Tyson and Billy Architects

Leek Potato Soup Recipe

For a not so heavy meal around the holidays, try this Leek and Potato Soup.

I made this last night for dinner and it was super simple and very tasty. Paired with some crusty bread or garlic biscuits and a salad, it hit the spot.

I garnished it with fresh chives for color.



My only modification to cut a few calories was that I used fat free half and half instead of the heavy cream.

(1 cup of heavy cream = 821 calories,1 cup of fat free half and half = 143 calories)

(Saved 678 calories!)



  • 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 14 ounces, approximately 3 small, Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives


Chop the leeks into small pieces.

In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.

Bon Appétit!

~ Lori








Ron recently had the chance to stay at a Frank Lloyd Wright designed hotel while overseeing a project in Mason City,Iowa; I thought it a great opportunity to explore a little bit of the history of the historic building!

"In the early 1900s, Mason City, Iowa, was booming.  Successful attorneys James Blythe and J.E.E. Markley were among those spearheading growth.  Serving on the board of directors of the City National Bank, which contemplated expanding, they saw the opportunity to meet multiple needs with one plan.  A new building could provide a home for the bank, new offices for their firm, a much-needed hotel, and a replacement for the old eye-sores on the corner of State Street and Federal Avenue, the hub of downtown.

At the time, Markley’s two daughters attended Hillside Home School in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  The school boasted a beautiful building designed for the sisters who ran it by their nephew, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Impressed with the design, Markley suggested the Chicago architect for the Mason City project.  With his innovative Prairie School designs drawing considerable attention, Wright was well-established in Oak Park, Illinois, where other like-minded architects also worked in his studio.

Wright came to Mason City and the project took on life.  With its unique three-part design, the City National Bank and Park Inn Hotel began to take shape.  In 1909, however, Wright’s scandalous elopement to Europe with the wife of a former client left the rest of the construction management to his Oak Park associate William Drummond.  Fortunately, Drummond was able to see the building completed according to Wright’s original design and it opened to the public in 1910."

-Excerpt from www.wrightonthepark.org/

Over the years the building was remodeled to serve a variety of purposes and eventually fell into disrepair.

"At this point, concern mounted over whether or not the historic property could be salvaged.  The bank, under separate ownership, housed retail shops and offices but the interior of the hotel continued to deteriorate.  Still, many local residents firmly believed the building deserved to be rescued for historic and artistic reasons, as a memorial to one of the country’s greatest architects, and for its potential value as both a tourist attraction and in revitalizing the city’s downtown.

In 2005, Wright on the Park, Inc.(WOTP), a local citizens’ organization, formed and achieved IRS recognition as a non-profit organization in order to undertake The Historic Park Inn Hotel project.  Starting with grants obtained in previous efforts, WOTP began fundraising.  Memberships, private donations, grants, a Vision Mason City drive, a Vision Iowa grant, and tax credits made it possible for construction to begin in 2010.

Renovation began with the hotel while the bank was under private ownership.  Repairs to the roof took priority, followed by cleaning the exterior brick and restoring the terra cotta and polychrome tile columns.  In 2007, this group of volunteers also purchased the bank, enabling it to plan renovation of the entire structure, returning it to its original exterior design. "

-Excerpt from www.stoneycreekinn.com/

The Park Inn Hotel is the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright designed and built hotel in the world.  So, next time you are in Mason City Iowa checking out Legacy Manor make sure you take some time to explore The Park Inn hotel and City National Bank!


-Images from Google


Open House Chicago Trip!

Recently, I had the chance to attend “Open House Chicago”, a free, city-wide, behind-the-scenes look at many of Chicago’s great places and spaces.   The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s “Open House Chicago” offered behind-the-scenes access to over 150 buildings.  This was the second annual open house event and it offered an amazing opportunity to observe some impressive architecture.  I found it a great chance to explore some cool buildings I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to see, and now you can too!


From Rockford it was a quick drive into Harvard and a few hours on the Metra to take me into the city.  My first stop was at the Civic Opera House, a beautiful theater designed by architecture firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White and opened in 1929.  Note the repeating Sock and Buskin (Comedy/Tragedy mask faces) as a detail in many ceilings, railings, & Lighting fixtures.  Very cool Art Deco!

