gingerbread house

“What are these? Houses for ants?”

IMG_0797IMG_0731Yes, actually, if not eaten soon, those tiny buildings may indeed house ants. Today, however, they’re occupied by marshmallow snowmen, gummy bears and various other sticky sweets with which the youngsters chose to adorn their creations during this year’s annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party at Edgewood Center for Children & Families. All year long, we’re the creators. Guided by our clients’ specific needs and desires, we help transform their projects into beautiful and unique commercial or residential spaces. We’re great at what we do and we’re thankful so many people continually place their trust in our architecture and design services. But once a year, we look forward to throwing the building codes out the window and handing complete creative control over to the children of Edgewood.

We supply the basic gingerbread structures, the candy-coated chocolate building blocks and the adhesive sugar icing. The children supply the design skills and all the labor.

Wasting no time with meticulous measuring, and with very little regard for structural integrity, the children got to work this year renovating their plain gingerbread houses into edible works of art. We got to enjoy the creative process as spectators, our roles relegated to little more than replenishing the supplies of candy canes and gumdrops that were used as wall beams and multicolored roof tiles.

Though we had no expectations until that final peppermint candy was iced into place, this party is an old tradition for us, and one that everyone involved looks forward to every holiday season.

More than twenty years ago, the first Gingerbread House Decorating Party took place at Edgewood, a center here in San Francisco that serves children and families who have experienced traumatic stress leading to learning disabilities, mental illness and debilitating behavioral issues. Since 2008, our own Gregg De Meza has spearheaded the annual party, aided by a crew of helpers made up of DM+A’s staff, family and friends.

This party is more than just an afternoon of smiles, laughter and the inevitable sugar high. It’s about appreciation for opportunities — the opportunities Edgewood helps to afford to their children and families, and the opportunity we’ve been afforded to do what we love every day here at DM+A.

And, already, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to do it all again next year.

I’m Dreaming of a Ginger Xmas

Well, once again the Holiday Season has descended upon us, inciting most of us to scurry about trying to find perfect gifts and throw fabulous holiday soirees. In the middle of all of this, the elves at DM+A begin to prepare for our annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party for the kids at Edgewood Center for Families and Children. Since 2008, we have looked forward to this holiday tradition as a way to give back and to make the holidays special for kids who aren’t as lucky as most. Edgewood Center for Children and Families is a San Francisco institution dating back to Gold Rush days, providing a home, emotional care and support for more than 5,000 children who are victims of abuse, neglect and mental illness.   This year’s statistics:  40 Gingerbread Houses from Reisterer's Bakery, aprons donated by David Myers at Myers & Co., a 50% discount of pizza from Papa John’s,  50 pounds of candy donated by our 15 volunteers made the party for 22 Edgewood kids and 15 counselors another success.  To learn more about Edgewood and how you can get involved, visit their website at

Building for Charity, One Piece of Gingerbread at a Time

I got involved with Edgewood a few years ago while working at another office when we started our gingerbread building party. It was such a cool thing to bring this kind of joy to a disadvantaged group of kids that I thought when I have a firm of my own I want to instill the same things in my employees.

So back in 2007 I contacted Edgewood to see if they had a need for a similar function like the one we did years ago. Luckily the director, who was once a counselor there, remembered me and the firm I had previously worked with. He thought it would be great to restart this tradition all over again and so did we....Stay tuned for photos from the 2010 Edgewood Gingerbread Extravaganza. The Edgewood Center for Children and Families is one the oldest charities in San Francisco. ECCF started in the gold rush days for kids orphaned by parents going off looking for gold. Today the ECCF takes in troubled youth and counsels families in need.