Design/Build

Often times when you are buying a home you hope to change, update and/or renovate a space.  And when you are moving to a new area, that task seems a bit more daunting as you are not sure where to start or who to trust.  We hope to make the process a bit easier by interviewing local architects, builders, landscapers, etc. and posting their responses to four common questions.  Enjoy!  Sig & Syl

Four Common Questions

1) How long have you been in the business and what are your credentials?

2) What inspired you to pursue your career in this industry?

3) What would you say is your specialty?

4) What would you say is the most common thing people underestimate?
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Baxter Construction
31 West Broad Street
Hopewell, NJ 08525
(609) 466-3655
jbaxter@baxterconstruction.com

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1) Credentials

I founded Baxter Construction 1981 and have enjoyed an almost forty-year career. I’ve earned three designations from the National Association of Home Builders: Certified Green Professional (CGP); Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS); and Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR). I’ve received awards in LEED Certified green construction and am a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. My company has received the 2013 Chrysalis Award for Residential Remodeling Excellence, the 2012 Remodeling Magazine’s Big50 business excellence award for best practices, a number of historic preservation awards, as well as several state and national awards.

2) Inspiration

Growing up, I loved to build things and was handy. While in high school and college, I worked first at a local hardware store and then at a lumber yard. Early in my career, I had the opportunity to help restore a 27-room Victorian mansion—this experience ignited my passion for historic residential renovations and cemented my appreciation of quality craftsmanship. In the late 1970s, I worked with Princeton Energy Group and that inspired me to use energy-efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly methods and materials.

3) Specialty

My main focus is residential building and remodeling, including whole house and specific room remodels, additions, renovations, and custom homes. At Baxter Construction, we specialize in working on older homes and modernizing them while maintaining each home’s unique character and charm. We also take great care to listen to our clients, create thoughtful plans, and pay careful attention to all the details. We strive to create harmony between our clients’ needs and desires and their homes’ functionality.

4) Common underestimation

People often underestimate the importance of project management. Our detailed management system allows us to plan and schedule each project, clearly define the scope of the work, track our progress, and communicate with our clients in a timely and understandable manner. Once the onsite work begins, we have a lead carpenter and project manager on the job every day—this gives our clients peace of mind and helps us not only reach but exceed our clients’ expectations.

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Bogle Design Group
148 Quarry Lane
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-468-2336
kathy@bogledesign.com

Kathy Bogle from Bogle Design Group

 1) Credentials

Kathy has been serving the residential Princeton market for over 20 years. Prior to specializing in residential projects, she worked for an international, commercial Construction Management firm. Kathy has an undergraduate degree in Architectural Engineering from Penn State University with an emphasis in Construction Management and a thesis in Design/Build. She also holds an MBA from Rider University.

2) Inspiration

Kathy loves design, working closely with people, and knowing that the end result improves the way her clients feel in their homes. She chose to combine her design and construction background to simplify the process for her clients and to ensure that space planning, product selection and construction are seamlessly executed.

3) Specialty

Kathy’s specialty is space planning. Whether a project is small or large, Kathy and her team enjoy maximizing an existing space and transforming it to be both functional and beautiful. Kathy will often redefine spaces by removing walls, adding windows, or adding built-in cabinetry to create a room that is both comfortable and connected to the outdoors.

4) Common underestimation

“People underestimate how important it is to like, relate and trust the people you are working with.” Kathy’s strives to understand your family’s needs and to put herself in her clients’ shoes not just during the design process but throughout the life of the construction project.

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342 Nassau Street
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 921-2827
Eastridge

1) Credentials

Eastridge Design Home is headquartered in Princeton, in a historic home built in 1735. The firm has been a staple of the community for many years, but works nationwide, focusing on the East Coast. Katie Eastridge, the owner and president, was educated as an artist and therefore retains a trained eye and creative streak that she can seamlessly apply to her work.

2) Inspiration

Katie’s passion in interior design stems from her love of the collaborative process – she loves working one-on-one with people, and helping them interpret their wishes and desires. Her ability to read a client’s aesthetic and personal story, and to then translate that understanding into a keenly developed and unique home, makes Eastridge Design a one-of-a-kind firm.

