“We worked with Steven on our whole-house remodel and rear addition project. We appreciate that he listened carefully to our goals, discussed with us different use scenarios for our house (e.g. when guests visit), and provided a number of creative design options to find just the right arrangement of rooms and the exact room dimensions to serve our needs and goals. He also discussed with us items that we could address to save on his fee, handled the permit approvals process efficiently, helped us select a general contractor, and visited regularly during construction to check on the progress and quality of work and to keep us updated. The project had many, many details to address, so having Steven’s attentiveness throughout the project was very valuable to us. Now, a few years after the end of construction, we continue to feel as we did at the end of construction: We wouldn’t change anything about the design! We highly recommend Steven for architectural services.”
Rosanna and Michael A.
“My wife and I hired Steven to provide us architectural plans for a complete interior remodel of our flat located in the Cow Hollow District of San Francisco. Steven was extremely helpful, considerate and responsive to our needs. In fact, before we even began the project, we expended literally months with Steven as he helped us put our vision of what we wanted our home to reflect into a beautiful set of plans.
Once the plans were approved, Steven diligently worked with my wife in selecting the various finish materials used to complete our home. To this day, we cannot get over how beautiful our home turned out. We are completely satisfied with the services of Steven and would eagerly refer him to anyone who needs an architect.”
“My project was complicated and required an extensive approval process, including a variance. Steven worked closely with me to create an elegant design solution, and he diligently navigated the maze of required approvals. I was particularly impressed with his tactical and thorough approach; he received written approval from the building and planning departments on key aspects of the proposed work prior to developing his drawings. This foresight proved critical when a plan checker challenged an aspect of the design — and was overridden by the prior written approval. I also appreciate that Steven participated in the project from start to finish and that he was flexible with his design, skillfully adapting it to changes during the process. The quality and extent of his services in relation to his fee was a tremendous value. I’m very grateful that Steven was my architect for this project and I wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone in need of architectural services.”
“Our experience with Mr. Whitney spans about 12 years, beginning with a comprehensive rehabilitation of our 1908 home that included a substantial addition pushed out in the rear of the home. He then designed a bathroom remodel sometime later, then finally a tile design for the kitchen that had been pushed out in the rear of the home. Mr. Whitney was knowledgeable about what is permissible to be accomplished with a vintage San Francisco home so as to always find polite ways to counsel us regarding what we could find practical success with, with the San Francisco Planning Department, but to still approximate our wishes as best as possible, and always finding creative ways to satisfy our wants. For example, he found ways of preserving the existing Late-Victorian-transition-to-Craftsman-period details but while accomplishing a complete and utter, yet “under-the-skin”, thrust of our home into the 21st Century (e.g., CAT5 throughout, modern plumbing and electrical services, etc.). We would otherwise have been lost in locating sources of the exact materials to accomplish this, as well as introductions to craftsmen who went about the rehab with skill and who he helped to finish the work in a timely fashion. Now, several years later, we remain thrilled with Mr. Whitney’s designs for our home and, therefore, completely unmotivated to make any more changes. We’ll stay in this home forever as we know it, and much of our satisfaction is due to Mr. Whitney’s extraordinary architectural, “people” and managerial skills. We recommend his services without any reservations.”
Nancy Z. and David N.
“My partner and I hired Steven to do a feasibility study for a top-floor addition for our house. We began the process by familiarizing him with the property through a detailed walkthrough. The walkthrough included a discussion of the sloped floor of our living room and the cracked 10′ retaining wall on the downhill side of our sloped property, and Steven suggested prioritizing the repair or replacement of the retaining wall and the possible foundation work prior to going forward with the top floor addition, to safeguard our house. We took his advice and got a structural engineer, a soils report, and eventually a contractor. The retaining wall was in worse condition than it appeared and significant problems were avoided for us and our downhill neighbors by replacing it when we did, the new foundation was designed for the possible future top floor addition, and the repairs included leveling our living room floor. Our goal of a house addition wasn’t lost in this process: we ended up doing an interior remodel of the front portion of the ground floor, which was previously an under-utilized garage area for storage and utilities, to add a bedroom, bath and laundry closet. The whole process involved many brainstorming sessions with Steven, at each stage he invited our feedback, and together we decided which ideas would be integrated into the next project step – a true collaboration. He was very creative, careful, and helpful throughout the entire process. My partner and I are so happy that we found Steven, we couldn’t be happier with the finished project, and we feel indebted to him for his meticulous work. I would eagerly refer him to anyone who needs an architect.”
“Steven somehow manages to translate what you want into physical form, without hassle and with great economy. He is the master of the elegant solution.”
“Steven Whitney is the best architect we’ve ever worked with, and we’ve worked with others on other projects. We redid the facade of our house and converted some outside space to inside living space. Steven is great because he consults with you every step of the way. He knows how to work with the city, and is good at managing all the parties involved.
Steven guides you and constantly consults with you while also coming up with a unique design and vision. He is thorough and balances design with practicality. As an example, we wanted a certain look to our facade. He worked with us on selecting materials and windows that would withstand the elements, while at the same time being mindful of our budget. He helped us select items such as house numbers and even a mailbox, and gave his feedback on what aspects to consider in selecting each item. Steven will consult with you and get as detailed as you need him to get.