My next Stop was The Chicago Temple Building, best known for its “chapel in the sky,” the highest place of worship above ground level.  Completed in 1924, this building had some great views. It currently is the tallest church building in the world and until 1930 was the tallest building in the world!

Before lunch I made one more quick stop at The Church of Christ Scientist and was impressed with the stunning forms and spaces.  Designed by architect Harry Weese the church is a modern style with an interesting sunken garden. (no photos sorry!)

            Stopped for lunch at the infamous Billy Goat Tavern.  This little gem is located under Michigan Avenue.  The restaurant was made famous by an early SNL skit that the restaurant still lives up to.  Other notable info about this restaurant is that according to legend the original owner put the curse of the Billy goat on the Chicago Cubs.  Allegedly, during game 4 of the 1945 World Series game (a home game at Wrigley) Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis attempted to bring a pet goat (the tavern mascot) into the game.  Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley ejected Sianis and goat because of the goat's smell. Supposedly, Sianis placed a curse on the team that they would not win another pennant or play in a World Series again.

The Chicago Open House also featured several large architecture firms.  I got a chance to visit SOM, Gensler and the Structural engineering offices of Thorton Tomasetti.  This last picture is a Model of the city of Chicago in the offices of SOM.  (There are actually TWO models; one in the building lobby, and one in the SOM office.  however no photographs were allowed in the SOM office so this is a picture of the model in the building lobby)

Hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventure.  Make sure you mark your calendar for next year’s Open House Chicago!

Stay tuned for more exciting Tyson and Billy Blog’s to come!!!


-Carl Miller


*Photography by my accomplice Sean Ogilby

**Information gathered from tour guides, pamphlets, and Wikipedia.


Spiced Apple Bread


I bought apples from the orchard and I plan on trying this recipe. While I am not a fan of raisins, I’m sure some of you may want to include them in your recipe.


This sound so good with the fall weather we’ve had.


This spiced apple bread recipe contains fresh chopped apples, raisins, chopped pecans, and spices.


  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped apples
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then stir in chopped apples, raisins, and pecans. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Grease 2 9x5-inch loaf pans and line bottoms with waxed paper. Greased waxed paper. Pour batter into pans, smoothing the top with a spatula or spoon. Bake for 20 minutes at 325°. Pull out rack and sprinkle loaves with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes; turn out onto a rack. Slice and serve or freeze.


Recipe and Image Credit to Southern Food.





Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon-Cream Filling



Lori made these a few weeks back and brought them in for our office. Oh my. They were SO wonderful. They disappeared lightening fast from our office kitchen. I told her it was a most post to her Recipe Corner.

Here is this amazing treat …

Always a hit at summer picnics (or a office treat!), these addictive squares strike the perfect balance between tart and sweet and chewy and crunchy.


8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
1-1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg, separated
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2-1/2 cups room-temperature blueberries (about 13 oz.), washed and drained on paper towels


Be sure to use room-temperature berries. Cold fruit straight from the refrigerator will prevent your dessert from baking evenly.


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the ends. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the foil.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Using your fingers, blend the butter completely into the flour mixture. Transfer 2 cups of crumb mixture to another bowl and reserve for the topping. Blend the egg white into the remaining crumbs and then press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form a level crust. You can tamp it with the bottom of a measuring cup to even it out. Bake the crust until it starts to form a dry top, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the condensed milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and egg yolk. Let this mixture stand for 5 minutes; it will begin to thicken.

Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the hot crust and then drop spoonfuls of the lemon mixture over the blueberries. Spread gently with a spatula to distribute a little more evenly, but take care not to crush the berries; it’s fine if the lemon mixture isn’t perfectly even. Bake until the lemon mixture just begins to form a shiny skin, 7 to 8 minutes.

Sprinkle the reserved topping over the lemon-blueberry layer, pressing the streusel between your fingers into small lumps as you sprinkle. Bake until the filling is bubbling at the edges and the topping is brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan on a rack until just warm, about an hour. Carefully lift them out of the pan using the foil overhang and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the foil and cut into 24 bars when cool. The bars may be stored at room temperature for a few hours but otherwise should be kept in the refrigerator.


Recipe from Fine Cooking via Nicole Rees and Image Credit to Scott Phillips.



