Can you trace your interest in architectural design back to a particular influence?

As a kid, wanting a structure or space to house myself or whatever toy I was playing with and spending time to create it was heavily influential in my path. It gave me the opportunity to understand what worked and what didn’t, and hopefully why. I was lucky to realize at some later point that this could lead to a life and career that I love.

During your studies at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture of Auburn University you spent time working with Rural Studio®, an off-campus design-build program that coupled research on sustainable and healthful rural living; how did this experience impact your approach to residential design?

I think it became the foundation of my approach. We quickly learned that we had to become immersed in the community and client to completely understand the problem and opportunity or it would fail. These weren’t weekly studio pin-ups inspired by your favorite firm. You lived it as the community did, and it humbled you. Every line on paper had to be deliberate and defendable because there were realized consequences. I learned to understand that what I did had the potential to be permanent and have a positive, or negative effect on a community. I take that same mindset into every project that comes through the door.

Outside of architecture, what are you currently interested in and how is it influencing your design thinking?

I have enjoyed spending extended amounts of time in the mountains with my wife and boys. I believe it is important to fully experience the natural world before you attempt to add to it.

Many of Stephenson Design Collective’s award-winning residences focus on balance through the creation of space and light. How does your firm approach creating spaces with functional beauty within the natural environment?

The structure of a home should lightly fill in the spaces around the process of living. The less you think about a home as you are moving through, the better. The same can be said for its surrounding environment. The home is secondary to the beauty of the place.

What’s next on the boards?

Location and experienced-based homes. The understanding and requirements of a home have recently changed for the better and people have placed a greater importance on their experienced environment.

Best travel destination for inspiration?

A trip to Iceland was more influential than I expected as it was mostly just the natural landscape. You experience an environment that has come from geological violence but is still somehow a place of incredible beauty. Then to observe how people have learned to live with that natural violence is amazing.

What is your favorite space in your own home and why?

The kitchen is the easy answer, but honestly, the living room. If I am here, its probably the end of a day and my wife and I are taking a minute to relax. I designed a living room in my home that has views into multiple exterior spaces, so there is a feeling of balance and connection in this area of the home, with a ton of natural light.

What’s on your radar?

Residential architecture coming out of Australia. The limited urban space and unique rural environment seem to be inspiring some really great work.

For more information visit: