Residential Design

VOL.3 2018

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

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out into commercial. They were also maxed out on their office space, with 10 people crammed into 1,000 square feet in a residential neighborhood. Instead of hunkering down, they decided to lean in. They took their good (at the moment) cash flow and secured financing to build a commercial build- ing to hold their offices. They reserved 1,200 of the 4,500 square feet to sublet. Drawing from their deep knowledge of regional climate and passive and active green strategies, they designed and built a dazzling, low-slung, sculptural, and highly functional showcase for their talents. There are solar panels, energy monitoring, rainwater harvesting and irrigation systems, custom steel and concrete screens for shading, and care- fully orchestrated cross ventilation and natural lighting. The project won multiple state and regional AIA Honor Awards, giving the firm an immeasurable lift and launch into a new sector of design and con- struction. At the time, Page quipped to the media, "It's basically our adver- tising budget for the next 20 years." Nowadays, he has a different perspec- tive: "To say it was the scariest thing we've ever done is an understatement," he pauses. "But owning your own space is very cool." In hindsight, it was indeed money well spent because it brought vital commercial business in just as the door shut on the housing market. It established a sharp, savvy look for the firm that still appears fresh today. It shows off their fabrication talents, their interest in sustainable design, and communicates their solidity. This is not some generic storefront that may disappear tomorrow. "We're both pragmatists at heart," says Rick. "A lot of our design work and approach is sensitivity toward materials and forms of buildings that are appro- priate for this region. We're interested in concrete, steel—materials that are durable and will last in this harsh environment. We have an appreciation for the materials themselves. Why build a masonry wall and then cover it with Above: The team transformed this 1960s adobe ranch house into a modern showplace and Rick's own home. A custom birch plywood bookcase takes center stage. Below: Repp + McLain took a big leap and designed, developed, and built their own offices just as the Great Recession hit. It turned out to be one of their best business decisions. Photo: Liam Frederick Photo: Bill Timmerman 17 VOL. 3, 2018 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM

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