Residential Design

Vol. 2, 2017

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Page 11 of 79

RD: Why do you think the first book struggled? MH: I didn't think as much about the target audience. Instead, I focused on telling the story of each project and wrapping general ideas and themes around all the projects. We also tried to be global and show all the different kinds of work we do, instead of recognizing our ecosystem. It was about not being limited to the cape and islands. And the book itself became a work of architecture. I got caught up on the paper—choosing art paper, the binding, and then making some architecture to contain the whole thing. We didn't think as much about who we wanted to reach; we thought more about what we wanted to tell. RD: What did you do differently with the second book? MH: We've matured as a business, and we've come to understand how we've differentiated ourselves from others. One of the things that Jill and other consultants gave us was the ability to pull back and see what clients' perspective would be, rather than just telling an architect's tale. So, this time we wrote about our process. Our mission statement is to create "heirlooms worthy of preservation." And to do that we pursue a narrative on each of our projects. When you do a book, you have to articulate clearly what it is you do intuitively. For architects that's not an easy thing to do. What we do is narrative design—there's always a story for every house. If you can't tell four different stories about each house, then you're just doing plywood and studs. You have to go deep. In this book, we wanted to talk about what's meaningful about building in a specific place, and to attract the people who dream about the cape and the islands. The book tells the stories of each client and each place. RD: The second book shows only 13 projects. How did you decide what to include? MH: Architects are always in the mode of putting a portfolio together, since that's what we've done since we first start- ed. The first thing to do is to step away from the notion of portfolio, and let the work come together as a larger story about the firm and the projects. Is it a portfolio piece, is it a marketing piece, or are you trying to move forward the practice of architecture? Hut House II [Mark's own house] didn't make the cut. It's 100 percent about what makes the book better. Which projects are going to make the book flow correctly— small, big, traditional, not traditional? Assembling a book is in itself a story. Like the Beatles, how did they decide what songs to put on the record and in what order? It creates its own journey. I think what's really important is we didn't get caught up in the process of bookmaking this time. RD: What other wisdom do you have to share about monographs? MH: I don't think you can do a book without at least having a marketing mindset, but that can't be the single goal. You must also have as a goal to move architecture forward. And you have to market the book, you have to lecture about it—you have to have your stump lecture ready to go, you have to organize events, and you have to hope you don't only reach architects. You have to go out and talk with the interior design community, who can refer clients; landscape architects; garden clubs. You also have to push it out to editors and ask for re- views, send it out to libraries—especially local libraries. We did a book opening at Waterworks [a high-end plumbing manufacturer]. If you don't calculate that expense and effort it will blindside you. And If you don't act soon after publication, the book will not stay fresh. RD: What other expenses are involved? MH: I said in the forward of my first book, and I still think it's apt, you always hope some editor will see your work and want to write a book about you. But monographs are a pay-to-play format. There is a shared risk with the publisher. And we agree to buy a certain number of books—of course we can buy more than that if we need to. Photography is the single biggest expense. You have to buy this best photography you can afford. We had one pho- tographer for the first book. But Jill said some houses need a different eye to capture them, so the second book had half a dozen photographers. After you decide what your story is going to be, you have to decide whether there will be drawings. Our first book included them, but if we hadn't been in a recession, we would not have had the bandwidth to do it. RD: You also had a professional writer on the project, Marc Kristal? MH: Yes. Architects should design and writers should write. And as soon as you learn that, the better off you'll be. VERBATIM 12 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM VOL. 2, 2017

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