What's New

Spring Break Meets Sustainable Design

When you go on spring break to warmer weather, you might not necessarily be thinking about saving the planet — much less about sustainable design! But there are environmentally friendly options when it comes to accommodations. With a little searching, you might be able to find a place to stay that meets your needs, is healthy, energy efficient and good for the environment at the same time.

The Gruene House (pronounced “green”) is the first LEED registered beach house on the Gulf Coast, located at Cinnamon Shore on Mustang Island in Port Aransas, Texas. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) movement was founded in 1993. Since then, it has changed the way we think about how buildings, homes and communities are planned, constructed, maintained and operated. Cinnamon Shore is a New Urbanism development started in 1999. It was designed with LEED principles in mind, including walkability, access to public transportation, close proximity to restaurants, cafes, market, entertainment, pools, ponds and parks.

LEED homes like The Gruene House are built to provide healthy living environments that use less energy and water. This means lower utility bills as well as clean indoor air and incorporation of safe building materials. The Gruene House was designed by Brenner Design and built with these criteria in mind.

The exterior and roof are built primarily of SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panel System). The SIPS are extremely energy efficient and are a renewable resource. SIPS panels are designed to be more hurricane resistant than traditional stick-built framing. The house also incorporates a “breakaway” feature that allows water to flow through the house with minor damage in case of a tidal surge.

The interiors utilize low VOC paints (low off-gassing) and FSC certified (renewable) wood products like flooring and cabinetry. Porcelain tile flooring and granite counters were locally sourced. Plumbing fixtures incorporate water-saving devices, and LED light fixtures are utilized.

The Gruene House, slated for completion by May 31, 2017, is not only healthy and sustainable, it is beautiful as well and a perfect addition to this little slice-of-heaven community. Cinnamon Shore, just steps to the beach, preserves natural features like a 200’ sand dune habitat, two fishing lakes and park spaces. Sand cranes, sea turtles and pelicans are a common sight in the development.

For your next spring break, family vacation or corporate retreat, think sustainable! Check out Cinnamon Shore and the Gruene House.

If you’ve been considering a more environmentally friendly design/building project and want to learn more, please contact Brenner Design. We’d be happy to talk with you.

The Importance of Taking the Road Less Traveled


  1. to blaze a trail through (a forest, wilderness, or the like) for others to follow.
  2. to be a pioneer in (a particular subject, technique, etc.)


  1. someone who blazes trails, is a pioneer

Ever done something that no one else has done before? Ever create something new? Ever made a success out of a project when no one thought you could? Ever tried something that intimidated you, only to succeed?

As we continue celebrating our 25th year in business, we’ve been in a bit of a contemplative state, looking back at what we’ve managed to achieve — and sometimes shaking our heads at the courage (or audacity) it often took for us to undertake a project.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher, author/artist

Trailblazers. Those individuals who quietly take on a leadership role and make the path easier for others. Those who see what’s possible instead of what’s impossible. Who create a portfolio of firsts by simply doing what they do best.

If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader.
– Dolly Parton

Are you a trailblazer? If not, consider what might be holding you back. Whatever you’ve done or are striving to do, know that it is possible with perseverance, drive, commitment and passion. Who knows what you might accomplish!

Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.
– Sara Blakely, Spanx founder

When Brenner Design envisions a new building or interior, it’s never been done before. We create one-of-a-kind structures and spaces that have never been seen before. We convince our clients to take a leap of faith in believing in an outcome that they can’t see or touch. Each project stands on its own as a custom solution that meets each client’s particular needs.

I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.
– Ginni Rometty, President/CEO, IBM

As an award-winning architectural and interior design firm, you could say that Brenner Design blazes new trails every day. We love what we do and invite you to consider us for your next project. We are fiercely committed to delivering exceptional, ground-breaking results for every one of our clients. How do we do that? By being outstanding in our field. By knowing the architectural business inside and out, and not being afraid, ever, to try something new. By being exceedingly professional, innovative and successful. And finally, by rolling our sleeves up and getting to work blazing those trails.

The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
– Amelia Earhart

Do. Or do not. There is no try.
– Yoda

We’re proud to say that our trailblazing attitude has been rewarded with some industry firsts. The most important thing about those firsts? We’re paving the way for younger women architects in our profession. See the firsts that we stand proud of achieving!

Trailblazing Stats: 6 Firsts

First Woman Architect to design a building on the campus of Purdue University.

First Woman Architect to design a building on the campus of Ball State University.

