Firm Profile: Peter B. Harmon, AIA Planning+Architecture

Sadly Peter HarmonAIA passed away in April. Please see page 10 for more about him.

Peter has eschewed the “design for design’s sake” philosophy and instead approaches each project as a solution to a problem—the problem of living in the case of residential projects. He looks at how clients actually live, think and act—not just how they believe they do. And therein lies the crux of Peter’s approach to design: “My favorite part of each project is getting to know the clients—not just on a superficial level but to reach inside of them and to think as they think. This way the design can evolve to meet their actual lifestyle and dreams. Often this leads t o creative nuances both to the program and finished design unforeseen by the now appreciative client.”fp

This approach requires frequent meetings with clients and in-depth discussions. At times it requires almost acting as a marriage counsellor to reconcile differing spousal opinions, uncovering the design wishes of a disinterested silent partner or understanding other aspects of human nature intrinsic to a successful design. Peter opines, “It’s really exciting when it all comes together and the project takes on a life of its own and evolves naturally. I almost feel like an observer but the architect’s hand moves effortlessly in accord with the spirit of the project.”fp2

This month, Peter B. Harmon, AIA, Architecture + Planning is pleased to feature a few of their recent kitchens! These projects demonstrate a wide variety of design—from historic to traditional to contemporary. All are portions of a larger design program, but required specific design thought, since most clients hold their kitchen up as both a show place and as a practical indication of how they work in that space. Each is reflective of their owner.fp3

1) addition/remodel to an 1860’s era home in Alamo
2) addition/remodel to a 1920’s home in Walnut Creek
3) traditional design to an early 70’s home in Danville
4) contemporary kitchens to a late 70’s home in Danville
5) contemporary kitchen in a new home Eldorado Hills

Peter’s projects are primarily in Contra Costa County but fp4he has completed numerous residential projects in the Green Valley, Sacramento foothills, Incline Village and an un-built but approved residence on a 10-acre bluff over-looking the Pacific Ocean in the Santa Barbara area. In addition to residential work Peter has designed several projects for religious organizations, over eighteen fast food restaurants and numerous tenant improvement projects. The firm’s projects have been published in magazines, newspapers and books, featured on Home Tours, filmed for a pilot cable series on unique homes and received awards for excellence in design from public agencies.fp5

His projects also extend to the Green Valley area of Solano, Eldorado Hills, Lake Tahoe and Montecito. Currently, his firm is just finishing a year-long addition/remodel project in Concord and is just getting started with construction drawings for a new home in Lafayette as well as another addition/remodel in the same town. “I enjoy the challenge of each new project!” says Peter.

What is a crucial aspect of each successful project? “I’ve formulated an excellent design team. My longtime engineering consultant, Dale F. Jones, SE, has worked with me for over twenty years. During that time I’ve found no design is impossible. Frequent designers include Dempsey-Newport for lighting and most recently Adeeni Design Group of San Francisco for Interior Design. Contractors include Young & Burton and Tassajara Construction of Contra Costa and Grendahl Construction in the Sacramento area.”

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