My name is Isaac Maximillian Cutler but I have gone by Max for most of my life. My grandfather was a Maximillian and my mom wanted to preserve the name, and since I was the first boy in the family, I got it. My mom always said she pictured anyone named Max to be real mischievous and into everything, and she got her wish.
I grew up in Sarasota Florida. My dad was a carpenter and my mom did odd jobs to keep her busy but was mostly a stay-at-home mom. I am the oldest of 4, a brother and two sisters. We always had plenty but were basically lower middle class. We played in the yard and streets, drank from hoses, climbed trees (and eventually started building cool tree forts), and otherwise lived traditional 60’s – 70’s era middle class lives.
Along the way my dad taught me some carpentry skills. We all had chores, and my feeling was I’d much rather learn to build stuff with dad than cook or clean or take care of my younger brother and sisters. And so I spent a lot of time in the garage helping him make furniture and other wood products that people ordered from him, and also went with him on some of his larger projects working for a builder. Carpentry got into my blood and I felt I was getting pretty good at it by the end of high school. While my friends mostly wanted to party, I was always happiest when I was working with dad on a new home, garage, or whatever.
I really didn’t want to go to college but my parents talked me into it so I wound up getting accepted into Florida Atlantic University (FAU), which was reasonably priced at the time and was known as a good place to get an Architecture degree. I spent 4 years in Boca Raton, got the degree, and was chomping at the bit to get out in the working world. I met a lot of people and professors at FAU who had similar aspirations as I did, and talk of building obstacles and challenges was frequent. College was really a lot of fun.
Before graduation I had lined up some potential builders to work for. The goal was to try to not go too far from Sarasota, but is seemed the best job opportunities were north of Florida so I interviewed and was hired at a firm in Atlanta called Adams Homes. Started out in a crew doing construction work for mostly single-family homes in North Atlanta, but eventually moved up due to my design and architecture skills learned in school. I was promoted into the design group whose mandate it was to come up with the home designs that Adams carpenters and others would go out and build. We had an inventory of about a dozen designs at the time, which seemed like a lot.
I was having a great time at Adams but was starting to get bored and wanted to get into more complex design projects, so I left after 15 years or so and joined a startup operation outside of Washington DC called KGD Architecture, based in Rosslyn. I had met a couple of these guys at a builders conference in Charlotte N.C. and we had kept in touch. They actually contacted me to see if I’d be interested in joining the team, knowing my skills were not being fully utilized at Adams. I interviewed and it seemed like a great fit, so I joined up, apprehensive about moving that far north but anticipating the possibilities to learn new skills.
KGD quickly got into all kinds of things, from interior design to real estate design and even urban designing and planning. sustainability, and energy. After taking some crash courses from a few of the staff on some of the things I was unfamiliar with, I was ready to dive in. Most of my time there was in interior and real estate design, but had a few opportunities to to get involved with urban planning with some projects in Alexandria and Georgetown. The real estate design group was my favorite though, because we were hired by a lot of companies to design new offices and high rises that were challenging and rewarding.
I could go on and on about some of our projects at KGD, but I will spare you the details. We did win some prestigious awards for our work from AIA, whose mission it is to help architects in the Commonwealth advance the quality and value of the environments they build.
My time at KGD was extremely rewarding and satisfying, but after about 10 years I decided to get into the building business on my own, so my family and I decided to move down to Richmond and get out of the Northern Va rat race. As much as I like building construction, I dislike highway construction and the Capital Beltway and I95/395 are always under construction and the traffic is a nightmare. Plus Richmond had a good reputation for quality school systems and we wanted the kids in a decent, quiet, suburban environment. So I partnered up with a couple friends in the home building business and went to work. We moved to Mechanicsville, north of Richmond, where we still live.
Richmond is growing fast and there is no shortage of homes being built, some not far from our house but most in the western part of the city called Short Pump. We love this area and plan to stay.
As time went on and the Internet became more popular, I began spending a lot of my personal time researching and reading about old style architecture, both interior as well as exterior, and this became a hobby. Over the years as I am nearing retirement, my son, recognizing my passion, suggested I create a blog and share some of my experiences and knowledge. After he explained what a blog is, I started to catch on and began to warm to the idea. I bounced some ideas off he and my daughter, and finally a theme started to jell. We kicked around names, and finally, based on my sharing my thoughts on what the site would be about, settled on a Dynamic Living eXperience theme, or DLX. But DLX was taken (and so was just about everything else with less than 8 or 9 characters) so we decided to add a personal touch and appended Max2019 and arrived at Max2019DLX. Seemed appropriate.
After combing through my notes and thoughts, I decided to write about the following topics:
A history of home design
A history of interior design
Modern homes and styles
A history of modular homes and styles
I may add more topics as time goes on but this should keep me busy for quite awhile. Hope you enjoy the site.