Category Archives: Guest Posts

Guest Post: What’s Behind Your Walls?

Drexel Building Supply talks lumber.

When you remodel or build, what’s behind the wall is really important. But often it is rarely discussed in the building process or if it is, it is all based on price.  “Find me some cheap lumber to build this!”  How horribly wrong that is!

The framing lumber used to construct your walls is an industry unto itself. Lumber gDrexel Lumber Yardrades vary, and wood can vary greatly even within the grade.  You have to find a true lumber guru (like the team at Drexel) to find good wood.  It’s a bit like wine.  Not all red wine is created equal.  You can get it really cheap or really good, sometimes both, but not usually.  This applies to lumber.

Why do you need good wood?

The straighter the lumber, the easier it is for the carpenters to work with. Wood with no knots or cracks is also easier to use and offers more strength for your structure.  Wasted time and wasted product are expensive things on jobsites.

TheDrexel Lumber Yard Bartelt team takes “good wood” a step further with TimberStrand® Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL), an innovative and versatile building product that is straight, free of knots, and resists twisting, shrinking, and bowing after installation.  Learn more here.  Bartelt uses TimberStrand® LSL on long and tall walls and also behind walls with ample cabinetry and fine millwork to ensure they are straight, plumb, and true.

How does it get to your home?Drexel Lumbe Yard

Good wood comes across on railroad cars, normally from Canada or even here in Wisconsin. The lumber grows slower, due to a shorter growing season, which means it will be stronger with less knots and warping. It is stored at Drexel under cover until it is needed for a project. Then a team of pulling experts deciphers the plans and pulls the material in a way that is easy for the builders to use. Sorting through hundreds or thousands of boards for the best product can be costly, so Drexel does this for contractors at our yard.

We use a moffett or boom truck to move the material (not “dump”) to the project site, so it stays organized until it is used at its final destination: your home.

About the Author:

Joel Fleischman has a self diagnosed case of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder and has used that to fuel his life and made this negative trait into a positive lifestyle. He is also the president and solution provider for Drexel Building Supply. You can follow him on twitter @JoelmFleischman or e-mail him at [email protected]. Joel does have an English degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, but you would never know based on his blogs. Also, he went to Panama City on Spring break three consecutive years in the early 1990s.  Learn more at

Guest Post: Surveillance Offers Peace of Mind

Bullet Surveillance CameraMany home and business owners are using video surveillance or security cameras to protect the people, properties, and belongings they have worked so hard to achieve. Video camera technologies are changing and improving all the time. At Techteriors, we have been receiving more and more requests for surveillance. These cameras can pan, tilt and zoom, and capture images and movement in the day or night.

In homes, Techteriors can install these in children’s rooms or nurseries. They can be aimed at the front door of your home or on your play system. Homeowners can log in to their camera networks and view their property from virtually anywhere in the world. We have even had requests for cameras to be installed in backyards to make sure pets are safe while their owners are at work. It’s important to protect your beautiful home, especially newly updated spaces created by companies like Bartelt.

In businesses, cameras can be hidden to protect property or viewed from multiple locations. A DVR can record varying lengths of time, depending on how many cameras are set up and how large of a system is requested.

Some new and exciting trends for 2014 include (but are not limited to):

  • Growth in panoramic cameras
  • Security cameras with improved audio capability
  • Worldwide growth in video surveillance by approximately 12 percent (statistic from CEPro Magazine – February 2014)

About the Author:Alex DeToro of Techteriors

Alex DeToro, a Bartelt partner and “neighbor” for many years, is the co-owner of Techteriors in Mequon, Wis. and Delafield, Wis.  DeToro’s husband, John, started the company in October 2001.  Alex earned her bachelor’s degree in History and Entomology and her MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. If you’d like to learn more about Alex and Techteriors or need surveillance for your home or business, visit or call 262.243.9800.

Guest Post: Take the Party Outside with a Grill

Outdoor Grill by Shady Lane GreenhousesJust like building a home’s foundation one brick at a time, I start designing outdoor, built-in grills one question at a time.  There are the standards you might expect: How big is your family?  How often do you entertain? How large are your gatherings? The answers are quick, with little hesitation.

However, there’s one question that’s sure to give some clients pause: Do you want to face your guests while grilling?  It is, after all, a very social activity (even though some pitmasters get very focused when searing their grill marks).  If you thrive on all the camaraderie that grilling attracts, the answer is obvious.  That leads to yet another question: What about a bar?

While a bar, especially one that provides seating, might be considered a luxury item to some, to those who entertain frequently and for large groups, it’s a necessity.  It’s an efficient use of space and time to be able to serve beverages while keeping one eye on the kabobs.  It’s also pure pleasure for your guests to be afforded such attention.

Outdoor Grill by Shady Lane GreenhousesWith or without a beverage area, I ask my clients to think about circulation.  That means “people flow.”  While the grill invites conviviality, laughter, and relaxation, it still has to serve a highly functioning purpose: the preparation and dispensing of food.  A poorly thought out traffic pattern does not lend itself to great parties, so I like to spend a substantial amount of time with clients discussing this element of their grill.

As important as all the rest are grill aesthetics.  I’m usually asked to design a grill that blends with the home (but not always).  If the built-in grill is meant to be a showpiece, I make sure it doesn’t overpower any building or landscaping elements.  While it might be nice to have the grill just drop from the sky, you don’t want it to look like it did.

There’s one last tip I’d like to share.  When asking clients what they wish they would have done differently with their built-in grill, there was just this one comment: “I wish I would have included a warming drawer.”

About the Author:Heidi Hornung of Shady Lane Greenhouses

Heidi Hornung, a Bartelt partner for many years, is a landscape architect and retail manager at Shady Lane Greenhouses in Menomonee Falls, Wis.  Growing up in the gardening industry and with over 20 years of landscaping experience, Heidi is a self-described “flower freak.”  She earned her bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and spent time in Germany on a landscaping crew before graduation.  If you’d like to learn more about Heidi and Shady Lane Greenhouses, visit or call 262.251.1660.