You may have caught Dave Spetrino, president of PBC Design+Build, in the latest episode of “My Houzz,” when skateboarder Tony Hawk enlists his help for a special renovation. We talked with Dave to learn more about his building philosophy, where he finds inspiration and his favorite parts of the My Houzz renovation – check out what he had to say below.
What is your building philosophy?
Some days it feels like the world is against you when you’re designing, budgeting and then constructing a home. I know it’s not rocket science or brain surgery but for most clients, what we do for them is about the most money and effort they’ll ever expend. It’s a worthy challenge.
With any project you’re committed to delivering on quality, schedule and budget – all equally important components to a successful project, but never willing to cooperate with one another in reality.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself: Is this “place” better because of our hard work? Does it feel good? Are our clients smiling? Am I smiling? Do I deserve a milkshake? As long as the answer continues to be yes, I’ll continue to show up the next day.
Where’s the most unexpected place you’ve found inspiration?
Travel has been a tremendous benefit. I can’t go anywhere without seeing something within the built environment – from any country or century – that doesn’t have an effect on me.
What trend are you most excited about right now?
I’m not much of a ‘gadget guy’ but I am continually impressed with what technology, mobile apps and intuitive features are doing for home building right now. The benefits of technology and the speed with which they are being implemented into construction will continue to benefit our clients, and it’s only getting better and better with time.
What are clients asking you for?
The whole point of custom home building is to allow your client to set their dreams in your hands and then trust you to deliver. It’s a serious role to take on and the ability to translate that information into something tangible is an art.
It’s more than features or finishes, what our clients are really asking us for is to guide them, use our knowledge to help them make good decisions, and prevent them from missing an opportunity to do something great.
What do you geek out on when it comes to design/construction?
I am such a sucker for light fixtures. I think they’re the hardest detail to commit to – it’s probably why I push a lot of clients to concealed or can lights and then limit the number of decorative fixtures to the most compelling places within a home to keep them from feeling overwhelmed.
You can set the entire ‘vibe’ of a home with a sconce or chandelier – a light fixture can create a conversation or set the mood as soon as you walk into a space. Light is powerful, and that mode of delivery cannot be understated.
What is one of your design secrets/ tricks?
There are always a couple of “cheats” where we seem to get more from a design without having to put too much of our budget toward a feature. This usually comes from our designer who will choose a special element within the design and celebrate it. Sometimes it’s well defined symmetry or an interior connection that extends to the exterior. Other times it’s just the use of a detail that has meaning to our owners.
Basically, the secret is just being thoughtful about how your client may better appreciate a space well after you’ve moved on to the next project. That’s really the best way to leave your ‘mark.’
What’s your favorite building or space in the world?
Maybe it’s my lust for travel or a nostalgia of sorts but I love train stations. New, old, repurposed into a museum, I can’t get enough of these iconic buildings. The ceiling heights, ornamentation, the elegant organization of moving people from space to space within a building, I’m continually transported in both space and time!
Going to Omaha? Visit the Durham. Going to Paris? Don’t miss the Orsay!
What did you enjoy most about this particular project?
We loved meeting the family. They were amazing in all the right ways.
They trusted this specific process (move out and don’t ask questions!) and they were genuinely grateful and truly overwhelmed at the reveal.
Kerry’s reaction was the best! It was the moment where “it all came together.” It is an amazing feeling to make a difference in someone’s life and the joy from Kerry permeated to everything. It really is unlike anything we’ve ever done before professionally and it felt good to be a part of that happiness.
But don’t get me wrong, meeting Tony Hawk was incredible! He is so cool. Did I mention Tony and I are friends?
What is your favorite element in the space from this project?
There are some really cool features within Brad and Kerry’s home that became the ‘bookends’ for the renovation. In many ways the farm table became the centerpiece for the whole house – not just as a piece of furniture but in what it represented to the family as the centerpiece for the way they live.
Also, the ability to re-purpose some of the existing elements. The reclaimed wood and the sliding barn doors within the new living room. I love seeing ‘something old and something new’ in such a personal project like this.
Chrissy Bonney, our Interior Designer at PBC, was completely in tune with Kerry’s vibe. The family spends a lot of time together and the house was somewhat disjointed; an open concept was introduced to allow the main living area flow easily into the kitchen.
When you’re not designing, where can you be found?
I really enjoy being on the move, traveling and exploring new places. A lot of our adventures start with the need to see a historical building or even a compelling neighborhood. It’s not just to experience the architecture, I love seeing how other communities (or cultures) live, manage or adapt to their environment.