Marcy Townsend and Sara Whicher feel fortunate to have launched Chisel Architecture in 2019. “Home is changing and patterns are changing,” they explain. “As we listen to homeowners talk about how they want their new home or remodel to support the way they live, we know that priorities have really shifted.” This time has also allowed the duo to further develop Chisel’s trademarked approach to design, Pattern of Life.
Pattern of Life is an approach that both Townsend and Whicher have used throughout their architecture and design careers that centers the process around a homeowner’s well-being. “The conversations we are having with our clients right now are really important, because we are all venturing into new concepts surrounding our homes at a scale that we never could have predicted,” they add.
Homeowners with young children are reimagining their at-home work and study spaces. Empty nesters are amping up their outdoor spaces with social distancing in mind. And those nearing retirement or who are already retired are reallocating travel funds to make their home or second home suitable for extended family for an extended period of time.
The Pattern of Life process consists of three phases: inspiration, design and lifestyle. Every phase creates imagery, language, conversations and tasks unique to that stage. “We’ll cultivate a thread starting with the inspiration stage and string it all the way through to lifestyle,” notes Whicher. “It’s highly rewarding as designers when we see the homeowner experience the continuity of creativity from start to finish.” Here, they take us through the Pattern of Life process.
The Pattern of Life Process
Clients often look to external sources like magazines and Pinterest for home inspiration and bring a collection of images gathered perhaps over years to the first meeting. Townsend and Whicher flip that practice by asking homeowners to describe what inspires them in their daily lives, seeking clues in objects and the history that surrounds them. This helps set aside any preconceived ideas and shifts the experience to be more emotional and sensory, which is where the inspiration begins.
Throughout the design phase, the Chisel team creates a language, shapes imagery and forms a story that illustrates the possibilities for the project through hand drawings and sketches. “There’s something imaginative about putting pencil to paper,” says Whicher. “It keeps the design process fluid and allows for more homeowner insight. The result is innovation and creativity.” At the completion of this phase, the inspiration is translated into a tangible design that is used as a resource heading into production.
After the design phase and before the completed project, the lifestyle phase is a time to sort out every detail and tackle any problem solving that may need to occur. “For the Pattern of Life approach, we really circle back with the homeowners as we’re nearing a project’s completion and after they’ve lived in their home for a while,” notes Townsend. “It’s a chance for us to hear how the initial thread of inspiration that is woven throughout the home has come to life for them.”