David is an excellent home designer and has deep expertise and experience in all aspects of home design with a superior knowledge of Toronto home construction. We engaged David to help with the design for our extensive renovation of our 100 year old, somewhat narrow, semi-detached structural brick house in the Danforth area. We wanted to extend the back of the house, add a third-story addition, underpin the basement, and build a lane-way garage. Although we originally believed that we had limited options because our property was narrow and semi-detached, David helped us see the possibilities and design a beautiful, functional, and cohesive new home with enough space for our family of four for years to come.
We strongly recommend David for home design, whether it is a new build or renovation. Here are some of our main reasons why we loved working with David, highly recommend him, and would work with him again on a home renovation projects:
Exceptional Designer. David is a very experienced home designer, and has specialised expertise with Toronto homes. He knows what he is doing both aesthetically and technically. David had a vision for what our home could be, and worked with us to translate that vision into something that functioned perfectly for our family. We loved what David did with the shell of our house (despite the very limited possibilities given the property). David listened to and understood our needs, and translated that into a beautiful design - inside and out.
Knows Construction. In addition to being an exceptional home designer, David also has strong knowledge of and experience with home building construction and process, Engineering, and materials. It became clear to us that he considered all of these issues when developing the initial concept for our home because when the time came to address those aspects of the build there were no surprises and everything went according to plan. For example, David understood the challenges of and solutions to underpinning our basement to achieve a 9 foot ceiling height, and extending the foundation of our semi-detached home to create an addition almost equal in size to the existing structure. He knew what was possible and how to achieve it, then worked with our Engineer to implement the plan when the time came to do so. As another example, David recommended that we retain a portion of our existing brick structure because it was structural brick, it would save costs, and it would actually help with the underpinning and the foundation. All of Davids reasons for retaining the existing brick structure proved to be correct as we discovered during construction. It helped us save significant time and money.
Great Guide and Project Manager. David is an excellent guide through the home building process and a very good project manager. He intimately knows the process end-to-end and helped ensure the right steps occurred at the right time. For example, David ensured submissions to the City of Toronto were made to help minimise our wait time for the Committee of Adjustments (C of A), while giving sufficient time for the City of Toronto to complete its review before our C of A hearing. David also did an excellent job recommending and coordinating the third parties that were needed for our design and build. This included the surveyor, the Engineer (who was very experienced and skilled and we loved working with), and mechanical designer (also very experienced and skilled and able to design a complicated hydronics in-floor heating system). David had experts for each of these areas who knew what they were doing, had reasonable fees, and with whom he had a good working relationship.
City of Toronto Build Expert. David is an expert on Toronto building codes and regulations, and the City of Toronto building practices, including unique issues that arise with semi-detached structures. At the start of the project it became clear that David had significant experience with home construction in Toronto. He knew what we could and could not do, and he ensured his design stayed within what was permissible. Where needed, David also found creative solutions to overcome general prohibitions such as using fire-shutters to allow for more glazing. Certain aspects of what the City of Toronto permits can be subjective and based on neighbourhood precedent. In those areas, David conducted the necessary research and made good recommendations based on sound judgement. He knew how he could use the precedents to advocate for approval of our design by the City. For example, David recommended a certain design for the front of our house at the start of the project. During the C of A hearing, the committee asked David about the front of the house (for which David was ready with a response), and the committee appeared to consider that reason as a factor for why it was approving our plans. Just as important as C of A is getting advanced approval from Community Planning. David skillfully overcame objections raised by Community Planning that would have otherwise resulted in us abandoning our project. David has excellent written and oral advocacy skills and was always well prepared for each interaction he had with the City. For example, David was the only person during the day of our Committee of Adjustments hearing to use Google Maps to effectively address a neighbour concern.
Deep Technical Expertise. David is a craft-person and his work product is excellent. He is exceptionally technical and precise, and his technology skills (use of a three-dimensional computer aided design software) made an invaluable difference to the project. It is not possible to fully appreciate the amount of technical detail that David puts into his architectural drawings until the home is being built. Because we are combining an old structure with a new structure, and have a semi-detached home, the construction of our home is fairly complex. Now that our home is being built, we are continually impressed at the level of sophistication and technical detail that we discover in Davids deliverables. Every time a build question arises, it seems that David has accounted for it in the plans. David is also methodical as we have never found any errors in his work product.
Great Process. We also really enjoyed Davids process. He was willing to scope his engagement in a manner that worked for us and was flexible. David initially developed a few design options. We then selected one that we liked and David proceeded with developing a full design based on this feedback. We then iterated with room placement / dimensions, and windows of that full design to find a good balance. David was always receptive to our feedback, never prescriptive, did not take offence, and found a way to take our input and translate that into a great design. David set expectations throughout the process and ensured that the project made progress. We also materially benefited from Davids exceptional technological expertise with using three-dimensional computer aided software to design our home. David included furniture, tapestry, art, appliances, cabinetry, textures, floor materials and patterns, colour, etc. in these 3D designs. This software allowed us to better visualise the spaces and was invaluable to the process. Having had this experience, we wouldnt want to design a home without the use of 3D software.
A Great Person and Wonderful to Work With. In addition to all of Davids hard skills, he is also a great person and a joy to work with. He truly cares about the project and his clients, and you can see that in everything he does. He also believes in taking a team approach - he is kind, thoughtful, and humble. David is also personable, trustworthy, calm and collected, and methodical. He is responsive to all inquiries and emails (you can expect an email reply from David no later than the next morning), great on calls and in-person meetings, and sets good expectations. He is articulate, smart, and has sound judgement. In short, it is truly a pleasure to work with David.
We highly recommend David for home designs large or small.
Brandon and Jessi