3) Specialty

Eastridge Design Home’s specialty is deciphering the particular balance between classicism and modernism that would most benefit each particular client. Katie and her team help clients discover for themselves what their taste and vision is, and she then uses her expertise to meticulously render that into a comfortable and distinctive home.

4) Common underestimation

People often underestimate the amount of time and devotion required to truly do a project justice – and consequently, the amount of sheer joy the clients’ feel upon viewing a completed home, furnished and redecorated just for them. The work ethic required to be an interior decorator is not for the faint of heart, but the end result is so rewarding.

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Kirsten Thoft Architect
45 Linden Lane
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 947-8982
kthoft@gmail.com

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1) Credentials

I have been working in architecture firms since I started studying design at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983. I also earned my Masters in Architecture from Penn and have been a licensed architect for 24 years. I’ve had my own firm for 20 years. I’ve also served on the Historic Preservation Commission, the Environmental Commission and the Site Plan ReviewAdvisory Board here in Princeton,

 2) Inspiration

I love designing and building. I liken the process to solving puzzles in 3 dimensions. It’s really gratifying to create spaces that people enjoy.

3) Specialty

I like to work on both residential and commercial projects; I focus on creating thoughtful, environmentally-conscious and contextual design.  Recently I have been focusing in particular on “high-performance buildings”, which are extremely energy-efficient.

4) Common underestimation

People who aren’t in the industry often underestimate the complexity of getting a building project designed and built in a quality manner, in a timely fashion, and within a budget. The process goes much more smoothly and is more enjoyable when you work with a professional.

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Knight Architects, LLC
Catherine M. Knight AIA, Principal
234 Nassau Street
2nd Floor West
Princeton, NJ 08542
(609) 252-0474
info@knightarch.com

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1) Credentials

I have been a licensed architect since 1979, working in MA and CT on large institutional commercial projects until 1991 when I moved with my husband to Princeton and started my own firm, Knight Architects, LLC. The firm currently has another licensed architect as well as a couple of architectural interns a consulting marketing director and structural engineer.

I received my Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University and studied abroad at the Architecture Association of London. I am licensed to practice in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Our firm has won several Design Awards, including the 2012 Marvin Windows and Doors National Architect Award, the Electronic House 2014 Home of the Year Award, first place in the 2015-2016 Regional Subzero-Wolf Kitchen Design Contest and Best of Houzz Design Award in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 as well as the Best of Houzz Service Award in 2017.

2) Inspiration

Architecture is a great combination of art and math. The field is challenging and varied, no two projects or clients are the same. I love working with and relating to people as I help them realize their dreams for their home and family.

3) Specialty

Our firm specializes in residential renovations, additions and new construction as well as select boutique retail establishments. We believe each project deserves our full attention and that the design process must be a team effort between the architect, the client and the contractor. We are adept at handling several large projects at one time and we pride ourselves on meeting project budgets and project deadlines on a timely basis.

4) Common underestimation

Many clients are often surprised at the amount of time, the detail and the cost of a project, even a simple one. We try and manage our client’s expectations from the very beginning. Once we sit down with a new client and discuss their project we are extremely sensitive to explaining the entire process and provide the client with a projected timeline as well as what is involved in completing the preliminary
and final drawings prior to working with a contractor. We are also careful to provide the client with a general idea of cost before we get to the final product.

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Lasley Brahaney Architecture & Construction
860 State Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 921.2822
www.lasleybrahaney.com 

Marc Brahaney

1) Credentials

Marc Brahaney started Brahaney Architectural Associates in 1987. He co-founded Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction with his wife, Janet Lasley in the mid 90’s.  He has served as President of Lasley Brahaney Architecture + Construction since 1997.  Since Janet’s passing in 2010, Marc has taken on full responsibility for the operation of what had been a shared undertaking.  

