An Expression of Quality
To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means a designer designs - for architects, it begins with the most fundamental graphic illustrations built upon or changed and evolve into complex theoretical thought as illustrated through numerous drawings that portray a vision for the clients' new home.
The modeling of a house, the contour of its walls and roofs, the selection of materials, the architectural character, and the condition of the site all play significant roles in the outcome of any project. These individual aspects as a collective give a project its expression of quality or lack thereof. If any one of the components falls out of alignment or order, then the project will be out of alignment and order.
Not only will the client be contributing to their worthy share of the development of their new neighborhood, but they will have the comforting knowledge that what they have built was built on a sound basis for their very own family. These are legacy buildings, not' turn and burn' real estate projects. Their value is in the pleasure they bring to their owners over long periods; some remain in the families for many lifetimes.
"Don, we don't have to use them all; this is my shortlist. Have at it."
- Anonymous client
A Never-Ending Quest for Excellence in Geometry and Form
To achieve inner harmony and live productively, we humans require an architecture that supports us as much as it surrounds us. When this is achieved, our houses become our homes, our homes become our havens, and our workplaces become a place of freedom and creativity. It is the pursuit of this ideal that my design philosophy can be summed up as being.
I seek to realize this ideal by embracing traditional architectural values while at the same time maintaining an underlying awareness of the profound role that buildings have on our health, psyche, and spirit. Harmony, balance, light, and color – relationships between landscape and structure - ecological sympathy, energy efficiency, and resonant geometric forms all play essential roles in helping me when designing a new shelter regardless of size or budget.
I need to point these things out to prospective clients because this is a critical element of my work and how I achieve it.
These are my very principles and, combined with an open dialogue between myself and the client, enables us to determine the perfect blend of "form and function." Yes, a building should be balanced and beautiful, but if it does not meet the needs and dreams of those who will occupy it and adhere to economic boundaries, it will never get built, and what is the point of designing buildings that never get built.
Architecture is not only about principles. The juncture of responsibilities toward the environment and other human beings constitutes a significant input to designing a new home and its interiors. Because these responsibilities relate to the intent of those who will inevitably occupy the budding structure, one must strive to discover and implement those intentions through extensive discourse. No matter what one's design philosophy is, the overarching goal of architecture in its purest form should be to balance, protect, and represent the private lives of the dwellers - the client. I always fantasize, when designing a home, that that home is mine. I see it visually in my head, I dream about it, I live in it, furnish it, I even imagine everyone telling me how much they love it - it's crazy, I know it is, so call me crazy.
When you design buildings for a living, it's hard not to personalize them. I become deeply attached to the structures I create; I never forget them, the clients I designed them for, or all the meetings that brought about the final design. The design process of each project claims an indelible place in my consciousness. Every residence I design becomes a permanent part of my very being. Strangely, they never leave my consciousness. I never entirely escape the job site after my clients take occupancy, and I become to them little more than a faded memory, a good memory nonetheless, but I know I fade away with time. No, I don't haunt or stalk the homes I design, but I do feel a special bond to the soil on which it stands - wasn't that poetic or what?
How to Begin and Should You?
For centuries Americans have seen domestic architecture as a way of encouraging certain kinds of family and social life. Diverse contingents have asserted that our private architecture has a distinctly public side and that domestic environments can reinforce certain character traits, promote family stability, and assure a good society.
The creation of a new home involves a compromise between its owner, their architect and the governing body holding jurisdiction over their land. It can be very upsetting to a client when they hear something like, "well...we can't do that."
There are all kinds of compromises during the design and development of a new home and if you are not the sort that can see reason in others and adhere to law and thereby willing to accept certain, and hopefully reasonable, compromises then building a new home just may not be right for you.
Neither the way buildings look, nor the way people live in them can be reduced to a specific formula dictated by architects, social scientists, advertising agencies or real-estate firms. Households seldom, if ever, fit a mold exactly or follow the advice in magazines or design periodicals to the letter. Most of us Americans have strong opinions about our families, our communities, and particularly our homes and those stances we take are more times than not very visible.
A longstanding national tendency towards building a private home is its expression of the 'self' and has encouraged a staunch defense of social identicalness on the one hand and cult of personalized decoration on the other. Yet, there is no necessary correlation between personalized architecture and a great range of character distinctions.
The choice of architectural style for a new house has acquired a weighty social significance. Urban Americans want their private homes to embody an aesthetic order that is right and specific for them.
“Don designed a lovely Modern Farmhouse in Medina for us, which we happily and presently live within. He also created a classic Shingle Style Dutch Colonial Cottage in Clyde Hill for our family, true to the period. We want to consider building a third project one day, and Don would most definitely be our architect of choice. He is a true and rare talent, creative in everything he does and undertakes - from the big to the small. We happily, openly, and strongly recommend him.”
- Joe and Michelle Razore
"Don, the Design Guy, or Design God as my wife and I like to refer to him. Hire him; you'll be glad that you did. That's all."