Best Architects and Designers 2005

A licensed architect develops plans, generates construction drawings, and, depending on the terms of the job, supervises the contractor on your project.

Best of 2005
Photo by Erika Larsen
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A licensed architect develops plans, generates construction drawings, and, depending on the terms of the job, supervises the contractor on your project. Professional qualifications usually include a degree from an accredited school of architecture, a three year internship, and passage of a state-administered exam. While membership in the American Institute of Architects is not essential, it's a good sign: Members are required to abide by a strict code of conduct (go to aia.org for links to members in your area). Architects generally charge an hourly rate or a percentage of the cost of home construction, or some combination of the two. Specialty designers, like kitchen and bath pros, can handle smaller projects, but if your renovation involves structural work, an architect is the way to go.

Search our growing database of Best Builders across the nation.

A licensed architect develops plans, generates construction drawings, and, depending on the terms of the job, supervises the contractor on your project. Professional qualifications usually include a degree from an accredited school of architecture, a three year internship, and passage of a state-administered exam. While membership in the American Institute of Architects is not essential, it's a good sign: Members are required to abide by a strict code of conduct (go to aia.org for links to members in your area). Architects generally charge an hourly rate or a percentage of the cost of home construction, or some combination of the two. Specialty designers, like kitchen and bath pros, can handle smaller projects, but if your renovation involves structural work, an architect is the way to go.

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How to Find a Kitchen Designer

 

How to Find a Kitchen Designer

Kenneth Nadler
Photo by Ben Stechschulte
What was once a nondescript ranch is now an elegant Shingle-style house, thanks to architect Kenneth Nadler and three different custom-cut shingle patterns.
A certified kitchen or bath designer (CKD, CBD) is just that — someone who specializes in residential kitchen and bath design. To become certified, a professional must have at least seven years of hands-on experience and have passed a series of tests administered by the National Kitchen & Bath Association. (To find a list of designers in your area, go to nkba.org.) Some charge pure design fees, which include only the plans; if the designer is also ordering fixtures or supervising the installation, he or she might also charge for those additional services. Most designers can work in a variety of styles, but some prefer to specialize. If you want ultracontemporary, you're likely not to get it from someone whose portfolio is mostly Greek Revival.

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Top 10 Architects and Designers

 

Top 10 Architects and Designers

Steward of the South
Glenn Keyes Architect; Charleston, S.C.; 843-722-4100
For Glenn Keyes, the commitment to preserving historical accuracy begins with the building and extends to the earth beneath. While working on the circa-1800 Pineapple Gate House, one of the grandest in Charleston, Keyes hired an archaeologist to find the original foundation of a garden wall he'd spotted in old photographs. And he didn't stop there. He went so far as to specify that the landscaping include only the species of oleander and gardenia that would have grown on the Carolina shore in the early 19th century.

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Formerly the staff architect for the South Carolina Historic Preservation Office, Keyes has devoted nearly 30 years to saving Charleston's unique architectural heritage. Of the residents occupying the city's mostly Federal-era homes, he says, "They are just stewards. The house was here for 200 years before them, and it will be here for 200 years after."

Down to the Last Detail
Kenneth R. Nadler Architects, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; 914-241-3620; nadlerarchitects.com



Kenneth Nadler cares as much about every interior detail of a renovation as he does about what you can see from the road. On many of his projects, he chooses light fixtures, furniture, even fabrics — something many architects won't touch — and he does the necessary legwork, like the time he prowled the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to find inspiration for a Federal-style home's entryway chandelier. In that spirit, Nadler recently transformed an ordinary 1960s ranch house in Bedford, N.Y., into a Shingle-style home worthy of the Maine coast. Plus, he made it look like it had been there for decades, from the leaded-glass windows to the fieldstone-and-granite foundation. "You don't want it ever to look like a renovation," he says.

Way-Out WestDubbe-Moulder Architects, Jackson, Wyo.; 307-733-9551; dubbe-moulder.com
There's no challenge too quirky for Kurt Dubbe and Chris Moulder. One homeowner demanded that the architects squeeze an Art Nouveau spiral staircase hauled back from Paris into a hand-hewn 1902 log cabin (they did). Another insisted that they design the pool deck so that the client's pet iguanas could easily slip in for their morning swim (no problem). For perspective, Dubbe saddles up for rides through the old mining towns in the Wind River Mountains, where he gets a refresher course in the vernacular architecture of the West. "It's a real challenge to honor the historic fabric while creating something new and unique," Dubbe says, "but we can learn a lot from our past."

