Beautiful, elegant, & sensible

Form and function dictate our design sense. We love the proven and enduring design idioms of the past, and seek to adapt them to the wonderful ideas, materials and techniques now available. We always look for the simplest design solutions, with sensible tradeoffs between beauty, cost and environmental impact.

True elegance is always simple. Ornamentation to a house is achieved in landscaping, furnishings and surface treatments, not in complex and expensive structural detail. Observers will notice the ABSENCE of many trendy conventional design features in our houses.

Among them are:

  • complicated, overpowering, expensive and fragile roofs: we design simple, affordable, and long-lasting roofs
  • expensive cathedral ceilings, two story entrances and atriums: we recommend simple high ceilings throughout, usually 9'4"
  • changing levels on one floor: floor levels should be the same for the safety of all, and particularly for negotiation by the old and infirm
  • open fireplaces: we recommend high efficiency fireplace inserts which can heat an entire house AND be burned with their doors open.
  • scatter-shot window and door placement: we use fenestrations to give balance, cadence, and harmony to a building's exterior.

One post-modern conceit is particularly to be avoided: the unconvincing facsimile of age produced by scrambling unrelated materials and styles on new houses. We design with the expectation of true aging of our houses. We often hear, "Your houses look like they have always been here."

We favor such affordable detailing as stained glass windows, pergolas and trellises, pocket gardens, special entries, welcoming porches, hooded doorways, window seats, built-in shelving, arched doorways, outdoor showers and kitchens, dressing room closets in master baths, connection to small outbuildings, courtyards, fountains and fishponds, attics, gates and fencing and so forth. Many of these elements can be added organically over time to give a house an authentic and individual character.

We are much indebted to Christopher Alexander, author of A Pattern Language. The patterns in this seminal book are indispensable to creation of a comforting, beautiful and practical house.

Our houses are made to really live in, not just to show off, and we hear that they are hard to leave regularly: these houses are conducive to creating home businesses just so the homeowners don't have to leave home!