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Architects Condo Remodel – a Space Optimized Redo with LG Squared :: Inside the Pro’s Home


A little ways back I told you about my visit to Memphis and the big party that ensued as Brizo hosted their Blogger 19 Reunion.  Well, on returning home, I had to pass through Atlanta, OR as I have come to know it – “Home & Garden Hollywood” – a layover. And due to, well, a scheduling snafu (my own doing), I found myself there for about 10 hours, a hot July day – with only a faint idea that I had something to do.

Fortunately for me, also on the trip to Memphis – Chris Laumer-Giddens. I had known Chris previously (but had never met him in person) as @claumergiddens. There he is below …

… the taller one.

Luck would have it, Chris, with his wife Jodi Laumer-Giddens, and their business – LG Squared Inc. is headquartered in Atlanta, GA.

He graciously invited me for a pop-in during my layover. I’d learn both a little about their business, as well as see first-hand their recent condo remodel. (It was a House Crash. I mean – a Business Crash, a Home Busine…, Home-Related Busin …. Whatever. It was a Crash … of all sorts.)

Chris, as I have come to know, is a building scientist … guy and a systems (HVAC and more) designer. Jodi is an architectural designer, a master decorator and a born entrepreneur.  Together that equals Architecture + Building Science + Interior Design or LG Squared. LG2 as in – “Laumer-Giddens,” two times. No, not brother and sister (ewww), but rather both chose to hyphenate when they were married in 2001. (If you are wondering, Jodi was the Laumer and Chris was the Giddens.)

Having lived in Tampa’s Seminole Heights area – a classic and completely-renovated 1916 bungalow, the couple relocated to Atlanta in 2008. From 1300+sf, they paired down to this 900sf loft in the ViewPoint, a high-rise skyscraper in Atlanta’s Midtown area. Their new home came complete with (almost) sight-line balcony views of the Georgian Terrace Hotel, the Fox Theatre and other nearby landmarks.

The couple told me that they had been seeking an opportunity to experience high-rise, community-oriented i.e. communal living. It, in a way, also seems to put to the test many of the principles they propound and employ for their clients in their practice.

Their condo is an optimized, efficient, and intelligently designed example of rightly-sized usable space.

A Rightly Sized Home Tour

On the day I visited, classical music simmered as Jodi was plowed through some of her duties as bookkeeper. The signs of a wall removal are still present from the recent redo. A peeled back wall is now replaced by a custom-made, No! a statement barn-inspired, wall-hung door, which Jodi and her father constructed out of salvaged material. It separates a modest master bedroom area (also a cozy hideaway for their cat Serendipity) from the loft’s main living area. A slim alcove and narrow desk behind a modern sectional does duty as Jodi’s office. The couple’s other child Sabine always close by.

On the ViewPoint’s 9th floor, a few up and over from well-appointed common areas, I entered the foyer, yes – a foyer, which in their case has been converted into Chris’ office. Saved, antique and crafted pieces play perfect balance with the contemporary-styled (often industrial referencing) loft.

Kitchen After

Kitchen Before

Architects are Homeowners Too

It was in this foyer that I asking about the business. The couple says they serve their menu of services in an ala carte fashion, but that they cherish the opportunity to combine their talents on projects. While they offer traditional architectural and design services, as well as project management, they add in many of Chris’ strengths centered around building science, HVAC design, energy efficiency and green certification strategy.

– Discussing Ductless Mini-Splits

During my visit I got a brief introduction to Chris’ recently installed (pride and joy) mini-split, or as Chris would correct – multi-split (dual-action) heat pump and AC set-up. Below he discusses why he chose what he chose to install.

Editor’s Note: For more on mini-split see our articles – Remodeling a Bungalow as well as Building a Chase for Mini-Split Air Conditioner.

They have worked with clients as north as, well, Baltimore.  The couple does pair on my projects and the business is the result of a total integration of all strengths, but the focus remains at the core on stylistic and hi-functioning architecture.  I hope this brief home tour only helps to illustrate the simple fact – they practice what they preach.


Quick Aside: Over lunch at Cypress Street Pint and Plate, just up from the campus of Georgia Tech, Chris whipped up, on a napkin, some of the issues I may encounter in my own 1889 farmhouse. The cool first floor and the hot hot hot second floor in my house can be traced as Chris suggests to a under insulated and not completely tight attic.  (As the diagram clearly shows. :P )

A scientist, you see.


Outtake :: A Side-Trip to Atlanta Botanical Garden (Piedmont Park)

Before meeting up with Chris and Jodi, I had a little time for a walkabout too in Midtown. Throughout the course of shopping for something to do in Atlanta, I received several recommendations for the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which happened too to be in Midtown. (Truthfully, it was a little bit of a hump up the hill from the MARTA stop, but well worth it.)

Located on the north side of Piedmont Park, the Garden is home to many varieties of plants, glasswork and many rather large organic sculptures – mosaiculture.  And no, I had never heard of them before either. I was fortunate on the day of my visit to grab an unnamed carpenter, one of many responsible for the installation and maintenance of, well, these installations.

He told me in a nutshell, how, for these works, a wire frame is built around a sack(ish) container of soil. Seeds and/or seedlings are later strategically placed and the sculptures grow. Certainly impressive, and I am certain too that my pictures will not do them justice.

While the canopy walk and mosaiculture were worth it alone, I did have time for a quick stop into the Fuqua Orchid Center. Though I was rushing a little at that point, I did have time to snap off a few pics (included at the bottom of the gallery above).


For more another from this series “Inside the Pro’s Home”, see Installing a Solar Thermal Set Up. For more from our Memphis Trip with Delta/Brizo, here. That’s it. Thanks out to Chris and to Jodi, to the City of Atlanta, Brizo and to you. Thanks for reading and enjoy. ~jb

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