“I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to collaborate with so many great people over the years and contribute to such meaningful work . Thank you to each and every one of my past clients for giving me that opportunity".
David Smith _Principal and Lead Designer
What Our Clients Say
A point of clarification for all potential readers; I am not an Architect, nor do I market myself as one. I am an Architectural Designer and registered BCIN. I know that sometimes the term Architect is unintentionally misused as a blanket descriptor for all professions that assist with the design of people’s homes. Nevertheless, I feel that it is important to make this point of clarification, primarily out of respect for every Architect that has achieved that designation.
From our very first meeting with David, we could tell that he was a great listener and very quickly able to formulate a clear understanding of our needs. The drawings David produced were creative and professional and reflected exactly what we were hoping for. The drawings have been instrumental in communicating with contractors and other professionals. He also navigated the entire permitting process for us, which proceeded without a hitch.
David has a structured yet flexible approach, with very precise communication that leads to a stress-free and efficient process. We would highly recommend his services - especially to anyone feeling overwhelmed at the thought of home renovations.
Even though his key role is winding down for our addition, David has assured us that he will continue to be available for the duration of the project, and we look forward to having him as a trusted resource.
We had been thinking about renovating our Riverdale home for some time, but procrastinating, somewhat nervous about how to go about it- fear of the unknown, basically. Then we met David, having been given his contact information by a friend. He then patiently guided us through the process, advised us on the optimum improvements that would improve quality of life and our enjoyment of the house, make the house better suited for accommodating a young family as well as visiting guests, and at the same time making a sound investment in the property. The designs he gave us were stunning. Once we'd finalized the concept, David then took care of all the requirements for getting the plans through the City's Committee of Adjustments, and then the permit issuance. He allayed all our concerns, gently guiding us without ever pushing us beyond our comfort zone.
We have recommended David to all our friends and neighbours who are looking to get some work on their homes, and we would highly recommend him to anyone.
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:
David is a very experienced home designer, and has specialized 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.
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 David’s 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 minimize 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 David’s 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.
We also really enjoyed David’s 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 David’s 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 visualize the spaces and was invaluable to the process. Having had this experience, we wouldn’t want to design a home without the use of 3D software.
A Great Person and Wonderful to Work With.
In addition to all of David’s 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
We were looking for a company that would design and build our reno, and after meeting with several companies we found they either focused more on design vs build, or build vs design, and weren't involved in the end to end process. And to be transparent, they were also charging a lot of money and seemed focused on getting to the new job vs taking the time to understand our asks (how do you spend $100,000+ on a reno without taking time upfront).
When we spoke with David on the phone, he explained his process, came to the house to see our ask, and we knew he was the right person. It didn't matter if this was a bigger or smaller build to David, from the start he kept saying this was 'our build', his goal is to help bring that design to fruition, and he worked with us through multiple revisions and cost analysis to make that happen. That's the thing with hiring David, he doesn't just send you a pretty design with some blueprints, he starts with your high level aspirations (we sent MANY photos to him on the dream reno), he took all the measurements of the house and sent back several potential designs to help us focus on what we'd like, advised of cost implications across them and where tradeoffs would need to occur to best stretch our budget, and then he gets you to the point where you are WOW'd by the design outcome.
He made himself available after hours, via text/email as that is my thing, talked us through alternates down to tile size/shape/colour, and then after all of that provided names of contractors we could reach out to in case we were still looking.
Beyond the design and planning work he signed up for, he was the intermediary with the contractors, with the city for permits, with the inspectors, and with neighbours when we needed clarification, and he guided us through the full process it is because of David we had a clear plan, felt at ease, and know made the right decisions.
He is patient, relaxed, honest, transparent, knowledgeable, responded to all asks no later than the next day, and has a passion to help people. Without that guidance and ongoing support we would have been lost. David is the value add!!
So what are you waiting for? Call him. Chris
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