“We embarked on a complete renovation and an addition to our 1920′s home. The size of the project was overwhelming to us, but DA helped us stay completely in control of the huge number of choices made on a daily basis. Their expertise brought us comfort and confidence. We were guided by their experience, matched with excellent products to fit our needs, and benefited from the professional management of all the sub contractors involved. We felt DA helped us assemble the best team to see the job from start to finish. We still consult with DA on issues regarding our house (even being post construction for 1 1/2 now). We wouldn’t consider another project with out involving Chris and his team.”
Chestnut Hill, MA
“As a client and as a collaborating designer, I have loved working with Chris Dallmus and the team at Design Associates. Having worked in New York, London and Boston, there is no other firm I have worked with that so demonstrates the professionalism, attention to detail and dedication to getting the job done right, on time and on budget. Chris' “no nonsense”, no ego approach to guiding a client’s vision and listening to their needs and wishes means the best design ideas are presented the first time and executed flawlessly. There is never a battle of design ego between architect and client. The DA Team provides a strong capable hand to make sure the client gets the best architecture to fit their vision. From new ideas and considerations to diligent follow through, meticulous record keeping and organization, working with Chris and the entire team at Design Associates has been a professional pleasure. I have recommended Design Associates to several clients, all of whom have enjoyed the same professional, sensible and responsible approach to delivering great architecture and a highly successful project.”
- Kristin Paton Interiors
“We turned to the good folks at Design Associates nearly thirty years ago for their help on a complicated This Old House Project, the Bigelow House in Newton, MA, a former residence designed by H.H. Richardson. When It became an outstanding example of sensitive historic renovation, it helped establish our reputation as leaders in the field. We liked working with Jock Gifford and Chris Dallmus of Design Associates so much we asked them to assist us on subsequent TV projects and perhaps most notably to help us design our own homes. There are many architectural firms to choose from but none will listen harder to your agenda, suggest more clever solutions, deal skillfully with cranky historic commissions, create appropriate designs that please both occupants and neighbors alike while staying within the budget. That’s our idea of a good fit between architect and client.”
Russell Morash, Founder/ Exec Producer Emeritus, This Old House
Nantucket and Lexington, Massachusetts
“In our design meetings, we felt that Chris really listened to us and understood our need to maintain the historical character of the property while modernizing and upgrading it. Our new floor plan reflected our needs, maximized every square inch space and dramatically improved the flow…..We found their help and experience to be critical while interviewing the contractors, reviewing all the background information, and ultimately making a decision. They could speak the contractors’ language and translate it into terms we could understand….. We received personal, attentive service tailored and specified to our needs every step of the way from the initial design conception to the final walk through…..the end result far surpassed our expectations.”
Corrie Yablon & Patrick O’Brien
Union Park - South End, Boston, Massachusetts
“We live in a historic home, with a twist: a previously unfinished, attached barn that we wanted to convert to open, contemporary living space. The challenge was to make this attached living space and the connection between it and our “main house” flow seamlessly from somewhat traditional to modern, in an unexpected yet non-jarring way. We had a solid vision of what we wanted to do, but Chris Dallmus helped us take that vision and then bring it to life. The experience was wonderful, as each idea blossomed and became even better through their thoughtful, creative and collaborative approach. The resulting space is fabulous and fun. I have and will continue to recommended Design Associates to my friends, especially those seeking either historically sensitive or modern design; or, as in our case, a nice juxtaposition of both.”
“Our experience with Design Associates was top notch from the initial interview all the way through to the completion of our project. Chris Dallmus and his team met our goal of developing a high caliber collaboration. The Design Associates team listened carefully and thoroughly to our needs and wishes. They solved the design issues and problems that were inherent in a home built in 1902 with great creativity. The end result is a clean, functional, efficient and very beautiful design. The floor plan works perfectly. Our kitchen project is everything that I hoped it would be…and more.”
