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A Story of Transition

David Sutphen Design > Blog > 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 page of our life chapters to start anew.

In my professional life these chapters were bookmarked; saving these experiences to be used to start the next. They remain linked to my interest in designing, building and creating

I skipped the college experience for a variety of odd jobs. I was living in a small, rented house in Long Green Valley. The house was built by the owner of the farm which was very inspiring. At age 21, and with a desire to one day design and build my own house, chapter 1 began.

I became a carpenter. The entire time, I learned the traditional ways of building. The ways of my “bosses”. As time passed, I realized some of those traditions were not hard and fast. I started to see things differently and try my own way.

Chapter 1 was marked and in 1990 the transition into Chapter 2 began. I founded my own company, Southfen Inc. I was able to blend my way with the traditional ways of carpentry and was soon completing a series of smaller home repair projects.

Designing was always an interest – dating back to 1978 when I designed the house, I wanted to build for myself. I wanted to include design in my company and in 1994, I was awarded my first design and build project, Southfen Inc. transitioned to Southfen, Design/Build.

Soon after that project Southfen was selected to design and restore an old, wood framed house in Whitehall, MD. That led to similar projects and Southfen found a niche in giving older homes new life. This was very satisfying work so Design/Build transitioned to Southfen – Design, Build, Restore.

In the early 2000s, whole house restoration and renovations followed so our next transition was Southfen – Restoration Home Builder.

The transitions of the first two decades were organic – they followed where the work took us. As I entered my mid-fifties it was time to plan the next two transitions.

I began to think about what I could do later in life and in 2010 I transitioned the design service from Southfen and founded David Sutphen Design.

At that same time, Southfen rebranded to Southfen Residential Construction. The two companies will be forever linked, but now the opportunity for me to step aside and for the skilled craftsman that had been responsible for the quality and integrity of the work for more than two decades could step up and take the lead.

At 55, the next chapter of my professional transition began. The ten-year plan, to share the business principles and practices I had learned, was implemented.

In 2022, Southfen’s 32nd year, Matt Swift became the new Owner and President of Southfen Residential Construction.

The names and faces of the crew remain the same (older and wiser). They continue to follow the founding principles of Respect, Integrity, Trust and Excellence.

I believe that Southfen will remain a trusted brand for this next generation.

As for me, I look forward to the opportunity to help homeowners design their homes, additions, unique spaces and clever projects they might be pondering.

True to the quote, “Your life is a story of transition. You are always leaving one chapter behind while moving on to the next” – I am ready to embrace this next chapter.

I humbly thank everyone who has shared the 32 years with me and wish only the best for the men and women I have had the pleasure of calling my colleagues, friends and family.

I invite you to see what I’m up to now by visiting my new website – davidsutphendesign.com