Shoptalk - Paul Moon

What were your goals when you founded your firm and how have they evolved?

I founded my firm by necessity. At age 30, I’d left architecture for a few years to start a digital event photography company, We were successful and grew quickly. It folded when the stock market crashed in 2000. I started my design business in my basement with a used fax machine from St. Vincent de Paul. My goal was to do excellent residential design, so I also got my contractor’s license. I built days and designed evenings. Eventually, as I was able to secure more design work, I realized I liked designing better, and left the building to the professionals. Our team has grown, but our goals have stayed true – to do great architecture and integrate it with interiors and landscape.

What is your design style?

Some designers have a distinct signature or style. When you hire a designer like that, you’re asking them to express that style uniquely in your home. We are more contextual and respond to homeowners’ tastes and style, then express them on a specific site. I enjoy the challenge of many different styles and climates. It keeps me energized. We have done everything from Tudor to Contemporary from Alaska to Australia.

How is working on a remote job different than one in Seattle?

The Digital Age allows a designer to work almost anywhere. Every job starts with visiting the site – learning the exposure, the slope, the zoning requirements. Teaming with the best is critical. We need a builder who knows the jurisdiction and has contacts for consultants and vendors. The team must use technology to communicate so we can get drawings and specifications to the building site efficiently. Video calls are for team meetings, as well as with the builder, who walks me through the site.

Beyond Seattle, your firm also has an office in Bend. How does the natural environment in Central Oregon influence your design?

Much of our drafting occurs in Bend. I grew up in Oregon, and know Central Oregon is a special place. There is nothing like smelling the Juniper and that crisp, fresh air. The High Desert humbles you. The work needs to respect and complement it. We’ve done work in Tetherow and Northwest Crossing and are equipped to expand our presence there as the region grows.

How do you feel when you’re standing in front of a finished project?

Typically, I’m standing in a garden having selected every hardscape, fixture and even the individual plants and pots. Then I walk inside and feel all the hard surfaces and watch the natural light working in harmony with the spaces and think back to the original site visit with owners and initial hand scribbles that were just ideas. I then have gratitude for everyone from owners, to my team, the builder, and trades people that have put this together. It all starts with an idea and ends up in something tangible - a gift to all who worked on it.

Beyond architecture what inspires you?

Fortunately, many of our projects give me the opportunity to travel, which I love. My wife and I use those opportunities to explore. I’m also a history buff and garden mornings and evenings to wind down. My Seattle garden is tropical with everything from palms to pomegranate. When not gardening, I often ride my electric bicycle through Seattle, dropping in on friends, exploring streetscapes or looking for incredible architecture or gardens.

For more information visit: