Tom, on building comfortable space...

Once I get to know a client and their needs, I can really settle into the design process.

While designing and drawing, I actually picture myself inside the house. In my mind's eye I'm walking through the building, thinking about the space -- as well as the view from the space and through the space. I'm thinking about the flow.

I like to do things with ceiling heights. Maybe give a room an opening feeling by raising a ceiling and creating a whole new volume of space. Other areas might have a cozy feeling in comparison. Maybe tuck in a window seat here, attach a porch there... Each room and zone in the house has a different feel and mood.

Then there's the question of how the natural light comes in. How's that going to play out in different parts of the house and in different seasons?

A house isn't defined by just what's inside and the materials used to build it, but also how it interacts with its environment. I like to work in harmony with the natural surroundings, settling the structure within the feel of the land and the neighborhood so it feels like it's always belonged there.

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