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Bham Design: Louis Nequette on Inspiring Spaces

The architects at Dungan Nequette have helped us create a stunning portfolio of custom homes and multifamily developments, but their expertise goes well beyond being our go-to gurus. These are folks whose work embodies our belief that where you live is more than just a place to sleep. As a creator of spaces that inspire, we asked Louis Nequette to weigh in on home design and the folks who practice it. Whether you’re looking for the right firm to plan your dream renovation or just trying to articulate what you want in a space, Louis offers on-point advice.

When you’re hunting for a new space, think about these things:

Spaces should prompt an emotional response. “The desire to be inspired is universal,” Louis says. To create spaces that give clients all the feels, Dungan Nequette focuses on “capturing tons of natural light, offering inspiring views, creating intimacy through changes in ceiling heights.”

Home interiors shouldn’t be stuck in single-purpose configurations. “Great homes,” according to Louis, “are living organisms. They are meant to evolve. To respond to the changes in their owner’s life.”

Multi-family developments offer additional design layers. There is a “sense of place that multiple homes can create,” Louis says. They offer “exterior rooms and streetscapes” that give residents “a unique place for them to identify with.”

If you’re interviewing architects, consider the following:

Birmingham has an existing architectural style. Not to be confused with craftsman, tudor, or other distinctions, it’s based on our city’s “unique culture, topography and climate.” Louis says those things play out in specific ways: “The overhangs get a little larger to protect from heat gain, the land rolls, so the houses want to roll with it, and the people typically enjoy more informal or vernacular-feeling spaces.”

Local architectural culture trumps current trends. Embracing the culture creates environmentally responsible spaces that hold their value over the long term. “When we create places we love, we protect them and they stand for a century,” Louis says. “Trends get destroyed in 20 years no matter what they’re made of.”

Architects should understand clients’ personalities. Whether it’s their level of formality or their entertaining habits, architects should be blending clients’ tastes with the potential of their home site. That combination, Louis says, will “yield a unique result — a home that is just about them.”

There is no single architect who’s right for everyone. “Finding an architect is all about fit,” Louis says. “Young or old, expensive or cheap, find someone who can understand you and create a space or place to inspire you.” After all, he says, “Life is too short to not be inspired in some way every single day.”

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