When our kids moved out, we realized our 115-year-old Victorian was too much for two people. But we loved the house and we loved the location, so we decided to turn it into a legal 2-family with a separate suite where we could work and see clients (she’s a writer; I’m a sound engineer). We’d done other commercial and residential projects before, and knew what we could afford. So we talked to a LOT of architects.
MSH impressed us from the start. When I walked the premises with other architects, they’d nod and say ‘hmmm’… and then launch into their stock presentations. Marc understood what we were trying to do, and immediately started making his own suggestions – ones we hadn’t thought of – to use the space even better. Then he talked about what he’d done previously that actually applied to us. So after checking and due diligence, we gave him the job.
Before he started, Marc showed up with an assistant and portable drawing board and took exact measurements of every detail: nooks, inside closets, even where a wall changed thickness by an inch. He then made computerized drawings that could have built a perfect clone of our existing house. I’d never seen a architect do this for a residential renovation… but because he did, the dreaded phrase ‘Verify in Field’ never showed up on our plans. So the contractors were never left scratching their heads or coming to us with expensive, unexpected problems.
After he gave us his first designs, he spent a long time listening to what we didn’t love, and finding ways to do what we wanted… while also applying his own sensibilities, solid building practice, and a healthy respect for local codes. As a sound engineer, my workspace had specific needs. He took my suggestions for soundproofing and acoustics, and incorporated them into a clean functional design.
He then repeated the process with our contractors and their plumber and electrician, seeing what could make life easier (and cheaper) for them, and building solutions into the final plans.
While our house is Victorian, it had been badly treated over the decades and we couldn’t afford restoring its 19th century glory. So we left the exterior alone, and asked Marc to make the interior functional, modern, and nice… which is exactly what he did. The project went beautifully, we’ve been happy with our living and working spaces, and the apartment rented immediately (for more than we originally expected). I’ll probably never do another project of this size again. But if I do, I’ll hire MSH.