Marc graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University as an undergraduate.  He went on to earn his Masters in Architecture at Princeton as a University Fellowship recipient and Merit Prize winner.  He is licensed to practice architecture in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

2) Inspiration

Early on, Marc realized he truly enjoyed the process of how to make a home fit the family life that happens within.  Accommodating the necessities of everyday life where families take root and grow is extremely rewarding.  He takes great satisfaction in improving the quality of people’s lives.  Providing a well planned, beautiful safe haven from the world can truly enrich life.

3) Specialty

Residential additions/renovations are our core business with a wide depth of experience ranging from historic renovations to very modern projects.  Our scheduling process allows us to manage very complicated projects with tight time frames.  Our strength and expertise are centered around finishing on time and on budget. 

4) Common underestimation

Cost and time are the most misunderstood issues.  It might surprise you to hear that “simplicity” is also underestimated in many instances.  Simply moving a wall, adding a window or reconfiguring space can make all the difference!   

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Marina Rubina, Architect
252 Nassau Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
(609) 683-1376
marina@mrubina.com

MRA QH Dining NanaOpen

1) Credentials

I started my own firm in Princeton in 2009 after 10 years of working for several large and small Architectural firms on the West and East coasts. I am a licensed architect in New Jersey and California as well as a LEED Accredited Professional. I have won several awards including an American Institute of Architects New Jersey Design Award for a project right here in Princeton Borough.

2) Inspiration

A teacher in high school told me that you should think not about who you want to be, but what you would like to do every day. I started college at UC Berkeley without having a clear idea of what I wanted to do. After taking a design studio, I realized that I found a career that fits me perfectly. Now I spend my days drawing, coloring, making 3d models, writing, researching, listening and talking to people, climbing around construction sites and most importantly constantly learning.

3) Specialty
My firm specializes in Architecture that creates a strong sense of place. Every project we work on has to relate to its unique surroundings. We make small spaces feel larger by expanding the views to the outdoors, creating “outdoor rooms,” blurring boundaries between Architecture and landscape. The trick is to bring in natural light and views without jeopardizing privacy. Creating small, comfortable and well-planned homes helps us create a sustainable and walkable community.4) Common underestimation
People often underestimate the number of decisions that needs to be made on a construction project. Throughout the design process, we work closely with our clients to establish priorities and design concepts to help make those decisions. Most importantly, we work on establishing trust between clients and professionals. Working with true craftsmen makes decision much easier.
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Maximillian Hayden Architecture
230 Hopewell Princeton Road
Hopewell, NJ 08525
609-466-6966
www.maxhaydenarchitect.com

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1) Credentials

I have had my own firm since 1991.  I graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1982 after a four year education – the program is usually five but overloaded, had some AP credits, and advanced to graduate a little early.  I worked for several firms in the area including Clarke & Caton who amongst many things designed the Trenton Thunder Ball Park.  My last job prior to starting my own firm was at Michael Graves Architect.  These were the two firms that formed me the most and have a warm relationship with them to this day.

2) Inspiration

As I child I always drew – primarily cars, roadways and houses.  A pile of sand could keep me amused for days on end.  When I was six my grandparents not only sold their contemporary Jersey shore house but also moved from their New Jersey farmhouse – the latter was due to the state taking half of their forty acres for Interstate 78 – the farmhouse came within twenty feet of an exit ramp.  My grandmother was working with an architect to build a new house and had the plans set about on her dining room table.  After my mother and grandmother left the room I took up a pencil and drew steps out of the kitchen door. Upon their return to the dining room voices were raised until they saw that I knew what I was doing and after that the die was cast – not only did I want to become and architect but it was generally fostered by my parents and grandparents.

3) Specialty

I most enjoy working on single family residences and/or historic buildings.  I strongly believe in historic preservation and the adaptive re-use of old buildings.  That said I enjoy variety as well and so much depends upon the client/architect dynamic so it’s often the desire to work with a fun and interesting client as well.

4) Common underestimation

The amount of work required on both the homeowner and architect of course dependent upon the complexity of the project.

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Have questions?  Email us!
Sig & Syl

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