The office is already off to a fast start in 2016 and the timing for a new design leader couldn’t have be better. We sat down with Dale Patton, DA’s new Director of Residential Design, to discuss his thoughts on the new position and what is in store for the future.
JM: What do you have up your sleeve for our design team? Anything they haven’t seen before? How are you going to encourage everyone to take their designs to the next level – and what is that next level?
DP: I have been working with the Danielian designers for the past several years on various projects, so they are very familiar with my design process. However, I feel my experience with luxury custom homes and high-end production homes can have a positive influence on the design process of projects at all levels. My goal is to create a culture where our designers are fueled by a passion to grow and do great work. We need to learn from each other, take advantage of everyone’s strengths, and be good mentors so every designer at every level has a path to success. It is not going to be something I design that is going to raise the bar. It will be what we achieve as a team that impacts every project that leaves DA’s office. To raise the bar, it has to be a consistent level of design excellence regardless of the type of project or the team members who design it. We do have some very exciting new projects in the works which will feature design elements not traditionally seen in production housing. Stay tuned!
JM: DA is in a growth and transition mode- what do you want to see come out of our office from this point forward? What does 2016 look like to you from a design standpoint and from a client standpoint?
DP: We are in a transition mode, which I think is very healthy for all companies to do. We recently redefined our core values with design excellence being one of our top priorities. What I want to see in 2016 is a consistent level of design. We can make all the efforts to market our firm to the building industry, however, the most successful and least expensive marketing plan is excellent design that translates into successful projects for our clients. If we can do that on a consistent basis, then everything else will fall into place.
JM: What excites you most about the Design Team at Danielian Associates?
DP: First of all, I like the diversity of the talent and experience within the team. We have solid designers for both detached and attached product types accompanied by substantial custom home and commercial experience. Furthermore, we have a very talented planning team which allows DA to provide full planning and architecture services. However, what excites me most is the talent and energy of our young designers. I enjoy the mentoring role and feel there is so much to learn from these young minds. They are a great insight into the millennial generation of today and the buyers of tomorrow.
JM: What is your favorite point in the design process?
DP: To some level, I find satisfaction in every point of the process. I always enjoy brainstorming with the client about the vision of their project and, together, analyzing all the influencing factors to craft a story that will guide the design. I also enjoy the process of working side by side with the client resolving issues and developing the design. I remember as a young designer how intimidated I was by the daunting ‘blank piece of a paper’. Where do I start? Ironically, that has become my favorite part. Conceptual design will put me in the ‘zone’ faster than any other point in the design process.
JM: What essentials do you bring with you to a new client meeting?
DP: I have found a couple keys to my success with new clients. First of all and perhaps most important, I simply listen to the client to thoroughly understand their vision for the project. I also really enjoy talking about some of my philosophies on how I like to design a home which usually resonates really well with my clients.
JM: You specialize in high end production homes and luxury estates- what is the craziest home you have ever designed? What are the rich and famous requesting in their homes these days?
DP: There is a home I recently designed where the client enjoys drag racing vintage cars and he has one in particular that he treasures. So I reluctantly suggested having their dining room share a glass wall with the tandem third space of their garage so they could display the car for everyone to enjoy with every bite. They both loved the idea! So, with that said, designing for the ‘rich and famous’ is simply listening to their vision, understanding who they are and what makes them tick, and designing a dream home that meets their needs and exceeds their expectations.
JM: Prior to joining DA, you were running your own company. What has your experience as a business owner taught you about managing successfully built projects?
DP: Have I mentioned, listen to your clients? Remember, they are going to live in the house, not the designer. Be responsive. Work with good, talented people because life is too short to do otherwise. In the end, a successful, well managed project has everyone celebrating together for a job well done.
JM: If we bumped into you this weekend, what might we find you doing?
DP: Well, you picked a particularly busy weekend! My son, Nate, and I will be running a 5K with his running club Saturday morning. Then we head straight up to LA to catch the Olympic Marathon Trials. Then it is off to see the Space Shuttle ‘Endeavor’ tour while we are in the area. I have some shelves and layout tables I need to finish building for my home workspace. Then a barbeque with some friends on Sunday. Weekends can get pretty busy, but the most important thing to me is spending time with my family.
For more information on Dale Patton, please see our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org