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The Residential Designer and Her Views

On Other Designers ] Favorite Styles ] [ What's Popular ] Design Philosophy ]

The following is an excerpt from a feature article about Cynthia Leif, which appeared in an issue of Archikonst Magazine. Reprints available upon request.

What's Popular

I don't think there should be a very popular style. A designer should have his own style and have the courage to fight for his individual vision of beauty.

It's no excuse to say that your client won't like it. Educate them. Guide them. It's not easy nor safe, and surviving as a designer is difficult, but it must be done. We do not want to produce bland, homogenous neighborhoods devoid of personality.

The aesthetic sensibility in the late '90s very much responds to popular appeal, never daring. At the moment, the traditional/ Colonial style is very visible.

If you drive through a residential development, you could get lost because there are no landmarks. So many houses have been built with the same architectural style of clapboard sidings, double-hung casements, and massive garage roofs.

Advice To Young Designers

I would advise young designers to be courageous. There is always a reward for creativity. 

 My clients appreciate the value of good design. Creative design is a credit to both designer and owner. They should tell their clients that the home they build is a monument to who they are.  

So speak of art and beauty. If they are Philistines, speak of resale value in a market full of cookie cutter homes. You won't always win, but fight the battles. It's worth winning!




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Ladera Ranch (Orange County), CA 92694
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