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David Sutphen Design

As an architectural designer, I am inspired by a statement I once read: “appropriate restraint”. I believe a home should provide a simple living environment – thoughtfully designed using quality materials. My respect for human scale, material selection and function are reflected in detailed drawings that are then shared in a collaborative environment with the homeowner. Four decades of building experience supports me when communicating my design intent with the builder – a proven formula.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

– Leonardo Da Vinci

Architectural Design

Founded in Simplicity

Have you ever wondered why some rooms or homes “feel better” than others? These spaces exist in harmony with their surroundings and seem to “fit in”. They cost no more, but have a much greater value, and are a pleasure to live in. The formula is not complicated. All homes or buildings have a generator. Good architecture can be self-made when existing details and natural factors such as orientation, light and existing amenities are given careful consideration. As the design grows, these features must be recognized and sensitively blended together with quality materials and human scale. Good architecture lives in thoughtful vision and details.

Material Design

Beautiful and Enduring

Good architecture requires quality materials. I believe time tested material that endure is synonymous with “natural” material. The correct selection of natural material, timely maintained can age gracefully. While there is an emphasis on “maintenance free” material, my years of experience have taught me nothing in “maintenance free” but some materials are more “rot resistant”. Engineered material have their place and when carefully blended with natural materials you can have the best of both worlds. Properly installed, this blend of material will remain stable and age gracefully in a way that I find pleasing. Built to last; is beauty.

Functional Design

Design that Works

My thoughts on function is simply the correct placement of rooms, cabinets, windows, doors and stairs so they facilitate the flow of everyday living. While this may sound easy, it can be quite challenging and “simple” does not mean plain. Blending the aesthetic details of an architectural design with function, when executed properly should be very harmonious and sometimes anonymous. Living in these spaces should be easy. As a critic once wrote about the 20th century artist, Maynard Dixon, “he distilled or removed completely all nonessential elements”. I believe this concept to be a strong foundation from where to start a design, and then add to that, details reflecting your client’s personal lifestyle.

“Good design begins with honesty, asks tough questions, comes from collaboration and from trusting your intuition.”

– Freeman Thomas

David Sutphen

David Sutphen, founder of DSD, has been designing and building for many years. It is evident he brings his knowledge of building to his designs. Today, quietly, but with purpose, David continues to provide homeowners with creative, functional designs that are easy to understand and builder-friendly. His trademark is the interpretation of the project site or existing structure guiding his design approach and the use of natural material as a part of the architectural detail.

As DSD has grown and evolved, so has David. His legacy of restoration continues but now includes the importance of “living small”. He draws on this passion to design smaller and unique spaces – including pool houses, studios and barns. His repurposing of existing structures is always an exciting challenge and there is great satisfaction in saving a building from the landfill. “Build what you need and use what you build.”

The DSD Portfolio
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The DSD Journal

Designing with Natural Material

As an architectural designer, I believe that good architecture requires quality materials. Time-tested materials that endure is synonymous with “natural” material. The correct selection of natural material, timely maintained, will age gracefully. My experience has taught me nothing is maintenance free — but some materials are more rot resistant. Some engineered materials have their place....
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Back to the Future: 1963

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson In 2012, I remember sitting in the examination chair and my dentist asked how my business was doing. I responded “things are okay – the glass is half full.” At that time, I had been in...
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A Story of Transition

“Your life is a story of transition. You are always leaving one chapter behind while moving on to the next.” As I get older, now 67, I find myself reflecting more often on my personal and professional life. I stumbled onto that quote and thought “how appropriate.” I’m sure many of us have turned the...
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  • Genuine customer delight is an elusive thing, difficult to achieve but achieve it you did – and then some. From the investment you personally made in extensive up-front planning to the excellent craftsmen you brought in, to the superb project manager and the team’s adept responses to the issues as they emerged – all of these united to deliver something akin to magic. Thank you for making it happen.

    Ilonka and Ken Sigmund
  • The drawings are a testament to your vision and expertise in creating beautiful, complimentary structures to what are already works of art. Glad to know that pen and paper are still in use – I think using a drawing board and a T-square is much more rewarding than a keyboard and a mouse!

    Chrissie Sybert
  • David Sutphen’s innate artistic ability, coupled with his skills as a fine furniture maker and architectural designer, have given him an eye for detail and an appreciation of craft. The process was open and collaborative, which resulted in the best possible outcome.

    Suzanne Forte
  • David did an exceptional job helping us complete the partial renovation of our 100-year-old barn. He was particularly strong helping to figure out the design of the post and beam system we needed so that the end product was consistent with the look and feel of our old home. I was thoroughly impressed with his work. Communication from start to finish was also excellent.

    Dara Hewat
  • I cannot speak highly enough of Dave Sutphen. Ten years after we built our house, we were ready for a significant expansion / renovation. We had an architect help with plans for years but there was just something missing. We met with Dave and told him the look we were seeking, and he agreed that the plans did not reflect that. He redesigned the whole thing, and we were thrilled with the plan.

    Jay Young
  • David is a gifted designer with a genuine appreciation for older and historic properties. His attention to detail and commitment to complement existing older components made him a perfect partner.

    Raymond Bank
  • David has invaluable experience, along with a terrific eye, for details that create a cozy home. You will be in good hands when you hire him to design your project. You can trust his integrity to be of the highest level.

    Sarah Eastman
  • As I’m working from home today, I look around and just really enjoy our house. Thank you for all you did to get us here. We are by no means done but enjoying what we have and each new project along the way. 

    Michelle Schiffer