John Gifford | Design Associates


In the Seventies, Jock Gifford planted the seeds that would spawn Design Associates.  He and a young architect, Bill Rich, AIA, received a prestigious commission, the design of the major expansion of the now world-famous Harbor House Hotel on Nantucket.  Gifford and Rich embarked on the project and put together the professional team of architects, designers, and technicians that later became Design Associates.

Jock Gifford’s design career spans forty-five years and a lifetime living and working in New England. He has spent every summer on Nantucket Island, where he is a partner at Design Associates and oversees a number of his other enterprises, including the critically acclaimed Straight Wharf Restaurant, which he designed in 1976.

With a background in engineering at Brown University and design at Rhode Island School of Design, Jock Gifford immersed himself in the nuts and bolts of the design and construction industry. Working for a construction company and, later, Rogers Moore Architects in Cambridge, Mr. Gifford spent ten years walking clients through each step of the design process. From these early experiences, Mr. Gifford personally assayed the clients’ point of view and innate need to understand and feel comfortable with every phase of their project. This important perspective has enhanced his design career ever since and made him one of the most sought after residential designers in New England.

Mr. Gifford’s grasp of the intricacies of the building and construction industry has been central to Design Associates’ success in meeting clients’ needs. His keen abilities have been documented on “This Old House”, a nationally syndicated production of WGBH-TV/Boston, with which Design Associates has been professionally affiliated since the program’s inception in 1979. The firm’s work has been extensively covered by consumer magazines such as House & Garden, House Beautiful, and Home and included in a number of books, among them is Nantucket Gardens and Houses.

On Nantucket, Jock Gifford has been an ardent supporter of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, to which he has donated significant parcels of open land. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Pacific National Bank and of the Cambridge Center of Adult Education, and is a former Director of the Nantucket Electric Company.