Inside the House
Bailey Urban is currently working for a very short-term period of time for DanielHouse Studios while between semesters of graduate school. With little effort Alexander convinced her working for him and his brother would be a good use of her free time.
When Alexander suggested I write a blog, I would venture to guess we both were thinking to ourselves, "No idea what she’ll [I'll] write, as she’s [I am] clearly am architecture-illiterate, but hopefully she'll [I'll] think of something useful to write."
It actually didn't take me long to think of what that might be: combine the Spaldings' deep fervor for design with my own deep curiosity of people.
So, as a future client of DanielHouse Studios, this is a question that would be helpful for you to know the answer: What's it like to work with the Spaldings?
As someone who is currently living under the same roof as the two of them and is perpetually intrigued by interesting people, I will divulge the intricacies of their work habits, mental models, and deepest, darkest secrets.
Okay, we'll just have to see about the last part.
First and foremost, Peter and Alexander are extremely conceptual and imaginative thinkers, which is certainly needed when reimagining a space in which we live or work. See for yourself: check out their about page. They think beyond what you and I see when we walk in a room. Peter sees its historical context and no matter how great or not great it is, and turns it into a masterpiece of architectural genius. Alexander sees the potential for not only what the room would look like if it had Peter's design footprint on it, but what our daily experience with buildings and homes might be like if we all thought deeper about the positive impact of historically-influenced design on our communities as a whole.
CAPTION: Every detail of a room matters at DanielHouse Studios. The picture on the left* is what this fish and book looked like before my curiosity of what this contraption and book entailed entered the mix. After I clearly did not place things back the way it was before (pictured on right*), Alexander fixed it and then turned to me to say, “Peter will notice if it doesn’t look a certain way.” Good news for you: Peter won’t actually be living in the house with you after he redesigns it for you. Nice to know this is how far his attention to detail goes, right? Bad news: I apparently am temporarily housed in a museum.
They both care deeply not just about the space in which they are working, but about the people who will be living in that space. During the day, it is mainly Peter and me in the house. Though Peter's design skills are likely what would and should persuade you to hire him, the added bonus is he also cares deeply about people. If you have a question, your question as the client becomes the priority.
Case in point: as we were driving through the neighborhood to the house at the end of the day, I said to Peter, "What do you think of all of these houses around here?" The neighborhood we were driving through had a great deal of character -- each house looks like it has its own story, of both its current and past owners. Peter said he liked most of them, but a few weren't so great. I asked him to point some of them out to me. It took me a good 10 minutes to realize he had diverted off the very confusing, windy path back to the house just to show me some rather odd houses in the neighborhood and what he might suggest to improve them.
What I'm getting at is Peter is not just trained in architecture and design, he's a teacher of the subjects. When you contract him to design something, he doesn't just want to deliver a flawless finished product. He wants you to see WHY it looks as good as it does, and understand it in the same way he does. This is what will cause a cultural shift in how those who work with him appreciate architectural design.
The other half of this operation is in fact, the Director of Operations, Alexander Spalding. Alexander has a vision for his life and this company in ways which cannot be succinctly explained in this blog. Perhaps the best way to encompass the work ethic and dedication to DanielHouse Studios is to share two declarations he has made to me in the past year. He plans to run this company for the rest of his life, and he also has no plans to ever retire. I don't know about you, but I have plans for my retirement already. It involves me spending my days reading, writing, making puzzles, and socializing in a fun senior living oasis (designed by Peter of course). Alexander truly believes "business is fun" and that will undoubtedly motivate him every day for the rest of his life.
Perhaps this is because Alexander has found the thing that makes him feel like he will never have to work a day in his life. That kind of intensity and drive would fly off the shelves if it could be bottled and sold, alas, it cannot. So you should take the opportunity to work with someone who has the persistent grit and unparalleled vision at the first opportunity you can.
The last thing I will mention is how you should think about their age when considering hiring them. As twenty-somethings, it may seem a bit risky to hire such young professionals. On the contrary. One only needs see the bookshelves in their home to see neither of them are your average young professional/millennial. Their interest in this industry developed when they were just tots, as their extensive travels around the globe taught them to appreciate classical architecture. They are proof age is but a number.
So, if you’re asking yourself if you should work with DanielHouse Studios, you can rest assured knowing that their work will not only enrich your home, but even will cause you to have a paradigm shift in how you experience and appreciate the spaces in which you live and work every day.
*Alexander’s eye of photography was clearly not incorporated to these pictures. Photography is yet another skill DHS should not enlist me to do