Summer : A Review

By on July 25, 2016. Posted in , .

Today’s post is a guest post written by Marisa Kaugars AND is part of the ArchiTalks series in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect selects a theme, and a bunch of us architects (who also write a blog) post on the same day at the same time… This month our theme is Summer.

You can find out more about Marisa in the Our Team section of our Studio page. One of the goals she set for this year is that she wanted to write more…. I am thrilled to be able to share the blogging responsibilities with our team so our readers can get a better sense of our studio as a whole. Very happy to say that you’ll hear much more from Marisa in the future! Enjoy!

Reminiscing About Summers Past 

For me, the word summer has always been synonymous with fun. I grew up in Michigan, where winters were always cold and snowy, and while I could never get enough of the igloo-building and sledding adventures, summer was always a welcome respite from the cold. Beach volleyball, backyard games of soccer, road trips, and fresh garden vegetables on the grill—those were the staples. Now I live in the great concrete jungle of New York, and while just as sunny, summer has been more about the soupy humidity and the masses of tourists that flock to Manhattan than about fun. Recently, I’ve been thinking about how to put a new spin on summer here—new home, new attitude needed.

Reflecting on Goals

Side Mirror - Summer : A ReflectionPerhaps summer is now more about taking time to reflect on where I was at the beginning of the year and how to make progress towards where I want to be. I’ve always hated New Year’s resolutions because too often they become clichéd ideas about self-improvement, but I took a leap this year and established some goals for myself that seemed achievable but challenging. Some are going well, others not so much. I promised myself I would read 75 books this year—I’ve made it to 30, but according to a brief analysis, that’s 11 books behind schedule…I have some reading to do! I also said that I would write more…well, here I am.

At Studio MM, we also made some team goals. Our number one objective was to be more efficient—and we’ve definitely made huge strides in that direction. We’ve put new workflow systems in place to be more consistent in how we work. We’ve considered how to make project management work for both us and our clients and employed some new communication tools to help us do so. We’ve hired a fourth member of our team and have begun to determine our collective and individual strengths and weaknesses. Of course, we still have things to improve and work on, but I’m pretty proud of how much we’ve accomplished in just half a year!

Recharging Our Batteries

Summer is now also about recharging our batteries. We’ll be taking another offsite in August, which will give us a chance to reevaluate our accomplishments and set up new benchmarks for the remainder of the year. It will also be our first off site with all four member of Studio MM, giving us an opportunity to connect and reconnect with our work and each other. Hopefully it’ll help give us the same sort of momentum as our offsite at the beginning of the year did! Of course, recharging has to happen in our personal lives as well—each of us is taking a bit of time off to explore a new part of the world or relax in the comforts of favorite haunts. We’re scoping out the architectural marvels of Europe, relaxing on beaches in Florida, exploring Icelandic fjords, and taking time for ourselves on yoga retreats. All of these adventures will help us come back to work refreshed and re-inspired.

Summer : A Review

Summer: A Review

Renewed Perspective

Of course, in all of my musings about what summer could be, I came to the conclusion that there does need to be a bit of fun involved. So amongst the time spent re-evaluating and recharging, I’ve found new things to love about New York. Unsurprisingly, many of them are centered around food—picnics in Central Park, Smorgasburg in Brooklyn on weekends, brunch at city sidewalk cafes with friends on Sunday mornings. But weekend outings to go hiking in the Hudson Valley have been planned, my first foray to a city beach is imminent, and while the great roller coasters of the Midwest will be missed, a fun-for-fun’s sake trip to Six Flags might be in order. Sometimes, you just need a step back to push yourself forward. Summer seems like the perfect time to do just that.

Summer : A Review


Be sure to visit our friends reflections on this month’s ArchiTalks theme, Summer, as well:

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Seasons of Summer

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Summer is for the Young at Heart

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
summer working, had me a blast

Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL (@etroxel)
Lake Powell

Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
The Dog Days of Summer

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Summer — Architecture Imagery

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#Architalks 20 “summer” and architecture

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
4 Secrets To Getting The Most Out Of Your Summer Internship

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Summer Surprise

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
An Acrophobic Architect’s Illuminating Summer of Roofs

Brinn Miracle – Architangent (@architangent)
4 Reasons Solar Power is a Hot Topic

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Seasonal change

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
… and the livin’s easy

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
An Architectural Spark for your Summer

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Do I Need to Hire an Architect?

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Summer is a Great Time To Market Your Architecture Firm!

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Glass in Architecture – Summer Wonders

Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
Summer in Seoul

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
[Dis]Connected Summer

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
5 Things to Make the Most of Your Summer

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
An Architect Summer



  1. Marica, 75 books is a great goal I’m curious to know of any you would recommend!

    P.S. I went to Six Flags a few weeks ago with the kids and found I don’t like rollercoasters as much as I used to!


    • Thanks Enoch but I don’t have such lofty goals as reading 75 books in one year! I’ll leave that to Marisa and ask her what she recommends for us! 🙂
      haha – I’d probably agree with you roller coasters too!
      Thanks for the comments! – Marica

  2. I’m a historical novelist when I’m not running my cost estimating business, CostPro, in Boston, and am an avid reader. I easily get through 75 books a year. In the summer, I read ‘beach books’ which are lighter and don’t require that much concentration, fun reads–celebrity bio’s, cozy mysteries, romantic comedies. I’ll gladly share my summer reading list; Email drubino(at) costpro (dot) net. or Email me from my website, costpro (dot) net

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