Outdoor Living ~ Enjoying Summer

As we all enjoy another blistering hot July day; I can't help but feel summer is winding down. It seems to zip by after the 4th of July. My impending sense of winter doom is further fueled by seeing Christmas décor already in stores and fall items on sale … impossible but true.

As I'm feeling slightly nostalgic today I thought I'd share a few of my outdoor living inspiration pictures.

via Décor Pad

Designer's Tip: Accessorize your patio!

Use garden statuary, rugs, art, planters, furniture, and pillows. The key to keeping these areas looking fresh throughout the season is buying items specifically weatherproofed for outdoors. Everything from pillows to rugs can be purchased ready to withstand the elements.

via Elle Décor

Achieving a natural look to your outdoor living area is tricky as neutrals can easily feel bland and lost in the outdoor environment. Consider using texture & pattern within your neutral color scheme to add interest and make your seating area a inviting oasis.

Via Better Homes & Gardens

Designer's Tip: Make your deck a destination by defining different activity zones within the space. Multiple levels carve out spaces for dining and relaxing on this deck.

via Glo MSN

This outdoor tile is gorgeous. It feels like a extension of their kitchen.

via Houzz

Designer's Tip: Your outdoor room will feel more like an oasis if it has a sense of enclosure. Fences, outdoor drapes, and garden walls ensure privacy for patios, but you can also use lattice, pergolas, and landscaping to define outdoor spaces and screen views of neighboring houses.

via Skonahem

Designer's Tip: Design the patio to be an extension of your home's architecture, and use planting beds, container gardens, and weatherproof furniture to decorate the outdoor space.

via Better Homes & Gardens

Provide a little shade via umbrellas, awnings, or even pergolas planted with vines or draped in a outdoor textile.

Enjoy your summer and be inspired to live outdoors!

~ Kelly


Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs


Oh, sweet mercy these kabobs were delicious. Try them, you’ll love them.


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)
  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 8 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear.

Bon Appétit!

~ Lori







Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

I must say these are a rating of 5 out of 5 for me, they are delicious!

While I won’t tell you how many I ate, you’ll have to make them and see how fast they disappear. Enjoy!


For the base:

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 9 graham crackers
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • About 1/2 cup sugar, eyeball it
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

For the base:

Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter.  Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners.

In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs.  Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Pour into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done set aside to cool.

For the filling:

Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooled base and then cover with blueberries.

They will sink slightly but should still be half exposed - as the cake bakes they will sink a little more and break down.

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours. Once set, remove from pan using the parchment lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars. Dust with powdered sugar.

~ Lori

Lori approved recipe courtesy of the Food Network, beautiful images by the Epicurean Mom.




AIA 2012 in Washington D.C.


If you've been following our Facebook Page you know Ron Billy (Our President) was at AIA 2012 in Washington D.C. last week.

As architects our field is always advancing. Our focus is to connect with continuing education and learning opportunities to stay on top of what's new, changing, and improving in the field of Architecture.

Ron did take some time between classes to catch a baseball game at Nationals Park through a AIA hosted event, and a quick tour through the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Here are the pictures he brought back, enjoy!

Nationals Park

Nationals Park is the nation's first major professional stadium to become LEED Silver Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. The project incorporates a variety of sustainable design elements.

AIA Exhibitor's Hall

General Assembly & Key Note Speakers

Notable Art from the Exhibitor's Hall: barstools, bikes, and kayaks!

Tile Boots

Beautiful Sculptured Stone Fixture at the Washington Convention Center

 ~ Pictures and a little bit of history from Ron's National Mall tour ~

The Treasury Department

The original Treasury building was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and partially destroyed by fire in 1801. In 1836, Congress authorized the construction of a "fireproof building", and commissioned architect Robert Mills (also the architect of the Washington Monument and the Patent Office Building).

Impressive fact:  the original 30 columns are 36 feet tall, and carved out of a single block of granite!

After many years of additions the design intent "to leave unobstructed the view from the White House to the Capitol" was lost along the way.  Still it is very stoic with its beautiful Greek Revival architecture.

The White House

History on the architect: The White House was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical style.

Old Executive Office Building / Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration Building

This building was originally called the State, War, and Navy Building because it housed those departments. It was built between 1871 and 1888 in the French Second Empire-style by Alfred B. Mullett.

