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Common Sense Design

145 Keller Street
Petaluma, CA 94952


Service area: 50 miles

Service Area: Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, Trinity

Common Sense Design has completed several hundred residential and small commercial projects since its inception in 1990. Since we are a small firm, we are able to maintain the close personal involvement which smaller projects demand. We delight in working collaboratively on our projects with our clients, builders, other professionals, tradespeople, artists, and craftspeople.

A 1980 graduate of MIT (in Architecture), I am one of a small number of architects who has years of experience in the trenches as a hands-on licensed general building contractor (Common Sense Construction, 1986 through 1990) -- as well as years in other architecture firms prior to 1985. I have been a licensed architect in California since 1991.

I suppose I defy the stereotypes and puzzle more than a few people by combining hands-on experience (the practical) with a strong sense of design (the aesthetic). Any self-respecting artisan or craftsperson, it seems, has to be conversant in both the practical and aesthetic realms.

I got messed up in the world of design and building because I love to build. I got messed up in the world of Green Building when I could no longer overlook the ills of the man-made environment that we have created here in the over-developed First World (the grim alienating nowhere of our cities and suburbs, our decimation and domination over the natural world around us, the manic crawl of rush-hour traffic, and more) and the attendant external costs (clear-cut forests, lifeless rivers, species extinction, global warming, an asthma epidemic, and on and on) and had to acknowledge that unless we consciously work to revise our current ruinous ways, we (big-A) Architects are an essential part of the problem.

I incorporate/integrate "green" into every project I design. In addition to the dozen or so straw bale projects I've done (some of them off-grid, earth-plastered, etc.), I incorporate"green" considerations into the General Notes for all of my projects. The final built result, however, does not always embody my own personal set of standards and criteria because I don't have complete control. I am a LEED-AP (Accredited Professional), and a founding Board Member of the Redwood Empire Chapter of the USGBC. I co-teach a year-long series of classes at Sonoma State in a Professional Certificate Program in Green Building.