The spaces we design are filled with abundant natural light, natural ventilation, open plans, clear circulation patterns, high ceilings and a strong connection to the outdoors. These features make our projects feel more spacious than their size would convey.
For renovations, we have designed many successful projects by re-working existing elements with a minimal increase in size. In residential work, for instance, a tired split level Ranch is transformed into a modern Nantucket style residence; a 1950’s cape becomes an Energy Star Qualified modern farmhouse; a dated, one-story Ranch becomes a showpiece with a second story artist’s workshop. In commercial work, a light manufacturing building is turned into a light filled culinary kitchen /lounge. Some solutions end up as modern interiors, as modern exteriors, or both; and others expand on-or blend with- an existing proven design style.
We believe that new construction projects should meet or exceed strict energy standards, recognize and harmonize with the surroundings, and produce a unique character that reflects the client’s taste, needs and functional goals. We believe that space, ceiling height, natural light, and exterior views to nature can be used to powerful effect. We recommend re-using whatever is feasible, maximizing every square inch and making beautiful, inviting spaces to live and work. Everyday needs of life are seen as a necessary design challenge and become the focus of our design approach. With our in-depth experience we can organize and manipulate a multitude of options and complex requirements into a successful and unique architectural solution.
To achieve a final design solution, SellarsLathrop Architects places a strong emphasis on highly interactive and personal service. The small size of our firm allows us to take a hands-on approach, working closely and intensely with our clients. The continuous communication, collaboration and complementary skills of our team of designers, drafts-people, consultants and vendors allows us to respond to requests or deadlines in an efficient and timely manner. A successful collaboration starts with determining the client’s program or wish list of all ideas and requirements for the project. We may ask that a client be open to possible new directions to help solve a problem. Solutions may not be self-evident and are often best derived from looking at multiple options and points of view.
A successful collaboration also starts with discussing the project budget. An important question is always asked: “How much is it going to cost”? This is a difficult question to answer until the client’s program and design are clearly defined. We can ask the questions, do initial feasibility studies, explore the project constraints and meet with contractors, all in the beginning stages of a project to help clients meet their goals and their budget. We also provide expert problem solving, knowledge of construction and its costs, to help guide a client through the building process. We believe that strong, open communications -and collaboration- between the client, architect, contractor, and all consultants, from start to finish, is essential for a project’s successful completion, on time and within budget.
SellarsLathrop Architects is committed to sustainable design. A primary goal for all projects undertaken is to reduce the need for energy consumption. Many of our projects have been third party verified to become Energy Star Qualified. Our experience with renovations and adaptive re-use is, in itself, a sustainable approach because far fewer resources are used and far less goes from the job- site to a landfill.
A key component of sustainable design is constructing a high-performance building envelope. We accomplish this by specifying high-efficiency windows, super-insulated enclosures, complete air sealing, proper ventilation and right-sized heating and cooling equipment. We also incorporate building science practices to reduce the need for fossil fuel consumption and the use of virgin raw materials by using low or no maintenance products and reclaimed materials. Another component of sustainability is air quality : We improve indoor air quality by specifying low or no-VOC products and materials, and providing mechanical as well as natural ventilation.
We also design for passive solar whenever possible (orienting major rooms and spaces due south to capture solar gain). We incorporate renewable energy, such as geothermal heating and air conditioning systems and solar photovoltaic panels, but only if the building envelope is first properly designed to be high-performance. Ultimately, we believe that the design of a sustainable building, or part thereof, must pass the test of time. Informed by the client’s desires, SellarsLathrop Architects will provide an assessment of what sustainable design methods are possible for any given project or budget.