if you travel by car via the roads hugging the lake.  It is much easier and quicker to check the progress or take photos of our current projects, whether they are under construction or completed from the water.






We also like to bring clients and potential clients to tour the lake and point out different styles, colors & options from the water. Once we had a boat full of our clients and we hit a massive rock, which was almost completely hidden under the water, bouncing everyone on the boat around and breaking our propeller, that was embarrassing! "Whoops, so sorry, everyone!" Luckily, nobody got hurt or hurled overboard. Now we know exactly where all the rocks are on the lake, most are marked pretty well, that one wasn't though!

We even use our boat as a prop for photo shoots. Here are a couple of photos of our boat during a recent photo shoot by John W. Hession Photography.  We finished the design of the house and the boathouse, construction had wrapped up, and our client had not yet purchased a boat. So we offered ours!


Boathouse from the inside

Looking at the boathouse from the main house






The finished home and boat house taken from our boat by John Hession Photography


If you are in need of an architectural firm for a new home design, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be happy to give you a tour around the lake to show you some of our projects. Kim@boninarchitects.com

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How Did You Hear About Our Firm?






Related imageI just received a call to make sure our site was working well for our needs from a sales rep at Houzz.com, (which we love by the way). We direct our clients to that website often in order to create idea books. It helps in relaying their likes and dislikes by sharing photos with us. We have a listing on that site, take a look  http://www.houzz.com/pro/boninarchitects/bonin-architects-and-associates. We've won a Best in Design Award for the past four years now; the most recent one was this past January.


When I am having an initial conversation with potential clients, I will often ask how they found us. "How did you hear about our firm?"

We advertise in many different venues, some which we pay huge bucks for, and others are free listings. A marketing person once told me that you need to be seen five times before someone remembers your logo or name.

Here are a few of the places where our clients find us. Our Bonin Architects website, of course, along with our Facebook page, LinkedIn, Twitter, our two blogs, magazines such as New Hampshire Home Magazine, Kearsarge Magazine, New England Home Magazine. We also advertise in Mt Sunapee Magazine, Lake Sunapee Region of Chamber of Commerce, Meredith Chamber of Commerce, local fundraiser publications, a few newspapers, our job site signs, and various national published articles and interviews. 

Image result for new england home magazineImage result for new england home magazineImage result for kearsarge magazine


Even though we advertise in many places, the majority of our clients are referred to us by past clients and builders we've worked with over the past ten years. Wherever you saw us, or however the source, we appreciate all of our clients, both past and present, thank you!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Working on A Saturday Is Kind Of..Nice, Actually.

Owning an architectural firm is definitely not the type of career where you only work nine to five, (sing along with me.."what a way to make a living"). 



When we started our firm, Bonin Architects & Associates, almost nine years ago now, Jeremy and I knew that our hours and days would be sometimes crazy. We worked out of a bright, sunny office attached to our home at the time. We were in no way prepared to predict how many hours we'd need to invest into our firm in the first few years to bring it to the level of achievements and realization of goals which we are now enjoying.

Our first office attached to our home with me, pretending to work while Jeremy took my pic.














The reason we've reached a level of success is due to not only our invested hours, it is also due the amazing design team we've added over the years. Nine years later, with two offices in New London and Meredith, NH, and seven people (soon to be eight), we are a successful, respected, award-winning full service architectural design and landscape design firm. That feels great, and without the dedication of our employees working with us on projects we all care about, we would not be able to achieve these goals. We are thankful and grateful for our wonderful clients and our talented design team.

Today is Saturday. Jeremy and I are working. We actually work most weekends in some capacity. We do not ask or expect our employees to work on weekends, unless there is a meeting that we need to schedule due to our clients' travel schedules, which happens mostly during the summertime. We are working in our New London office, catching up on some emails, discussing a design for a new project, writing a proposal for a potential client, reviewing project timeline projections, discussing resumes for another position we are creating, and just some miscellaneous things like watering the plants, getting rid of some desk clutter, hanging a bird feeder outside of my window, this list goes on and on.


My paperweight frog. Jeremy bought this for me years ago at a trade show. I love it.

As much as I like the active, busy office environment during the week, working on weekends is pretty nice too. The phones do not ring as much, vendors don't pop in trying to promote their products to the nth degree, and Jeremy and I are able to freely discuss some of the more confidential business decisions. It is kind of a nice balance, and by Monday, we're always ready to enjoy the office environment again when everyone returns.






Thursday, April 28, 2016

National Take Our Daughters & Sons To Work Day


My son, Justin, is with me today in the Bonin Architects' Meredith, NH office location. It is National Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day. Oddly enough, it is just a coincidence that he's with me on this particular day. We didn't even know that it was a "thing" until we heard it on the news on SiriusXM Radio driving over during our one hour commute from New London, NH. We both looked at each other and started laughing-what a joy Justin is to me and a huge part my life every day.

Occasionally, Justin comes into work with me whether I'm working in our New London or Meredith, NH offices. He doesn't actually do any work for us, he mostly watches videos on his computer, takes walks to watch the boats dock at the town docks on Lake Winnipesaukee, or gets an ice cream from Ben and Jerry's down the street. 

Justin is twenty one years old and has autism, the high functioning kind (formally known as Asperger's Syndrome). He works part time as a dishwasher for our local country club, he drives, and for the most part is pretty independent. He is never in a bad mood and loves to make people laugh. Someday, I may tell you a bit more about Justin, perhaps in a different blog or a book. But for today, here's a photo of Justin sitting in our office on this beautiful, sunny day.
Justin-Always Smiling!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Then My Computer Died...

My computer died. I'm not too upset about it; we budgeted for a new one for me this year anyway. You'd be surprised how much we need to allocate each year for our firm's computers, software, licenses and online programs in order to run our business. I was using a Surface Pro 3 and I really loved it for the three years I owned it. There were never any issues with it, it was compact and light, and I could use it as a tablet as well as a replacement for my much larger, clunky laptop. 

In replacing my Surface Pro 3, I chose a Surface Pro 4 (yes, this is kind of like replacing our company truck with the same make and model, do you see a behavior pattern here?) There were a few changes that are making me pretty happy; it is faster, the stylus is easier to use, and we installed Office 2016 which I'm finding is making my life a bit easier.

I guess the only downfall is setting up and remembering all of my personal preferences and bookmarks; it is pretty time consuming and I've spent the better part of this week setting those up between my other daily tasks here at Bonin Architects & Associates.

A picture of my dead Surface Pro 3 is below along with my new Surface Pro 4. Thanks to Esscor Electronics for helping repair my SP3, which we're going to give to Jackie to use for bookkeeping to replace her clunky laptop.

Surface Pro 3 & 4