Chicken Coop 2011

September 12th, 2011


For those chicken lovers out there, here is our new chicken coop just in time for the Chicken Coop Fall Tour 2011.

Other facts: the name of our coop is the henHAUS.

Our chickens are Tallulah (Silver-laced Wyandotte) and Good Time Sally (Black Australorp). Esmeralda (Barred Rock) was unfortunately devoured by a hawk.

Parasol Modular

March 18th, 2011

To see more Parasol Modular images, click on link

Who would have thought that playing with a child’s toy would inspire an idea for a solar carport for electric vehicles? This is what happens when architect Kerrik Wessel plays with his children. Conceived with a child’s imagination and detailed with an architect’s expertise, Parasol Modular is an artful approach to modular building systems.

red carport

6743 Knoll

December 1st, 2010

This house renovation was drawn up for a couple and their child who fortunately survived a rain and wind storm during the summer of 2010. Their house and yard didn’t survive as well as their family. A large tree crashed through the roof and as a result of a perfectly flat mid-century roof, the rain which had pooled on the roof, came pouring into their house. Most of the interior walls, floors and kitchen had to be ripped out immediately. The couple were thinking of putting a new kitchen in and adding a third bedroom before the storm hit. With the insurance money and some of their own, they decided that they should go ahead with their plans while they lived in a hotel room for 6 months. The hotel had a pool too.




Model Images

Completed Images Coming!

Oman/Harper Residence

December 1st, 2010

The Oman/Harper Residence remodel was a design/build effort. I supplied the design drawings to a contractor from which he renovated the house. The original house was a small Cape Cod style residence located in south Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Oman/Harper couple have 2 children and a grandmother who owned the original house. They combined their resources in the Fall of 2009, added another level and renovated the original house for everyone to live in together.



Model Images

Completed Images Coming!

Architectural Fees and “Package Deals”

December 1st, 2010

Wessel Design
Residential Renovation Design & Build Options

We do accept credit card payments

“A” Package
Based on a construction budget between $5,000 to $12,000

This package might include single room projects such as a kitchen, bathroom, office or porch addition.

“Starter kit” includes a sketch with specified materials, finishes, colors and furniture

3 days


“B” Package
Based on a construction budget between $10,000 to $24,000

This package might include large space projects such as a multi- room addition.

“Interim kit” includes code review, preliminary design, drawings, research, building materials, preliminary construction cost estimate.

1 week


“C” Package
Based on a construction budget between $20,000 to $48,000

This package might include house, studio, garage renovations and/or additions.

“Comprehensive kit” includes all of the above plus preliminary construction drawings, construction cost estimate, architectural rendering or model.

2 weeks


Wessel Design
Full Service Residential

Projects beyond the budgets and scopes mentioned above are generally based on 8% fee of construction costs. Structural fees are in addition to architectural fees.

The architectural design process entails the following four (4) steps for which your approval will be required before proceeding to the subsequent phase:

1. Programmatic/ Schematic Design (15% of design fee): This phase begins with the development of a written program and relationship diagrams. Base on the program, drawings including preliminary floor plans, sections and elevations will be developed that delineate the preliminary design. The fundamental building materials and a structural system upon which a preliminary construction cost and schedule will then be able to be determined. A perspective drawing and/or model(s) will also be developed.

2. Design Development (25% of design fee): This phase encompasses the continued refinement of the design with a clear and coordinated description of all aspects of the project. The approved drawings and specifications will be the basis for the construction documents.

3. Construction Documents (35% of design fee): This phase involves the preparation of the contract documents (drawings and specifications) that will direct the contractors’ performance in implementing the design intent including final material and system selections as well as details and dimensions.

4. Construction Administration (25% of design fee): It is our conviction that the quality and unique detailing require for a Wessel Design project require hands on participation of the designer during the entire construction process. The bidding and negotiation process may lead to approved substitutions or modifications in details to achieve cost savings or to simplify the construction process. Once the construction commences, the need for design-sensitive decision making continues. The construction documents will require continual interpretation.

Please call us to discuss your particular project.

We would be happy to talk with you.


Star and Tribune Article

November 30th, 2010


Letter to Atomic Ranch

November 5th, 2010

Ramblers and Ranches

My wife and I, who are both architects, love mid-century architecture and we love your magazine. Many people, including both of use, have grown up in ramblers and ranch houses and still live in them today. Often overlooked as being ordinary and dated, they still function very well for a modern family. They are practical, modern and they were built for everyone. They are the “common man” house. You don’t have to have hired an architect to live in one. You don’t need millions of dollars to own one. You don’t have to be a licensed engineer to reroof one. You don’t have to consult a landscape architect to plant a flower garden in the front yard of one. They are pretty simple houses with open floor plans. This housing stock is still charming after all these years especially since the trees have had 50 years to grow up around them.

We were very excited when we purchased our mid-century house 6 years ago. The house we live in is 1,100 sf. on the main level and 750 s.f. of basement. Perhaps small by some standards, a family of 4 was raised in it when it was built in the 50′s and a family of 4 lives here presently. Our house happened to be designed by an architect and fits well into a neighborhood of ramblers of similar size. It has large glass windows on the south side of the house which overlook a large backyard and garden. We are in the process of restoring the house. We have replaced the e.p.d.m. on our slightly pitched roof, the redwood siding has been sanded and resealed, we added a deck and are planning to add an entrance canopy next spring. Luckily the house was in very original condition when we purchased it, but needed a lot of TLC.

Atomic Ranch is a great resource for the home owner who loves their house. Atomic Ranch magazine can help illustrate what others have done with their mid-century homes. I have had in-home consultations where I have turned the owners on to Atomic Ranch magazine and suggested where the addition might go and never heard from them again. Not even a thank you for the free magazine. I assume they found a builder and did it themselves without my help. I guess I don’t blame them. A couple of thousand of dollars for a few sketches is a lot of money, even though many municipalities require a drawing from a builder or architect. Many owners believe that they are experts in mid-century architecture having read, researched and lived in one for their entire lives. They just need a little help to get from point A to point B. Why should they pay someone to do this for them when they are more tuned in to their own house than an architect?

I think that a good architect can be very helpful to a mid-century client, however. I have drawn up remodeling plans for several small houses. My design approach when it comes to these kinds of houses stems from my personal love, research and experience with mid-century architecture. As an architect, I feel that it is my responsibility, not only oversee the technical parts of a remodel, but more importantly to design with inspiration. With most of my clients it hasn’t been difficult to get them inspired about their houses. Their inspiration comes from the same source of love that I feel toward mid-century architecture. The difference for me, while designing a remodel, addition or new, is the envisioning process. One has to think beyond preserving a home and its mid-century nostalgia. One has to think beyond originality and at the same time enhance the inherent charm. This is not as easy as one might think and can become a very slippery slope. I have seen many successful examples of house remodels in Atomic Ranch magazine, but many not so successful ones where I live. I think that this is where a good architect can really help a client open up to the possibilities of what their houses can become, not only what they are or have been.

I am aware of some of the prefab houses that you have featured in your magazine and the architects that have designed them. I have mixed feelings regarding prefab construction. Architects love to design small, efficient, modern homes for people and prefab is the essential Usonian home. Like ramblers and ranches, prefabs have the potential to provide good housing stock. The attraction of prefab has been that it is seen to be affordable and modern. Unfortunately, I have seen quite a few prefab homes that were neither. Some are inexpensive but poorly detailed and ugly. Some are quite unique but extremely expensive. Sometimes they are expensive and poorly detailed. In these cases, prefab deserves a bad reputation.

In my opinion, if an owner wants to have an unique house, they are better off hiring an architect at some level to help them with the design and finding a good contractor to help them build it. Most people don’t realize that we have been building a sort of prefab or standardized home for decades now. Ray and Charles Eames No. 8 Case Study House built in 1949 in Los Angeles is a masterpiece of standardized and prefabricated design. Houses have been built using standardized lumber, concrete blocks, windows, shingles etc for quite a while. Structurally insulated panels (or S.I.P.s) are available and they are what I like to use. Houses have always been and always will be a combination of prefabricated components and site built components. The key to a successful project, however, isn’t necessarily the components with which one builds. A successful project has to have an open minded client/owner, a creative architect and responsible builder. Hiring an architect is an important step toward that end. Architects are not always as expensive as you might think and most of the time well worth every penny.

How are architects worth every penny? Aside from the knowledge, creativity and design lead that an architect brings to a project, an architect represents the home owner’s best interests. An architect helps owners design and build within their budgets, maximizes floor plan layout efficiencies, coordinates technical and structural issues, oversees the construction and contractors, educates clients regarding products and construction techniques. I think I have saved some of my clients thousands of dollars simply by suggesting less expensive products they could buy for their houses that work just as well and look better than the alternative. Architects really have your best interests in mind and are on your side, whereas others may not.

Specific visual examples can be seen under “Projects” category.


June 2nd, 2010

Severin and Stella in front of a new 2013 RAV4 EV.
All Electric!
We still have the “blue truck”.

Severin nad Stella

Severin and Stella sitting on the famous “blue truck”

(1978 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 used as the work vehicle for Wessel Design)

Stoleson Residence

May 3rd, 2010

The Stoleson Residence is located just outside of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The Stolesons wanted to live in a mid-century home but were unable to find any mid-century homes for sale in La Crosse. Even though there is a mid-century neighborhood not far from the Stoleson’s new house, very few ever go up for sale.

Stoleson Residence is 95% complete. With a little help the landscaping, metal panels, exterior doors etc. will be completed by the end of the summer.

Stoleson windows

Entry and living room blue Panelite windows.

Stoleson front door

Front door and green wall minus metal panels. The carport green wall is in the background.

Stoleson courtyard

Garden courtyard and patio minus the landscaping. Studio is on the left.


Interior photo of the mid-century open plan with dining, living and fireplace all in one open space.

“A Language All Its Own”- Architecture MN July/August 2009

May 2nd, 2010


Download “A Language All Its Own”- Architecture MN July/August 2009