One question always comes up during casual party conversations when people learn that we’re architects and interior designers: “What kind of work do you do?” It’s a good question, because the breadth of project types that architects and interior designers can work on is pretty diverse. In philosophical terms, we focus on places that can improve peoples’ lives such as where they live, where they work, and where they play. In our industry’s vernacular, that means residential and commercial work.
Usually the next question is something like “Residential AND commercial? You do BOTH?”
Yes! 50/50. Halfsies. Split-down-the-middle. Whichever way you say it, the fact remains that Shelter designs residential and commercial spaces in equal measure. We have been lucky to connect with both homeowners and business owners over the past 12 years on a variety of projects.
Because homes are central to our well being, residential design has always been important to Shelter. Designing new homes, renovating existing ones, and creating additions presents our team with a fun and varied set of opportunities to improve peoples’ lives. We champion the basics: easy access into and around the home, efficient space planning, durable and sustainable materials, abundant natural light, organized storage, and comfortable furnishings. We recognize that our homes influence our lifestyles dramatically, so we strive to create places that are good all around.
Commercial design is equally fun and varied. We work with passionate entrepreneurs to support the built part of their business ventures. Sometimes these clients are setting up shop for a business they’ve been dreaming about for years or moving from a food truck or farmer’s market stand to a bricks-and-mortar establishment. Other times these clients are expanding a successful business by moving into a new space or opening a second or third location. Working in the commercial sector reminds us how creative and innovative people can be when they are pursuing their passion! We hope that each commercial project that we design is as unique as the people and business that it’s for.
Our residential and commercial projects cross-pollinate. Inspiration is not linear! We discover things on each project that inspire and inform the next things we make and do. We meet artisans and craftspeople on commercial projects who do not typically work on items for the home. They become a resource for custom furniture and fabrications on our residential projects. We learn about products developed for one industry and use them in the other. An aluminum storefront door we learned about while doing a restaurant turned out to be the perfect product for a patio door in a kitchen we were remodeling. A woodworker-turned-furniture maker known for custom tables and built-ins turned out to be the perfect guy to craft headboards and nightstands for a boutique hotel we are designing.
Both residential and commercial projects require us to “get creative” on a regular basis which is one of Shelter’s major skills. We love devising innovative solutions to the challenges we discover along the way — that’s the power of design at work!