We take on custom design projects, but not more than one at a time so that we're able to give more attention to the work. We work in traditional neighborhoods so that our designs are built in places that are compact, mixed-use, and walkable. These are the design services we offer:
Custom Residential Design
We offer full-service custom home design. We're especially interested in projects that allow us to advance the art or the science of what we do, especially when sustainability issues are involved. As you might have already noticed, the Original Green initiative we have been advancing for several years looks at sustainability much more broadly than most current "green building" discussions.
For example, we maintain that a place should be nourishable if it is to be sustainable. So if you're interested in raising food on your lot in a beautiful way, we would be very interested in speaking with you. Have a look at the Green Walls and the Kitchen Garden in SmartDwelling I design that was published in the Wall Street Journal to get a better idea what we're talking about.
Neighborhoods should also be accessible in a number of ways, especially the self-propelled means of walking and biking. One of the best ways of enhancing your neighborhood's walkability is to give a Gift to the Street. If you're interested in your home giving a gift like this, we should talk.
You can walk to the basic services of life in a serviceable neighborhood. If you're considering working from home, you should have a live/work unit rather than a conventional house. We're very interested in designing new types of live/work units because we believe this will be the most important home type of the next 30 years or so.
If a building can't be loved it won't last. We have worked for years to unlock the mysteries of lovability in architecture. This isn't just a superficial question of style, but rather deeper questions of the things that move us to greater attachment with where we live and work. And we don't just speculate on lovability; we even go so far as to put on lovability workshops.
If a building is lovable, then it needs to be durable in order to carry that lovability long into the future. Today, we can't afford to keep building throwaway buildings. We have never designed less than a Century Building, because homes or offices that last less than a hundred years have a life-cycle cost that is simply too high. Today, we recommend building even more durably. A Millennium Building is the highest standard.
Buildings that are lovable and durable need to be flexible so that they can be use through many things down through time. But flexibility isn't just for our descendents centuries in the future. If you're building a home that needs to live differently at different times, let's take a look at it with you.
Finally, buildings should be frugal, both during construction and in operation thereafter. Original Green frugality begins with the Luxury of Small. Our goal is not to put your life in a vise, but rather to do things so cleverly that you can store as much stuff as a larger house, and so lovably that you are enticed into a smaller and smarter home footprint. This not only saves a lot of money during construction, but also sets the stage for dramatic utility savings once you move in. Our operational frugality does the heavy lifting by passive means: daylighting, cross-ventilation, and the like. This leaves much lower loads for the equipment to carry. And the loads get even lower because of what we do with your site design. Read about it here:
There is no piece of equipment so efficient as one that is off. We design buildings sites as a series of garden rooms in order to entice you outdoors where you get acclimated to the local environment. This creates a condition we call "living in season" because when you return indoors, you need a lot less mechanical conditioning. The Breakfast Terrace, the Dinner Garden, the Hearth Garden, the Kitchen Garden, and the Master Garden are some of the outdoor rooms we use, each creating less expensive living space than what you could build indoors.
Sustainability isn't just an outdoor issue, of course. Each furnishing and finish decision plays a part as well. Because reuse is better than recycling, we encourage you to furnish with heirlooms whenever possible. We also encourage interiors that are more durable, and that can also wear gracefully, accumulating the history of life in your home in a way you'll want to read many years into the future.
Please email us to discuss your design, or call us at 786-276-6000.