RemWhirl Architecture InteriorDesign Progress Edition
CROSSLAKE -- From magazines to smartphone apps, changing technology is also changing the architectural world. Popular websites and apps like Houzz and Pinterest -- tools anyone can use -- help architectural and design firms get an idea of what their clients want. “We’re really seeing a heightened awareness of architectural style, and I honestly think it has a lot to do with websites like Houzz and Pinterest that are bringing the architectural world to people’s fingertips,” said Dan Whirley, owner of RemWhirl -- an architectural, interior design and landscaping firm in Crosslake. “They’re able to jump online and see what high design looks like, and now that’s becoming the norm. So people tend to come to us with -- it used to be magazine clippings, and now it’s their Houzz profile and their Pinterest profile -- and show us all kinds of pictures, and that’s usually where we start the design process.” Not only do these tools increase users’ exposure to the architectural realm in general, but they also comprise style and design ideas from all over the country and the world. “We’re seeing a lot of influence, whether it be from the ... modern in the mountains to the East Coast on some coastal-type products,” said Collin Jacobs, lead designer and department manager of the architectural division at RemWhirl. “We had a client in Switzerland, so we were inspired by their heritage there and pulled that in, and it all worked very well.” Sources of inspiration aren’t the only changes Whirley’s firm has seen since opening RemWhirl as a home-based business in 2006. Clients’ wants and style preferences change, as is the case with any industry trends. “Style-wise we’re really seeing a refinement of the pure architectural styles,” Whirley said. “For example, the modern farmhouse has become an extremely popular style, very clean lines but still open and airy and kind of agrarian feeling. People are definitely tipping more to the modern style as of recently, even up here in the northern part of the country.” Whirley and his team of architects, designers and landscapers help their customers achieve their desired styles -- whether it be modern farmhouse, something more contemporary or a completely different direction -- by thoroughly getting to know who they’re working with. “We do take some time to meet with folks before we engage in a contract and make sure it’s a good fit for both of us,” Whirley said. “Make sure that they value what we do and from a relationship standpoint that we’re going to get along because we spend a lot of time with our clients.” Those clients come from not only Minnesota or even just the Midwest but from all over the country and sometimes the world, like Jacobs’ Swiss customer. With additional offices in Minneapolis and Castle Rock, Colo., RemWhirl casts a wide net. Even from the Crosslake office -- which opened in its location on County Highway 3 a couple years after the business began -- Whirley said he sees a lot of clients from places like Chicago; Naples, Fla.; and Lincoln, Neb. With different geographical regions come different design wants and needs. A trend Whirley said is unique to his Colorado office right now, for example, is the “work-live” environment. “It’s studio space or shop space along with living quarters, so it’s kind of a mixed use kind of building,” he said. Back in the lakes area, water-oriented structures, perhaps known better as boathouses, have become a growing trend lately, thanks in part to a Crow Wing County ordinance passed in 2014 permitting structures up to 120 square feet on shoreline property, as long as they’re at least 20 feet from the water. “That allows people to store their tubes and their water toys and things like that,” Whirley said.