FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What type of clients do you prefer to work with?
Darrin: I work with clients who are very particular about the quality and creativity of design work and high-end construction. My clients are looking for someone who can design something very special, and custom-tailored to their lifestyle. Challenging design projects and client relations are my specialties.
Q: What is the firm’s style?
Darrin: My style depends on what is being done for a particular client. “I specialize in your style.” Whether working in Country French estates, Martha’s Vineyard Shingle Cottages, a modern northwestern contemporary, or classical interiors for a single room or entire house, each detail in the various styles is enjoyable. Do you have a unique style no one has been able to articulate? Challenge me.
Q: What size projects are typically undertaken?
Darrin: I don’t necessarily have a set minimum or maximum project size. The size and type of projects I accept are based on whether the project requires a high level of creativity and skill to complete. Difficult and challenging projects are my specialty.
Q: How many projects are accepted at a time?
Darrin: I accept projects based on the client’s schedule and the size and complexity of my workload. Some clients choose to take more time to work through a project while others want to start immediately. Projects are scheduled to suit the timeline of each client and accommodate individual needs. Usually there is a mix of additions, interior renovations, and large estates. There are also a number of interior design and decoration projects of various sizes at any one time. Throughout the year, there are typically 5-7 projects in progress concurrently.
Q: How long does it take to complete design work?
Darrin: This will always depend on the size and complexity of a project. Complex waterfront sites can take more time, due to a myriad of planning issues that need to be addressed. A typical 3,000 square foot residence, after site issues are addressed, normally takes around 8 weeks, or about 40 business days. I am committed to making sure that your scheduling needs are met. I can shorten or lengthen the time according to your project goals. Additions and renovations can take more or less time, depending on their complexity.
Q: Are status checks done during construction or installation?
Darrin: Absolutely! This is one of the most important things, and also sets Bjorn & Poulsen apart from other firms. I stay in touch and am available for questions from your builder or other subs during construction. I have an open communication policy with your builder. They are encouraged to call to discuss questions or difficult issues BEFORE doing the work that may impact a project. My job is to be here to help as a valuable part of the team.
At the beginning stages of your project, we meet to discuss the amount of involvement you want from Bjorn & Poulsen. On all projects we are available anytime for a phone conference or to schedule a site visit as the need arises, in addition to occasional site visits. I can, however have a set date and time for a site visit every week or two, depending on the project needs.
Q: Architect or Residential Designer, what is the difference?
Darrin: Architects are licensed by the State of Washington to design commercial, civic, institutional and industrial buildings, and multi-family housing. These are structures that are subject to complex codes that are focused on public safety. Their rigorous University, and intern training and state licensing prepares them to be responsible for these issues when they apply their stamp to a set of drawings. This stamp assures that buildings that the public will use are safe and meet all codes and regulations. Architects rely on licensed Structural Engineers (PE) to design the complex structural and seismic aspects of a building. A Structural engineer’s stamp is also required on all structures. A small percentage of architects (about 10%) prefer residential projects, which do not require their license to perform, but are of more interest to them.
Bjorn and Poulsen is a Residential Design firm. Residential Designers specialize in only single family custom homes, and are not licensed by the state to do commercial projects. Custom homes are subject to compliance with the the International Residential Code (IRC), which is vastly different from codes for commercial buildings. Custom homes have many aspects and materials that require special knowledge by someone that specializes in residential design.
Homes are emotional and personal expressions of their owners, and require a design professional that has the knowledge and patience to navigate through the myriad of decisions that have to be made. I, along with many other residential designers, are formally trained as Interior Designers, and have evolved into designing custom homes by working with builders and tradesmen for many years before starting a design practice. Other designers come from a homebuilding background and are experts at constructing efficient, cost effective homes that meet all residential codes. Like architects, Residential Designers rely on licensed Structural Engineers to design the complex structural and seismic aspects of a home. Like commercial buildings, a Structural Engineer’s (PE) stamp is required for all residential projects.
Q: Where are projects accepted?
Darrin: Bainbridge Island and the West Sound, from Kingston to Gig Harbor, and also in Seattle, and other areas throughout the Puget Sound Region, including the San Juan Islands. I get an occasional referral for a project on the east coast which is always welcome!
Projects completed in these areas:
Washington State: Seattle, Mercer Island, Sammamish, Shoreline, Bellevue, Poulsbo,
Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Gig Harbor, Fox Island, Orcas Island
Tennessee: Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Oak Hill
Virginia: Lexington, Smith Mountain Lake, Roanoke, Hot Springs , Warm Springs
Maryland: Deep Creek Lake, Potomac
West Virginia: Morgantown, Clarksburg, Lewisburg, White Sulphur Springs
California: Beverly Hills
United Kingdom: London, England
Q: Do you use CAD (Computer Aided Drafting)?
Darrin: No. CAD is a very useful tool for some firms, but our creative nature drives us to use our artistic skills and utilize hand drafting. It gives us much more creative flexibility throughout the design project.
Q: Has your work been published?
Darrin: Yes, work I did for an architectural firm while in Aspen was published in Architectural Digest, and another project for actors Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith was published in Time Magazine.
Q: Have you won awards?
Darrin: Bjorn & Poulsen has not entered work into contests to be considered for awards. It can be a time consuming, and expensive process that takes attention away from my current projects. While it is always nice to be recognized for doing fine work, I prefer to let my work be recognized and appreciated by my clients’ network of friends and neighbors. I consider referrals as an “award” for doing great work. I have been “awarded” dozens of referrals from happy clients. I accept these with great pride and honor as a reflection of confidence in my abilities. Much better than an engraved plaque or plexiglass trophy…