Daniel House



DanielHouse is a firm founded by two brothers, Peter and Alexander Spalding, who deeply believe in the possibility of bettering people’s lives through good design. 

Good design and better life are sort of subjective phrases though, so perhaps we should elaborate. We grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. Our father, Daniel, was a big business man – he owned a company called JanSport that sold backpacks. Our grandfather was a business man too and his father was a banker. For all those generations, our family occupied a handful of houses in a few short blocks. By the time we were born, our sense of place in the world had roots a hundred years deep.

Parties at our house were frequent and included friends who told boisterous stories about yesterday, distant relatives that drifted in and out of rooms they recalled visiting as children, and new acquaintances who roamed about wondering what they’d encounter at their next turn. Home was a warm place, vitally alive, yet brimming with history. Even though its walls had been built by a paper baron at the turn of the century, it was not a museum and nobody treated it that way. We believe good design places people at its center and that people’s lives are better when they feel firmly rooted in a story that stretches across time and space.

Not too far into our upbringing, our father was taken from us, and with him went that sense of rootedness we so valued. The house became sleepy for a time, but our mother did not let it pass away with him. As we grieved, she flung its doors open wide and the whole community came pouring in once again. Nothing made death feel so far away as when all hands were on deck for the orchestration of one of mom’s beautiful parties. Sometimes the flower arrangements were so tall they touched the chandeliers, sometime the garlands so long she’d clip a few feet dangling from the newel post and send it home with a guest. Always, there was a line at the front door to get in and partake of the celebration of life going on inside.

In all the work we do, we strive to celebrate life. We believe a home should do that too.  In a sense, we believe planning a house is like preparing for one big, ongoing party whose guest list includes not just its owners, but relatives who travel great distances to pass a holiday together, friends who come by to share a cup of coffee, and children who grow up and have their own families and become grandparents and regale their grandchildren with wonderful stories about their childhood home. You know the stories we're talking about because you've heard them from your own grandparents. Their subject is never the brand of the furniture or the cost of the wall treatment. Rather they tell of what life was like there -- how it smelled, what kind of food was eaten around the table and who came to dinner. These are the stories we are interested in and these are the stories our homes are designed to hold. 

We are DanielHouse Studios. We are here to help write your story.