Steven also worked with the San Francisco city planners and came up with a solution that avoided triggering a variance. Our project involved converting outside balconies into inside living space, and the design was such that in the end city agreed to not require a variance. This saved us time and money in permits and extra approvals processing.
Finally, Steven works well with contractors and all parties involved to ensure that the project moves forward. Our contractor had feedback during the construction process, and Steven worked with him to adjust certain aspects of the plans to move our project along without compromising the design.
We are happy with our remodel, and we now live in a nice and more comfortable house thanks to Steven. We highly recommend Steven Whitney and will work with him again.”
“Steven Whitney is the Architect we selected for the installation of an elevator in a multi-unit apartment building in San Francisco that services only 1 unit. There were multiple stumbling blocks and challenges in the permit process that would not have been resolved without his professional effort. I would highly recommend him and his services to be the architect to use in any construction project. “
“I very much enjoyed working with Steven Whitney. I added a deck to the back of my house and installed large sliding doors to create an indoor-outdoor living space. Steven had exciting input on the project and improved my ideas in every step. He was very familiar with City codes and regulations and made the approval process a lot smoother. Most of all he is a great communicator and is able to coordinate the work with the different parties involved and as such avoiding many headaches for me.
I have never worked before with an architect so dedicated to his work. He answers to emails within a few hours, and often within minutes. That includes weekends. He is in ongoing communication with you about process of the project and continues to give valuable input during the construction phase. He knows a lot of professionals in the City and that can make a huge difference when you run into obstacles, and can help with selecting materials as he is familiar with the vendors landscape in the Bay Area.
Steven is very detail oriented. Initially I found this overwhelming – but as I became more familiar with building regulations in San Francisco, I certainly enjoyed his dedication to my project and the small details he pointed out which in the end contributed a lot to the beauty of the finished project.
He is very mindful of pricing – another aspect I found most helpful. He pointed out early on, what costs would be if I decided to change designs, like decreasing the number of support columns for the deck. He helped in getting quotes from contractors and outside inspectors and when he found them too high, and helped negotiate costs.
I am very happy with every detail of the work and will hire him for my next project. I can highly recommend Steven Whitney without any reservation.”
“My next door neighbor decided to remodel by building up. I knew this would negatively impact my home and living condition. The thought of no longer being able to see the sky, of losing the sunlight streaming into my dining room, bedroom and bathroom through all the windows which will be blocked as a result was very distressing.
I attended the neighborhood pre-application meeting where I met Steven. He was one of the volunteer architects for the Miraloma Park Improvement Club (MPIC). Steven struck me right then as someone who is sensitive to people. He was quick to notice of my anxiety, and even took time to propose a reasonable modification to the project plans right then. I went to the meeting that evening feeling lost and helpless, and left feeling validated and hopeful. Months later, the notice of the building permit application and project plans came in the mail. I was so anxious again. Thankfully, Steven had given me his card with instructions to feel free to contact him when this notice comes. Although he was no longer a volunteer at the MPIC, Steven was very welcoming and expressed willingness to help when I sought him out at his office.
Steven not only made me feel very comfortable quickly but also gave assurance that everything regarding my main concern will be looked at. He came by the next day, toured my house, made notes, and on the same evening helped compose an e-mail letter for the SF Planning Dept. What followed next, with his generous time and help, were subsequent e-mails made back and forth with the neighbor’s architect. In the process Steven always took time to explain, and made clear in the communication e-mails as well, the many aspects involved in the project; from the MPIC Guidelines, the blueprints, to the technical details that could easily intimidate a lay person but he somehow capably and very patiently was able to help me understand. Steven made and explained suggestions as to what design changes I could ask for to minimize the impact of the project on me. All the while, he always pointed out negotiating for the mutual benefit of both parties; of being considerate and cordial; civility, and to remember to be good neighbors.
Seniors get stressed easily, I would say. And yet I found the entire process stressless throughout, from the first contact with the SF Planning Dept., to communicating with the neighbor’s architect, to the completion of the negotiations for adjustments. I’m satisfied with the design changes that were negotiated, in spite of knowing there still will be considerable blocking of natural lighting through the many windows on my side of the house. What mattered is that my concerns were addressed, adjustments to the plans made, and the impact of lighting loss and preserving privacy to my living situation minimized as much as possible. All this was made possible, and smoothly, because Steven was there to help and ensure they were addressed in the project plans. Steven’s guidance and advise reflected his professionalism, competence, thoroughness, responsiveness, civility, gentleness; everything that makes the difference between a cordial or a contentious outcome in a process of this nature. As a volunteer, Steven gave generously of his time and effort, regardless. If only people have this perspective of goodness and grace in every action they take… I can only imagine.
Needless to say, to anyone who needs an architect with style, who values and demonstrates professionalism, integrity, competence, sensitivity, timeliness, it’s Steven in a heartbeat for your high satisfaction and peace of mind.”