“I have had the pleasure of working with Jock Gifford, Chris Dallmus and the team at Design Associates for decades, as a general contractor, a builder and as a client. Each role has different needs and concerns, which need to be met in order to have a successful project. As a general contractor their thorough preparation of the construction plans and documents make it possible to give the client a reasonable bid, rather than a rough estimate. Once the project has started they work seamlessly with the general contractor and client to work through the many challenges of building or renovating a house. As a builder I appreciate their knowledge of the building process – an understanding only acquired from their hands on experience. They also listen to suggestions about how to build smarter and more efficiently without sacrificing quality. When it came time to build my dream house, I knew I could build a high quality house, but I realized that being a general contractor and a builder does not necessary mean that you can be a good designer. That’s when I brought Jock Gifford into the picture. In addition to having a comfortable living space, I was concerned about the details – the little things that make a house look special and express our style as owners. With my rough sketches and a wish list we worked together to design a house that fit our needs and incorporated just the right level of tasteful detail. When you have a project, no matter how big or small, this is the team you want. “
Master Carpenter for This Old House and Host, The New Yankee Workshop
“When we evaluated design firms to help us with our unique property on the North Shore, we first considered reputation and experience in dealing with old homes. Then we checked clients and visited previous design projects. Design Associates rang every bell of our search. They respected the property and its history, learned what we wanted in family flow and space utilization, and came back with alternatives that were professional, creative, satisfying, and joyful. They forecasted accurately and delivered on budget while patiently dealing with our changes as the project developed. We were delighted when the project was completed and now five years later we are even happier with our choice of Design Associates. These folks know how to balance the stress between design, contractor, schedule, budget and customer satisfaction. We enjoyed working with Chris and his team and recommend him highly.”
Mary & Bud Enright
“I have worked with Chris Dallmus and Design Associates on three projects. The first one was a renovation of a summer home built in the 1800’s. I had such a great experience working with Design Associates that I used them to design two homes in Denver, Colorado. One of the great things about working with Chris is that he has your vision in mind. In my opinion, often times architects have a vision for a project and it becomes their vision and their project as opposed to yours. Chris really tries to help you realize your dreams and ideas while providing you with solutions that fit with the style and period of the home you are building or renovating. Design Associates also pays such close attention to detail. For example, our builder and sub-contractors had never seen such detailed drawings on the design and look that we were trying to achieve. Therefore you know you are going to end up with what you want. Another key element to the success of our projects was selecting the right builder. In both cases, Chris helped us choose the builders and as a result, there was always a great working relationship between the owner, architect and builder. We are extremely pleased with both our homes and would never consider using another architect other than Design Associates.”
“I’ve been working with Chris Dallmus and Design Associates since my very first This Old House project back in 1989–a timberframe barn. Since then–as show producer and now as independent consultant to homeowners–I’ve turned to the firm for sophisticated design, excellent listening skills, topnotch construction administration, and the best client-service work I’ve seen. When I was a client, DA always showed me elegant solutions I hadn’t thought of; now the clients I refer to the firm report the same excellent experience. No search for the right architect is complete without a stop at Design Associates.”
Bruce Irving, Renovation Consultant
“For several years before we had the good fortune to learn about, meet, and hire Chris Dallmus and the excellent team at Design Associates, we had struggled to come up with the right plan to rebuild, restore, and refurbish our nobly pedigreed but sadly neglected Federal house in Cambridge, not far from Harvard Square. The challenges we faced seemed almost insurmountable. Although the original three-story house, built in 1824, exuded a sense of history from almost every pore, it had been allowed to fall into a state of dishevelment and disrepair over the course of many decades by a series of quick-fix and no-fix owners. Even more problematic, several haphazard, architecturally inappropriate additions, slapped on in the mid-1900s, had left the house looking disconcertingly like a military barracks on the outside, while on the inside confusion reigned in a free-for-all of uninviting rooms, misaligned floors, staircases leading to nowhere, and bathrooms situated in bizarre nooks and passageways.
After floundering through a succession of dead-end design scenarios with another architect, we started meeting with Chris Dallmus in the spring of 2002. Chris is a good listener and a quick study, and his knowledge of and passion for historic house restoration were apparent from our first conversation. Thanks to his exceptional problem-solving talents and time-and-money-saving instincts for what will and won’t work, things rapidly began to fall into place. Before long, we had a felicitous conceptual scheme on the table that seemed to us both workable and winning.
Maureen and I will always be grateful to Design Associates for helping us achieve all of our major goals. Our house is now fully restored to its quintessential Yankee roots and stateliness; infrastructure and creature comforts have been brought up to twenty-first-century standards; and that cluster of clumsy additions has been replaced with a new structure that, in scale, design, and decorative language, both defers to and honors the original three-story Federal building. Above all, for the first time in nearly two centuries, the house has become a single, unified, thoroughly integrated edifice, in which the original three-story Federal building and the new addition can now live happily ever after in functional, structural, and aesthetic harmony.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of DA’s contributions to the ultimate success of our long and ambitious undertaking. The Boston Globe shelter magazine, Design New England, took note of them a couple of years ago in a glowing photo essay about the house entitled “American Beauty.” But perhaps the most gratifying compliment that has been paid so far to the wonderful team of architects, contractors, and craftsmen who worked on our project came from an unexpected source — Charles M. Sullivan, the long-time Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Commission. Mr. Sullivan, a man not usually given to superlatives (as far as I know), had this to say in an email to me shortly after the completion of the restoration: “I think this [house] has become one of the most significant and beautiful buildings in Cambridge.””