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House with dormer

Barry Senter

Barry Senter

After leaving Washington State University in 1972 with a degree in Sociology, Barry headed off to Olympia to be a social worker for two years, running a "drop in center" for at risk teenagers. From there he taught himself graphic design and left Olympia in 1981 to work in design groups in Seattle and finished that career in 1986 doing work for some of the largest companies in the northwest as well as winning design awards along the way.

In 1986 he fulfilled his childhood dream of designing houses by teaching himself architecture and interior design while creating an investment group and buying, designing, and remodeling houses. These desk and field experiences gave him an opportunity to garner clients and build his skills from there.

Coming into architecture and interior design through a different door than architecture school gives a different perspective to his approach. Design for Barry is the tool to get to the solution, not the end goal. "I love what I do and I relish delving into the complexities of designing a home for others. It's structural, aesthetic, technical, anthropological, financial, emotional, and psychological".


Remodeling is critical to community as it keeps families in their neighborhoods. These families create and maintain the bonds that we call neighborhood. We are seeing young families buying homes and remodeling them so they can stay put and raise their children. This is house as home, not investment.

Thoughtful and well integrated design, inside and out, adds value to the home and neighborhood as it takes into consideration important aspects: light, location, view corridors, neighborhood architectural composition, landscape, and commitment to being a long term structure in that neighborhood. Design is not a sunk cost but an added, long term, value for the quality of life and the value of the home.

To help an owner achieve this integration requires listening and asking questions. Many variables must be discussed: budget, expected time in the house; family goals; lifestyle; and review of the current conditions of the house. If you are staying in the house for 5 – 7 years because of family changes or job we design with certain criteria. If you are planning on living there indefinitely we design with another set of criteria.

Much can be done to an existing structure to give it new life. Sometimes it doesn't take much, other times it takes good design to revitalize and repurpose an existing space.

Home is sanctuary. There should be a sense of comfort, place, and order. How does your home make you feel? How would you like to feel? How well does your home work for you? What would you like to have that you don't have now? Evaluating and designing new structures and/or spaces requires holistic thinking in addition to good looking design.