Mother-Daughter Duo
Satterberg Desonier Dumo Interior Design, Mercer Island, Wash.; 206-232-1830
Two heads really are better than one — especially when it comes to kitchen design. Mother-daughter team Nancy Satterberg and Kirsten Dumo bring two sets of expertise to every project. Dumo, an architectural designer, takes the lead on the initial design, while Satterberg, a lighting expert, layers ambient, task, and accent lighting to add personality to the space. Since they teamed up in 1995, the pair have worked on interiors in styles ranging from contemporary to rustic to Craftsman.

A Passion for Detail
Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture, Des Moines, Iowa; 515-288-9536; hlkb.com
The architects of Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck approach each project like archaeologists uncovering old bones. "The best way to discover what was there is to slowly and carefully remove carpet, tiles, and even wallpaper before you can start to see the original floor plan," says Kirk Blunck. "You'd be surprised how many pieces of evidence are still left behind." And once they've found the architectural clues, there's little they won't do to bring the past to life: for example, using the original molds to reproduce some 30,000 terra-cotta roof tiles for the restoration of a 1920s English Tudor manse.

Southwest Style
Studio Encanto, Tucson, Ariz.; 520-624-1133; studioencanto.com
It's not uncommon for Christy Martin to conduct extensive research on every room she designs, flying to California, for instance, to tour Mission-style houses so she can create stylistically accurate interiors for a similar one back in Arizona. Her studio, run out of a 1920s produce warehouse, is known for its desert-style bath and kitchen designs, which feature earthy terra-cotta, brick, and hand-troweled plaster. But a look at her work reveals inspiration from sources as diverse as Moroccan palaces and Tuscan villas.

Multitasking MavenErica Broberg Architect, East Hampton and New York, N.Y.; 631-329-9928; ericabrobergarchitect.com
Zigzagging between extremes would make most folks dizzy. For Erica Broberg, it's all in a day's work. She might be adding a master suite to a Revolutionary War?era home while designing new windows and a roof for a not-particularly-historic beach bungalow. She's also sought out for her kitchen and bath redos, such as the one on our cover. "Switching gears all the time keeps you on your toes," she says, "and that helps you become a better designer."

Old-World Aesthetic
European Country Kitchens, Bloomsbury, N.J.; 908-735-9929; eckitchens.com
When a client was distraught over parting with a majestic walnut tree standing in the way of her kitchen addition, Joan Picone and partner David Peer preserved it by using its lumber for the new kitchen cabinets. That sort of creative compromise is the firm's stock in trade. It has to be for the relationship to succeed, Peer says. "When you go messing with people's homes, you're involving yourself in the third most stressful thing in their lives, just behind family and work."

A Sense of Place
Drysdale Inc., Washington, D.C.; 202-588-0700
"The kitchen is not just a drywall box with cabinets on the walls," says designer Mary Douglas Drysdale. "The kitchen is the family room, entertaining room, and dining room." Drysdale designs kitchens to be elegant as well as efficient, incorporating artwork, antiques, even a Steinway piano for singer Bette Midler. She applauds the trend toward kitchens that look like they belong in the home. "For a period of time, kitchen design was being led by a revolution in appliance design," she says. "You could walk into a Federal or a Victorian-era house and everything in the kitchen was modern. But now, people want the style of a kitchen to reflect the architectural style of their home."

Weather-Worthy Design
Austin Patterson Disston Architects, Southport, Conn.; 203-255-4031; apdarchitects.com
Up and down the eastern seaboard, the firm of Austin Patterson Disston is acclaimed for thoughtful, highly detailed renovations of waterfront Shingle-style houses. Though worn from years of sun and salt, most of these homes have stood the test of time, so APD's architects focus on reviving rather than reinventing them—replacing windows, redoing interiors, and fixing previous insensitive renovations. "It's about understanding what went into the process of making those old homes," says Stuart Disston, "then trying to translate that to the present."

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Where to Find It

 

Where to Find It

Scott Brunscheen
Salisbury House Foundation
Des Moines, IA
515-274-1777

Chris Dallmus
Design Associates Inc.
Cambridge, MA
617-661-9082

Sarah Hamilton
Historic Denver Inc.
Denver, CO
303-534-5288

Averil Oberhelman
Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
504-581-7032

Cynthia Jenkins
executive director
The Preservation Society of Charleston
Charleston, SC
843-722-4630
preservationsociety.org

Claudia Nissley
Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office
Cheyenne, WY
307-777-6401
wyoshpo.state.wy.us

Donna T. Monthan
Realtor
CRS, Realty Executives Southern Arizona
Tucson, AZ
520-529-5100

Cindy Nesmith
executive director
Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation
Columbia, SC
803-896-6234
palmettoconservation.org

Sean Ruck
spokesman
National Kitchen & Bath Association
908-813-3792
nkba.org

Susan Shearer
executive director
Preservation Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, PA
717-234-2310
preservationpa.org

 
 

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