|A Sensitive Approach for Older Homes
My practice specializes in stylistically appropriate restorations, renovations, and additions to fine older homes in our area. The
carefully considered approach that I employ enables my clients to derive the most value from their efforts and their investment,
and furthermore, helps them to avoid many potential pitfalls. My absolute commitment in every project is to crafting a design for
my clients that is in harmony with the character and the quality of their home, as well as with their own personality and style of
The Art of Design
Architecture is a fine art, and the emotive power of the homes that we inhabit is remarkable. Well-designed homes welcome us
in, they offer us warmth and comfort, and they add richness to our daily lives. At their very best, they even seem to speak directly to
Good design, however, demands not just beauty, but utility. Because one’s home must, above all, be conducive to the activities of
daily living, the importance of functionality and comfort is paramount.
Working with an architect to develop a custom design solution for your home is a rare and unique opportunity, and can be one of
life's most meaningful and fulfilling endeavors.
Vision, creativity, and insight are all required traits in an architect, as it is these qualities that enable him to bring form to your
The challenge, of course, is that each project has its own unique set of constraints; your architect’s ability to recognize, thoroughly
comprehend, and respond appropriately to these constraints is fundamental to your project’s success. These skills, I believe, are
my greatest strengths.
While we treasure vintage homes for their workmanship, character, and enduring beauty, we must also admit that in certain
regards they are simply not particularly conducive to 21st century living. Indeed, the lifestyles of their occupants have changed so
dramatically over the decades that we now have entirely different expectations as to what is required of a kitchen, a bathroom, or a
What distinguishes my work is how it adapts older homes to our present day needs, but does so in a way that is respectful of the
age, style, and character of the structure.
This having been said, however, I also believe in the value of honest design. Although my work in older homes invariably takes
strong cues from its context, I eschew design in which modern elements are treated with false historicism. Rather, my designs
are forthright, of their time, and able to stand on their own merits. So, although I do not expect anybody to mistake my renovation
work in an old house for its original fabric, being told that my design "looks as though it belongs" is one of the highest
compliments that I can receive.
Architecture and the Landscape
A building is, and must be, intimately and inseparably linked to its landscape. The importance of thoughtfully conceived
relationships between the indoor and outdoor spaces—both physical and visual connections—is paramount.
It is regrettable that tremendous opportunities for the creation of beautiful, comfortable, and vibrant outdoor living spaces in our
temperate climate are all too often overlooked. I welcome the opportunity to assist my clients in taking full advantage of their
property, whether their interests lie in raising their own vegetables, growing colorful and fragrant perennials, attracting birds and
butterflies, relaxing on a secluded patio, or merely improving the appearance of their home.
Because of my emphasis on reliable native plants and others that demand little care, clients are frequently quite surprised to
learn just how much less regular maintenance such gardens can require in comparison with the uninspired lawns that have
become so ubiquitous. And even a modest space can be transformed into a tranquil oasis—a restorative sanctuary from the
hubbub of urban life.
Please refer to The Architect’s Home & Garden for more on this subject.
Clients contemplating even a small remodeling project are confronted with innumerable issues, each warranting careful
consideration. Among the most valuable attributes of an architect is his ability to bring structure and organization to what, from the
standpoint of his client, might otherwise be an overly daunting prospect. Employing a time-tested methodology, I serve as an
advocate for my clients, guiding and advising them along every step of the way, and thus enabling them to proceed with
confidence in the making of wise and informed decisions that best serve their interests.
I orchestrate the entire design and construction process so that my clients are in a position to make decisions in a logical
sequence, first at a very general level, and then, as the design is fleshed out, proceeding to incrementally greater levels of detail.
Each issue is given due consideration as I guide my clients in making decisions, each in proper turn, ranging from the basic
layout of the spaces down to the finish on the doorknobs.
My work begins by listening carefully to my clients, endeavoring to distill the essence of their wants, needs, and dreams into a
cogent program for their project. Numerous considerations are assessed and evaluated simultaneously, each in terms of the
others, including the estimated cost of the project, the client’s budget, and the constraints imposed by physical conditions at the
property. The process sometimes involves assisting my clients in reconciling these with their stated programmatic requirements.
I present information in a systematic way so my clients can make well-informed decisions at each step of the design process,
remain in control, and avoid any sense of being overwhelmed. Each decision is duly recorded and then incorporated as the
design is developed. Cost estimates are refined as increasingly detailed information becomes available at each step of the
design phase, enabling my clients to retain complete control of their expenses.
At the end of the design phase, I produce an extremely detailed set of drawings and specifications, documenting the decisions
that have been made; these become the basis for my clients’ contract with a contractor to build their project.
During the construction phase, I continue to serve as my clients’ advocate. I perform the role of liaison between client and
contractor, scheduling regular meetings to observe the progress of the construction work, and to endeavoring to ensure that it is
performed in accordance with the drawings and specifications. In order to protect my clients’ interest, any deviation that I observe
is documented, and then must be corrected by the contractor before payment to him for that work is made.
In addition to his aesthetic sensibilities, an architect must bring to the table a detailed technical understanding of all of the
systems involved in the project—structural, heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical, etc. He must comprehend not only how
each performs individually, but how they each affect one another and how they all must work together.
Older homes are, of course, frequently troubled by structural, thermal, or moisture issues, by a lack of proper maintenance, and
sometimes even by ill-conceived previous "improvements." Many years of experience in these areas allow me to diagnose and
address these problems with an informed and systematic approach, and yet in a manner that is sensitive to the age and
character of the home.
My clients are individuals of discriminating taste who aspire to live in beautiful circumstances, and who recognize the significant
value that a qualified architect brings to the process of crafting a custom design solution for their home. While every client is
unique, in general, they are each seeking to somehow improve, update, or personalize their home in order to better accommodate
their lifestyle and the needs of their family. What my clients invariably have in common is an appreciation for the importance of
accomplishing this in a manner that is in harmony with the style, character, and charm of a home that they dearly love.
While my clients are typically highly accomplished in their own fields of endeavor, they are also aware of the limitations of their
experience and capabilities in the realm of design and construction, and furthermore, they recognize the value of their own time.
This notwithstanding, the close collaboration between client and architect is an essential factor in any equation that is to result in
a successful project.
Building Relationships through Integrity
I often advise prospective clients that the relationship that they will develop with their architect is akin to that which they have with a
trusted accountant or attorney, or even with their physician. An essential quality of this relationship is that it is one of openness
and confidence, as in terms of project outcome, this can be the only road to success.
For each and every client, my pledge is to act always in what I believe to be his best interest, as though I were in his place.
Referrals by my clients are a testament to the value of our efforts together. It is common for clients to remark how much easier
and more enjoyable they feel their construction project has been with the benefit of my service and expertise. Their satisfaction
frequently results in referrals to friends and colleagues, and sometimes even in subsequent projects at their own home.