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Designing differently

With the popularity of tiny homes and a greater focus on minimalism and the accompanying lifestyle, estate homes seem to be getting the cold shoulder.

Why is that?

In my opinion, society has started to equate a specific number of square feet as an acceptable “normal” size for a home with total disregard for the needs of the people living there.

Not cool.

When you hear of someone talking about a 4000 square foot home, what is your first reaction?

Be honest.

You may catch yourself saying “Why does anyone need that much space?” or “That’s huge!”

When I first started designing homes (20+ years ago), I thought like this.

Instant judgements surfaced about the person building that home.

Who they were.
What they valued.
How they acted.

This judgement was based solely on the square footage with no other information about that individual.

Again, not cool.

For the past eight years, my design work has focused on collaborating with builders to create high-end custom homes.

My approach now is to weigh the values of each client with equal importance to the spaces. We create a list of rooms and talk about functionality, all while leaning into understanding their unique set of values.

In my experience, three values remain consistent between designs.


Clients do not want a one size fits all approach. From the exterior to the interior, every aspect of the design needs to showcase their individuality. The spaces need to reflect the unique needs and desires of those who live there.

I believe connection is a fundamental human need. We all crave those moments where we can connect with others in meaningful ways. That looks different for every family, but often gatherings for 10-20 people is not an unusual request, and for that, you need to give thought to the space that requires.

Many of my clients work in high-stress occupations: doctors, lawyers, business owners. To function at their best, they need to take care of their well-being. Again, there are several ways to accomplish this, but common spaces like gyms, home offices, spa-like bathrooms are all a part of the equation.

My point is this – a home can fit the needs of each family in a variety of ways.

My needs are not yours and vice versa.

A small home shouldn’t be celebrated just because it is small, neither should a larger home be vilified because of its size.

We all deserve to take up the space we need to live our best lives.

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