World War II Memorial

This Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home.

Symbolic of the defining event of the 20th Century, the memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

This memorial is in the form of a triangle intersecting a circle with walls 164 feet long, 8 inches thick representing more than 100 tons of highly polished "Academy Black" granite.

Within the walled triangle are 19 stainless steel statues designed by Frank Gaylord. Each stature ranges between 7 feet 3 inches and 7 feet 6 inches tall and weighing nearly 1,000 pounds.

More than 2,500 photographic and archival images are sandblasted onto the wall which represent the land, sea and air troops who supported those who fought in the war.

The figures represent a squad on patrol, drawn from each branch of the armed forces; fourteen of the figures are from the U.S. Army, three are from the Marine Corps, one is a Navy Corpsman, and one is an Air Force Forward Air Observer. They are dressed in full combat gear, dispersed among strips of granite and juniper bushes which represent the rugged terrain of Korea.

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial honors the nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Dedicated in 1922, architect Henry Bacon designed the Greek-inspired temple.

The Lincoln statue, which tops out at 19 feet, was sculpted by Daniel Chester French, the chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts.

Architecture at the Lincoln Memorial

Washington Monument

Did you know  the Washington Monument was built as a tribute to our first president, George Washington?

Architectural tidbit: The marble monument was made to look like an Egyptian obelisk. The Washington Monument has two different shades of white as construction halted during the Civil War when funding ran out. When it resumed in 1879, marble was imported from a different state.Parts of the Washington Monument are under construction for renovations as a result of earthquake damage in August 2011

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring those who died in the Vietnam War.

Design by Maya Ying Lin the Memorial Wallis made up of two gabbro walls 246 feet 9 inches long.

When a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to symbolically bring the past and present together.

Smithsonian Castle

The Smithsonian's first building is a grand structure built in 1855, which now houses most of the museum's administrative offices.

The Smithsonian Castle was designed by Mr. James Renwick, Jr. (also known for New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral).

The design is Norman in style, described as "a 12th-century combination of late Romanesque and early Gothic motifs".

View down Pennsylvania Avenue

As we approach Memorial Day Weekend, I find it a appropriate time to remember our Nation's History and reflect on those these monuments and memorials give tribute to. For their greatness and bravery we know freedom.

~ Kelly


Nationals Park, Treasury Building, The White House, Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration Building, WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, & Smithsonian Castle.


Tyson and Billy & Life Services Network


For those of you looking for Ron and Kelly the past few days and found them missing … they were at our annual trade show for Life Services Network (LSN) at Navy Pier.

Tyson and Billy Architects is a proud member of LSN which is the largest eldercare association in Illinois. LSN is a complete continuum of services for older adults, and community based services.

The past 40-years of our 93 year design history has been largely dedicated to Long Term Living and Senior Housing design. Through offering full service Architecture and Interior Design we are able to interlace each detail of the project together for results that say “welcome home” to each and every resident.

Nationwide we have designed senior living facilities with the belief that design has the power to evoke a sense of belonging, wellbeing, and community vital to senior living.

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois •  Spring Ridge Independent Senior Living Facility •  Rockford, IL

Tyson and Billy Architects Senior Living Design:

  Our Mission

As Architects, Designers, and Developers we strive to build long term living facilities that bridge your community's needs with beautiful living environments that evoke a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Our Values:

“Success lies in the philosophy that we can reach the end users and change their lives in a positive way”

            – Ronald G. Billy, Jr., AIA, LEED AP BD+C

 Our Services

Architecture • Interior Design • Planning • Development

Long Term Living Experience

  • Independent Senior Living
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Skilled Nursing and Immediate Care Facility
  • Market Rate Housing
  • Supportive Living Facilities
  • Independent Housing for Persons with Disabilities
  • Community Living Facilities
  • Intermediate Care for the Developmentally Disabled
  • Sheltered Care Facilities
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois •  Spring Ridge Independent Senior Living Facility •  Rockford, IL

The housing industry is not just our expertise, but our passion and we hope to have the opportunity to share both with you.

Thanks to all those that visited our booth at LSN this year! We look forward to seeing you again next year.

~ Kelly

For more information on Life Services Network visit them here.