Tell us about your introduction to architecture and why it originally interested you?

Lauren: I was originally drawn to architecture as a blend of art and math, a career that was effectively a series of puzzles to solve in the most beautiful ways possible.

Kyle: Original inspiration was from childhood experience of creating dozens of tree houses and other primitive huts and forts with my brother and friends. I was the oldest and the “architect” by default.

What was the journey to building your own firm and how has your practice evolved?

Starting our own firm was a natural progression to practicing residential architecture in a way that was meaningful and balanced. We started Studio Zerbey at the same time our first child was born, so those two events will forever be intwined! Owning our own firm was a way to achieve work-life balance that wouldn’t have been possible at our previous firms. Now that all our kids are in school, we’re growing our firm.

How does your focus on sustainable design impact your work?

For us, sustainable design is part of good design, and we practice sustainability to the extent possible for each client. We start the process with questions like, “How small can we make this while still meeting your needs?” and “How can we design for durability so everything lasts longer and there’s less maintenance?” to “How can we best take advantage of the natural features of the site and fit your home into the land?” After that there are other passive and active solutions that we present to our clients as options.

As you look to the future, are there any ideas you think should be front and center in the minds of residential architects?

Lauren: I hope we see more focus on quality over quantity, as well as the idea of a house adapting to the changes that life brings (starting families, children moving away, aging in place, working from home). A well-designed house should work for its inhabitants – the home as a refuge and haven. The homes we design serve as the backdrop for living.

Kyle: Artificial intelligence, automation and sustainability. We should consider how technology will continue to evolve and affect design processes and the built environment, both good and bad, to find the best path forward.

What is your favorite design rule you use again and again?

Lauren: Scale and composition, to me that’s the basis of good design.

Kyle: Prospect-Refuge and the compositional rule of thirds. My current favorite book on design is Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler.

Describe your design style or philosophy.

Lauren: natural modern, complex problem solvers.

Kyle: Thoughtful. Constantly evolving. Everything changes, always. Design for smaller footprints of higher quality design and construction so that it may be built to last.

Favorite travel destination for inspiration?

We haven’t travelled as much these last few years, but that inspired us to explore and renew an appreciation for the PNW. We recently renewed our passports and got passports for our kids and are planning an adventure to England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland!

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