Trends in Lighting

We spoke with Brenda of Creative Lighting in St. Paul regarding what trends she is seeing in lighting selections. Creative Lighting has been one of the go to lighting showrooms in St. Paul since the 1920’s.

“We are seeing simple lines, less formal, and smaller fixtures but better quality.”


    1. The Edison style bulbs are showing up everywhere.  They are a throwback to tradition but very simple and offer a unique look, see more examples of this type of bulb here.








  • Hubbardton forge is an example of a very popular line that is hand forged in Vermont.  It is a little more high end but people appreciate the hand craftsmanship. 


The fixture on the upper right is one of Hubbardton Forges’ best selling pieces.  They create a variety of different styles of lighting as well as mirrors. Below are some additional examples of chandeliers by Hubbardton Forge.
  • We are seeing drum shades, and antique brass in dining rooms.


  • Colored glass is still very popular, it is being specified a lot for kitchen pendants.



Thank you Brenda for the wonderful input!

Sources: 123/45

The James J. Hill House- History

If you haven’t yet gotten the opportunity to check out the James J. Hill house on Summit Ave. in St. Paul, I highly recommend that you do so. I’ve made a few visits over the past few years and am always impressed, even beyond the stunning architectural details, pipe organ and 22 fireplaces there is so much to take in.

Pipe Organ
  • Completed in 1891
  • 36,000 sq ft (largest residence in Minnesota)
  • U.S. National Historic Landmark
  • Designed by Peabody, Stearns and Furber
  • Architectural style is Richardsonian Romanesque
  • James J. Hill supervised the design and construction very closely
  • Hybrid lighting system of both gas and electric
  • Hand tooled leather walls
    Upper Skylight
Grand Staircase
Have you been? What’s your favorite part?
Sources: 1 / 2 / 3

Preparing Your Home for Fall

While dressing up your homes exterior for fall maybe fun, make sure not to forget about preparing your home for the winter months.

Did you know, Purcell inspects it’s repeat clients home each fall to be sure everything is in proper working condition for the winter?

  • Crank the Heat

Surviving Minnesota winters are tough enough, can you imagine firing up the furnace or boiler the night of the first freeze only to find out it doesn’t turn on; or its blowing cold air?  Crank the heat before the cold comes to ensure its in proper working condition.  

  • Clean

Fall is a great time to have your duct work cleaned. Don’t get stuck breathing all the dust and dirt that came in when your windows were open during the summer months.

Replace and or clean all of your mechanical system filters – This can be a pain in the…..!  If you live in a newer home, post 1990 its likely that you have lots of mechanical units that require replacement or cleaning.  Be sure to check with a professional.

  • Test

All smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as needed.

  • Reverse your Ceiling Fans

If your ceiling fans have a reverse option, turn them on when you turn on your heating, hot air rises remember?  Doing this will create an updraft and the warm air will be forced downwards.

  • Check your Roof

Your roof should be checked annually, just take a walk around your house looking at all sides of your roof. If something doesn’t look normal; your missing shingles or vent covers it best to have a professional take a second look. 

  • Blow Out

Call in a professional to blow out your lawn sprinkler system; this will include removing the back flow preventer from the exterior of your house. When water freezes in your sprinkler lines it either cracks the pipe or stretches it and causes a weakened area prone to crack later.  Properly closing your system will eliminate the need for costly repairs later. 

If you have any questions or would like a referral to one of our Professionals please contact our office at 651.748.1304, we are happy to help!  

Sources: 1/ 2

    The New World Trade Center

    Since tragedy stuck on September 11th, 2001, we have been following the development of The New World Trade Center.The lead building of the 6 tower complex is One World Trade Center, which when complete, will be the 3rd tallest building in the world.

    Tower 1
    • Footprint is nearly identical to the original Twin Towers – a 200ft. X 200ft. square footprint.
    •  The cost of One World Trade center estimated as of $3.8 billion dollars, it’s the single most expensive building in the world.  
    • Anticipated completion of One World Trade Center is 2013, only a year away.
    • Tower rises from a 185 foot- windowless concrete base – designed to protect against truck bombing and other ground level terrorist attacks.
    • Additional safety features includes: 3 foot thick reinforced concrete walls.
    • The current base cladding design consists of angled glass fins protruding from stainless steel panels, similar to those on Tower 7.
    •  LED lights behind the panels will illuminate the base at night. Cable-net glass façades on all four sides of the building for the higher floors, designed by Schlaich Bergermann, will be consistent with the other buildings in the complex.
    • From the 20th floor up, the square edges of the tower’s cube base are chamfered back, making the building’s shape into eight tall isosceles triangles.
    • An advanced “cocoon” scaffolding system was installed to protect workers from falling. This was the first time that such a safety system had been installed on a steel structure in the city

    You can view a live camera of the towers progress here!

    Photo of WTC Towers 2 - 7
    Rendering of Towers 2,3,4,5,7


    • Tower 2-  Designer and the WTC site master planner worked together so that on September 11th no shadow will be cast onto Memorial Park.
    • Tower 3– Designed so there is no obstructed 360 degree view of the city, this was achieved by placing columns in places other than the towers corners.
    • Tower 4- This minimalistic design, completes the WTC master plan’s to create a descending spiral into the memorial
    • Tower 5- To be built on the site that is currently occupied by the remains of Deutsche Bank Building, which was damaged by the 2001 terrorist attacks.
    • Tower 7- Will be the first certified green building to be constructed in New York City.
    File:Downtown Manhattan from heli-April2012.jpg
    Downtown Manhattan- Tower One progress- spring 2012

    Sources: 12 / 3

    Master Suite Renovation- Project Update #3

    The Master Suite Renovation is progressing a few a days ahead of schedule.  Try and imagine – a contractor ahead of the written schedule?!  A well planned project in advance makes all the difference.

    Stay tuned for another update in just a few short weeks!

    Master Suite Renovation- Project Update 2

    Just two weeks ago we posted progress photos of this project.

    Due to the pool below, all of the mechanicals had to be roughed-in from the top down.  Under normal circumstances, the subfloor usually remains in place and the mechanicals are installed through the underside.

    Normally interior wall framing is built on top of the subfloor.  In this situation, the subfloor had to remain uninstalled until all the mechanicals and foam insulation was installed.  The interior walls were framed and installed using a build-up of material so that the door ways would be flush after the subfloor was installed.
    Watch a video of this project getting spray foam insulated here and learn more about it in an upcoming post. 
    We started this project August 6th.  As of today (August 31), we have started ceiling and wall painting.

    Trends in Plumbing Fixtures and Accessories

    Freestanding Tubs
    These tubs create drama and add a unique feature to bathrooms. Styles vary from the classic claw foot tub to modern styles. Check out these stunning examples, which style do you gravitate towards?

    Another Beautyiful Bath_3.9.12


     Stone Tub

    Kohler Colors Featuring Jonathan Adler
    A bold new line of kitchen and bathroom sinks designed by, Jonathan Adler. These sinks let you express your personality and explore your unique, bold style.  Kohler originally introduced colored sinks in the 1920’s and throughout the decades have given clients lots of options in sink choices.

    Sources: 1 /2 / 3

    Why Do I Need Gutters?

    Gutters are very important to the integrity of your home. They mainly serve two purposes:
    1. Catch roof water and divert it away from your foundation – Depending on your soil conditions, allowing water to drain off the roof and soak into the ground next to the foundation can lead to a wet basement.
    2. Historic applications that serve an aesthetic and functional purpose – Purcell routinely use a “K-Style” gutter to mimic the look of crown moulding.  In doing so, we capture the function and aesthetics.  
    Gutters come in many materials and styles. Vinyl, aluminum, galvanized and steel gutters can easily be designed and colored to match the theme of any home, while wood and copper gutters are less versatile but offer a more individualized look.

    The most common styles of gutters include: K-Style (commonly installed), half round, built-in, and box style. 
    Examples of K-Style Gutters
    Examples of Built-in Gutters
    Built-in Gutters
    Examples of Half Round Gutters

    Shown above is a Box Style Gutter that Purcell designed and had built for a project.
    The home desperatly needed gutters due to poor soil conditions and a old stone foundation.
    The client was adamant about keeping with the look of the existing fascia lines.  So we created a gutter to match the lines.

    Trends in Bathroom Design

    We sat down with Brenda and Gina of Kitchen Comfort, a Kitchen & Bath Showroom and Design Firm located on charming St. Clair Ave. in St. Paul. Nestled between homes built in the the early 1900’s the location couldn’t be more fitting!

    They shared with us trends they are seeing in bathroom designs:

    Designing with aging in place in mind:

    It used to be that young adults would move back in with their parents, now the parents are moving in with the kids. Lately, we’ve been getting clients that are remodeling a bathroom for a parent who may move in with them, due to aging. Your body doesn’t work the same way it did 50 years ago.  By designing bathrooms with aging in place in mind, you create a bathroom that works for everyone. No matter if they are 5 years old or 75  years old! Some examples designing in this style are:

    • Adding grab bars
    • Large open showers without barriers
    • Adding a duo shower head
    • Incorporating a bench into the shower


    • Gray is everywhere! From cabinet finishes, tile, wall color, floor coverings. Gray is having a very strong presence in the design world. Check out these gray bathrooms.

    Function first:
    While fashion matters, by an large people seem to be focusing on products that are easy to clean, use and live with. Eliminating time spent cleaning and maintaining and more time with family, enjoying life.
    For the first time since 2001, Bathrooms are being chosen to remodel over kitchens by 78% of people

    Sources: 123

    Thanks Brenda & Gina for the great information.

    Check out more of Kitchen Comforts work here!

    Master Suite Renovation – Project Update

    We recently started a master suite renovation. We completed a family room addition for them three years ago so it felt like reuniting with old friends!  With many of our clients, we create short term and long terms plans for their house.  The clients goals of this project were to create a larger master bedroom, a functional master bath, more closet space, and a laundry room with lots of hanging space and storage.  This home is a hidden gem, located at the end of a cul-da-sac, surrounded by “your typical neighborhood” houses; The home sits on a large piece of wooded property and has a hidden little secret; it has an indoor pool!   
    With this project due to be completed mid October we are moving quickly on the construction and are excited to show you a few before and some progress photos:
    Exterior Before
    Master Bedroom/ Laundry Before
    Master Bathroom Before
    Indoor Pool 
    We hope you are excited to see the final product, stay tuned!