Kevin Buckby and Jo McKinlay

Testimonial from Kevin Buckby and Jo McKinlay

“We began working with Russ and Wencke in early 2014 when we retained them to design our dream home and we’ve been thrilled with them through every step of the process. Russ and Wencke are both thoroughly decent people who care deeply about their work and their clients, and through the journey of building our home they have been a joy to work with.

We came to Russ and Wencke with our vision for a 3,000 sq’ custom home to be designed in the style of a modern farmhouse barn. We interviewed many architects and were surprised by how few had the versatility to design a home outside of the conventional cookie-cutter modern style. Russ and Wencke stood out as truly creative, and from the outset they were passionate about our vision and the challenge of making it a reality.

Russ’s knowledge of the planning and permit process was invaluable in helping to manage the process, both with local agencies but also with neighbors in our community. As a result we passed planning first time, with no amendments and with the full support of everyone in our neighborhood, which was extremely important to us. In fact, at the conclusion of the city planning meeting each member of the commission took the opportunity to commend the design of our home.

Our good fortune in finding Russ and Wencke to design our home ran dry when we chose a general contractor against Wencke and Russ’ advice who quickly proved to be out of his depth and as a result became hostile and divisive. In what became a very difficult working environment Russ and Wencke showed incredible patience, grace and poise in dealing with a very toxic personality, and always without complaint. Eventually we terminated our GC and began working with the contractor who Russ and Wencke initially recommended, who has proven to be awesome.

As the house began to take shape Russ and Wencke have always been available to troubleshoot questions that come up on site, or work with us on the small design flourishes that define a custom home. The small things that individually seem trivial are, collectively, what create the overall impression of something unique and special, and it’s in these details that Russ and Wencke truly excel. Their creativity, instinct for how things should come together and their impeccable taste have been essential in helping us achieve our dream.

Working with a husband and wife team has been a great experience. We are building a dream home where we intend to raise our family, so having an architect team who are married and can relate to us and anticipate the needs of our family as it grows has enabled us to create elements in the house we would have never considered.

Building a house has been an intense experience and along the way we have met many different people, but Russ and Wencke stand head and shoulders above them all for their professionalism, creativity, commitment to achieving the best outcome and for being true partners on our journey. Our home is beautiful and beyond what we could have dreamed was possible. If you’re in the Bay Area and considering working with Dotter & Solfjeld you are welcome to visit and see for yourself…just ask Russ and Wencke and we’re happy to host you.”

Kevin Buckby
September 2016