First Woman Architect to receive the Torchbearer Award from the Indiana Commission for Women.

First Woman Architect to be named to the Indiana Fire & Building Safety Commission.

First Woman Architect to be named to the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission.

First Woman Architect to be named to the board of the Indianapolis Arts Council.

Designed for Success: A Look at 25 Years

Brenner Design (BDI) is excited and proud to celebrate our 25th year in business this month. As we continue to move forward to our next milestones, we’d like to take this opportunity to look back, reflect and celebrate the hard work, serendipity and accomplishments of this woman-owned business.

[View a visual timeline of important milestones over the last 25 years.]

BDI Herstory

Brenner Design was founded in 1992 by Diana Brenner when the company she was working for suddenly closed. (That firm announced on a Monday afternoon that it was closing the following Friday.) Looking at two options, either accepting a job and moving to Cleveland, or starting her own company in Indianapolis, Diana decided to take a leap of faith. She had three days to find office space, hire a staff and find clients.

Luckily, a former client engaged her to finish their project. With commitments of $60,000 in contracts, along with $500 in cash and $1,500 in equipment, she became a business owner. She knew how to design the work and manage the staff, but the looming question remained: could she bring in more contracts?

At the same time she started her company, she was finishing her thesis semester in Architecture at Ball State. Diana was also the mother of young sons (then two and six years of age), so her plate was full to say the least! Fortunately Diana’s husband, Lew, was extremely supportive of her ambitious goals for herself and their family. Not realizing that most new companies cannot get loans from banks, she naively approached a banker for whom she she had done design work and received one of many lucky breaks: the banker approved a credit line of $15,000 to buy new computer equipment.

The company moved into office/warehouse space on the northeast side of Indianapolis that belonged to an out-of-town developer. The firm traded space planning services for rent for the first three months. The offices there were broken into twice, and all the firm’s computers were stolen. After the first break-in, the firm added better locks and alarms. For the second break-in, the thieves cut a hole in the demising wall and entered from tenant space next door. Their general liability insurance was cancelled.

Despite those losses, BDI booked $370,000 in gross revenues with three employees in its first year. Twenty-five years later, Brenner Design has booked up to $3,700,000 in annual revenue and has had up to 15 employees. BDI has ranked as the 13th largest architectural firm, the 8th largest interior design firm and ranks in the top ten furniture dealers. Brenner Design is the largest 100% woman-owned architectural firm in Indiana and also does work nationally.

Brenner Design’s award-winning portfolio includes projects in ten project types, including Corporate, Financial, Government, Healthcare, Higher Education, Historic Preservation, Hospitality, Law, Residential ,and Restaurant & Retail.

BDI By the Numbers

BDI set a goal of obtaining one design award per year and articles written by or about, one article per year. 

1000+  Design Projects
250+  Customers
40+  Design Awards
30+  Speaking Engagements
25+  Articles written about
15+  Professional Achievement/Recognition Awards
12+  Articles authored
3   Board assignments
2   Commissions served
1   Book Published
1   AIA Handbook Article
1   Video Feature Appearance

Contributing author of one book Significant Interiors – 2008, contributing author published in the AIA Architect’s handbook – 2006, featured in one video, Voices of Practice – 2001.

Happy New Year!

Here’s to a productive and safe 2017.

The staff of Brenner Design would like to invite all our Clients and prospective Clients to reflect on notable events over the past year. As we look forward, we hope everyone will be humble, kind and fair in both business and in personal relationships.  For this New Year’s we celebrate being a part of a vibrant Indianapolis community.

Here are some of the things that impacted our firm on a positive note:

Politics:  Governor Pence is now Vice President Elect. Eric Holcomb is Governor Elect. Suzanne Crouch is Lt. Governor Elect. Hoosiers rock!   

Community Service:  In association with Woman’s Life Chapter 611, we helped raise over $25,000 for local charities and neighbors in need. Mickey’s Camp for Women celebrated 10 years of philanthropy in our own community.

Sports:  Our good friend Tamika Catchings retired from the Fever.  The Indianapolis Colts almost made the playoffs. Our Indiana University Football Team made a bowl game!

New Clients:  This year we were privileged to add TWG Development, The City of Southport, Holladay Corporation, Operations Intelligence Center, FoxConn, and Monon Food Company to our list of successful clients.

Notable Event:  Grand Opening of the Ball State University Football Complex in Muncie, IN.  This is the first building designed by a female architect, (Diana M.H. Brenner, FAIA) on the BSU campus.

