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Design & Construction Process:

I approach each design project differently. Each is a unique situation, with a unique client. The first step is listening--listening to the client, understanding the site and how it transforms with the seasons and reveals itself.  Then we move to evaluating the parameters of the project--the goals of the project, the practical needs, what is allowed by zoning or site constraints.

Once we have a good idea of where we stand, I develop an initial design idea and share this with the client. Sometimes, it is best work with the bigger design elements first, and then move to the smaller. But other times, there is something small and special, that acts like a talisman in the design process, so we work out from there. Again, each situation is different, and the design is a kind of exploration where not just the design but the journey to get there is revealed as one proceeds.

Most projects do not have unlimited budgets. Once we have a preliminary set of plans, I prefer to involve a contractor who can give cost feedback but also work out with me means and methods of more complicated portions of the work. It is not always possible to get the Contractor on board so early, but arriving at a good working relationship with the Contractor early on and a clear understanding of the project between us helps greatly when we get to construction. In my view, projects are usually improved as they are evaluated for cost, because those extraneous things that aren't essential to the design get trimmed away, leaving a leaner, more focused design.

Framing 2 

Then we work up our final construction drawings, and incorporate the work of consultants, in particular, the structural engineer. Then is the time to permit the project, finalize financing, and on the contractor side of things, secure final bids from subcontractors and work out the construction schedule.

During construction I review the project every week if possible, paying special attention during framing, because any problems that show up during framing are relatively easy to fix while it is in progress, but can become very difficult to address later.  As the project is framed, we work out color selections, final finish material choices, and fixture choices.

Framing 1

As the project nears completion, we review the systems and make sure they are working, and develop a punch list with the owner and contractor, and make sure that all these things are completed, so that the house is truly ready for move-in. As the owner has occupied the house for nearly a year, we walk through the house with owner and contractor, and note any warranty items to be fixed by the Contractor, and evaluate the project for how well it meets the owner's needs and expectations.

River road

The photo just above is a home being rebuilt in February 2018 after fire loss in October 2017.

Post-Fire Fees:

Given the extraordinary nature of recent events in Northern California, Ken is focused upon assisting other survivors of the fire rebuild their houses and other lost structures. Many people need to take a more streamlined approach to their design for rebuilding.


While most people want some changes to what they had before, it is nonetheless more clear what is needed and there is a strong desire (and cost incentive) to proceed without delay. Also, many people find themselves not as fully insured as they would like. For all these reasons, I have a sliding scale in terms of fee after the fire.