A home should be as unique as its owner. A gifted cook needs a well-outfitted kitchen. Green thumbs need a garden. Kids need places to play.
Of course, no person is just one thing—we’re a mix of proclivities, preferences, and quirks with complicated needs to match. That’s where architects come in.
“The most important thing in designing a home is to have the personal connection to your client—really know them and make their vision a reality,” says Patricia “Tricy” Magadini of Bernbaum/Magadini Architects. “And if they don’t know how to put it in words, give them vision. You have to dream big for them.”
To do that, an architect will extensively dig into your habits, tastes, and daily routines to inform each nook and cranny. The key is knowing who you are and what you’re not—and being honest with yourself and your team. “Houses are aspirational endeavors, and owners sometimes want a house for the person they want to be,” says architect Marc McCollom.
We asked the 2021 Best Architects in Dallas how they’d help 10 prospective clients design their dream homes—the questions they’d ask and solutions they’d propose to support each one’s distinct personality and lifestyle. Their suggestions will undoubtedly provide food for thought in how your own home could better serve you. Because as SHM Architects’ Mark Hoesterey says, in the end, their work should be more a reflection of you than them. “Leading a design effort with humility allows the client to be a much bigger part of the process,” he says. “Architecture is fun—it’s nice to share that enjoyment throughout the process.”
Open-concept floor plans are great—until you need to hang your prized Andy Warhol and there’s not a single piece of wall real estate in sight.
“The collector’s house will need more walls for display than some of the more open designs,” says architect Bob Anderson. But all walls are not created equal. As Mark Hoesterey points out, one must also consider size of the pieces and the distance needed to view it: “A wall may be the perfect size for a bigger piece of art, but if you can’t step far enough away to appreciate it, it’s a fail.”
The first step for collectors, the architects we spoke to agree, is to take inventory of your current collection and prioritize your pieces, which in some cases may mean leaving less important ones out. “Great collecting is great editing,” notes SHM Architects’ David Stocker. Don’t forget to factor in future acquisitions, as well. Your architect can work with you to plan where pieces should live and create spaces where they can be properly appreciated. “We tend to design the architecture to lead people to the pieces,” Stocker says. “It’s important that the architecture complements and doesn’t compete.” Great lighting is …….