Family and Friends:  We’d like to remember some of our favorite people that we said goodbye to in 2016 and we respectfully recognize them for their love, humanity, talent and legacy:

Frances Ann Brenner
Alice Mae Hewlett
Sally Shock Wurster

Senator John Glenn
Florence Henderson
Arnold Palmer
Carrie Fisher
Debbie Reynolds

Thanks to all our Clients old and new, we hope to continue to serve you in 2017 and beyond with integrity, honesty and excellent service.

Local Architecture Firm Wins CSI Award

For Immediate Release

Diana M.H. Brenner, FAIA IIDA President of  Brenner Design, was presented with a recognition award at the Annual Indianapolis Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Trade Show for her firm’s dedication and service to the Indianapolis Construction Industry.

Each year CSI selects the best architects who they believe protect architectural specifications and go above and beyond the call of duty.  Brenner Design was one of 22 selected for this award out of 104 nominations.

David Young, AIA, CSI, Director of Architecture at Brenner Design, has been a CSI member for 19 years. Young oversees preparation of specifications for Brenner Design. “David’s work holds the construction industry accountable for adherence to specifications and local building codes,” said Ken Scmidt, CSI award coordinator.

Brenner Design is an award-winning firm involved in the design and construction of innovative buildings, interior spaces, and livable communities. 

Find more information about Brenner Design on their website, www.brennerdesign.com or contact: Bo Hancock (bhancock@brennerdesign.com, p. 317-262-1220, c. 317-640-7389).

Brenner Design Announces WBENC Certification

For Immediate Release

Brenner Design has received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

“We are proud to count Brenner Design as one of the 11,500 certified WBEs in the U.S.,” said Michelle Richards, president of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council. 

WBENC’s national standard of third party certification is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and a site inspection. According to WBENC, by including women-owned businesses among their vendors, corporations and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier/vendor diversity programs.

“We are pleased to receive this important certification by WBENC and we are honored to be a part of this great organization that promotes and fosters growth for women-owned businesses,” said Diana Brenner, President and sole owner of Brenner Design Incorporated.

Founded in 1992, Brenner Design is an award-winning architectural firm providing tailored services in each of the following areas: Architecture, Interior Design and Construction Management.  Brenner Design also provides Furniture Management Services to organize, manage and implement FF&E procurement process.  In 2016, the firm launched spaceFIT, an online tool that streamlines the tenant development space-planning process.  Brenner Design works with national corporations, higher education institutions, government agencies and private sector clients. 

What Millennials Really Want


Sometimes it’s hard to second guess millennials. When it comes to design, Brenner Design was spot on with their interior design of the new Homewood Suites Hotel in Munster, Indiana.

The owner, General Hotels Corporation, put a new challenge in front of the Brenner Design team. They wanted to attract millennials, singles, business people and families by providing a contemporary, connected interior that had all the comforts of home, but better. The designers’ concept was to provide inviting common area spaces for events like weddings, family reunions and parties where guests could take selfies and group shots in front of attractive backdrops.

The hotel also offers internet access, business center and workout facilities inside and out.  There are even outdoor front and back porch seating areas.

This Hilton brand provided design guidelines for the Hilton “Take Flight” concept that is essentially a custom boutique venue.  The final design was at the designer’s discretion, but all selections had to be approved by the Hilton corporate design staff.

Brenner ‘s interior design team selected interior finishes and materials that created a cohesive design, one filled with a variety of textures and colors. Stone tile veneer similar to the exterior stone was brought into the interior. Dark wood trim and wood furnishing help create a comfortable feel. The design utilizes sustainable design materials. The fairly neutral palette is accented with pops of color from furniture fabrics and artwork. Unique light fixtures were used to provide ambience along with energy efficiency.

The design team carefully selected the interior accessories to provide the finishing touches and create the upscale feel. The space includes commissioned art pieces highlighted by a flock of metallic butterflies in flight, reinforcing the Hilton “Take Flight” theme.

The successful outcome of the design is evident in the high occupancy rate since the opening in May 2016. The hotel has consistently sold out and has received outstanding accolades from customers and a 4.5-5.0 star rating on Trip Advisor.

Some of guests’ comments include:

“Best Stay Ever!”

“My family stayed at the Homewood Suites in Munster, IN for our family reunion weekend. This hotel is beautifully decorated in contemporary style. I would love to get in touch with the interior designer for contemporary ideas for my home. There was so much in this hotel that I absolutely loved. Everyone at the hotel was very pleasant and helpful, the hotel overall and the rooms were comfortable and clean, and the breakfast was delicious! Although home is not far, I will definitely stay here again!”

“Overnight Stop”

“WOW! This place is swanky, clean, loaded, and friendly! While driving from PA to MN we made a late night stop…so glad we did. With 5 people in our family it’s hard to find rooms. This room was like an apartment. Had everything we needed. Beautiful place!”

“Great Stay”

“The ambiance of the hotel is absolutely gorgeous, modern day look and very elegant. I would recommend this hotel to anyone, it’s an ideal location and has everything for the family. The best thing about the hotel is the faculty and staff.”

“Great new Homewood Suites”

“The new decor is excellent and fresh, very relaxing as well.”

“Great Home Away from Home”

“Absolutely Outstanding – From Top to Bottom”

“Amazing facilities that include a great lobby, breakfast room, exercise room, saltwater pool and hot tub, and an outside basketball court. This is truly one of the best hotels that we have ever stayed in — it would be in our top 3 for sure…”

“Would Stay again – I rarely give 5’s”

“If you are driving into the Chicago area to visit friends or family, have business on the south side and need a great extended stay location, or need a place for the family while someone is in the hospital in NW Indiana consider Homewood Suites in Munster, IN.”

Design for the Bottom Line – Transformation Fitness & Wellness

Studio Collage

Transforming your body or transforming your business takes a firm commitment, thoughtful planning and rigor. They say “treat your body like a temple” the same could be said for the structure that houses your business.

Take the case of Transformation Fitness & Wellness, an Indianapolis-based personal training and wellness company whose owners took on the task of reinvigorating their business and creating their brand. Founded in 2007, owners Arin and Tony Lindauer wanted to create a fitness facility that would give clients an educated solution while maintaining the integrity of the fitness industry.

Previously located on another high-trafficked street in downtown Indianapolis, their brown storefront beside Goose the Market was nondescript and easily overlooked. Moving the operation to an existing building on North Pennsylvania Street took a significant investment, elbow grease, creativity and forethought by this woman-owned business.

The building they found on Penn was formerly a Brink’s Truck operation, then a casework shop. To say the exterior was visually underwhelming might even be kind. “It was a 1960’s yellow, smooth brick building with some graffiti and blocked-in tile for the windows,” says Arin. “She was beautiful . . . just kidding!” A complete transformation would be required, both inside and out.

Mapping out the interior was crucial. “We worked with Brenner Design to lay out the perfect space,” Arin says. “We had a fairly open concept but they helped us use our space wisely, mapping out the locker rooms, break room (yes!), assessment room, front desk, reception area, consultation room and our offices. Now our vision was coming to life!”

Creating a vibrant exterior was the next challenge. The new face of the company sports a Mondrianesque pattern of lines and colors on the revitalized front and rear façades. The design brings energy and excitement to an otherwise bland and dated streetscape. It represents their unique brand and mission of health and fitness. The Lindauers loved it. “They definitely gave us a safe solid color plan, but they also provided one that would get us noticed,” said Arin. “When the painters started all I could do was watch in awe. It was gorgeous, different, and loud!  We were so proud of it!  We took a building that looked like it was on its last leg cosmetically and gave it a much need deep cleanse and a face lift.”

Although one would think that “low budget” translates to “mediocre design,” the proposed design solution exudes the passion and energy of Arin and Tony. With the added assistance from a façade grant, the company was able to complete the new look within their budget.

Not only did their efforts establish a new branded image, the transformed look brought attention and new customers to their doors. As Arin states, “We have for the first time in business gained new customers because of the customer driving by. We track where all our leads come from, and a “drive by” was never a category before moving our business.”

The bottom line impact of the new façade design is over $19,000 in new business (a 13% increase), and a total of 18 new customers directly attributable to noticing the location by merely driving by. 

“It may not seem like a ton, but it is to our business,” says Arin. “We sign up 10-15 clients on average per month, and it is great to know that 1 of those 10-15 will come from the investment in our building.

“I have never regretted the decision because I love how prospects say, ‘Oh yeah, the funky building on Penn, I know where you are located!’ It is music to my ears!” 

Transformation is everything, and good design can directly impact — and transform — your company’s bottom line. If a design overhaul is in your future, contact us. We’d love to be part of your transformation.

Design and Architecture by Brenner Design Incorporated; Cynthia Cooper, Director of Design, Rachel Reynolds, Interior Designer.