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Founding Principal Steven Varnum

My youthful interest in both art and science came together for the first time while standing (sopping wet, as it happened) in the university art gallery in college, looking at the work of senior BFA student with a concentration in Environmental Design. At the time I was an Ecology major, learning about the ways that we were changing the world around us, and wondering how to positively effect this change in a way that was a little more hands on. I was quite literally pondering that question when I read the phrase "Environmental Design", and I remember thinking "that's it!". From that moment I've been focused on creating both beauty and sustainability in all areas of residential design and construction.

After college I spent four years working for an architectural firm in Harbor Springs, Michigan, learning the practice of architecture, and developing my skills as a draftsman and designer while working on some truly remarkable cottages and homes. Nearly all of these projects were new construction, and whether new or not, were all meant to last for generations and so we remained always conscious of both timeless beauty and the long term health and durability of each structure. It was a great place to learn. After that I moved to Ann Arbor and began working for an architectural firm specializing in remodeling and renovation of existing homes. Here I learned not only the special attention that needs to be paid to existing structures when designing a renovation, but also the process of the design-build approach. This approach interested me, particularly for renovations and additions and after a few years I began to work directly for one of the builders in town before starting my own venture with the founding of Caddis Design in the fall of 2008.

Part of my intent in founding Caddis Design was to be able to offer clients the flexibility to use best practices learned directly from more than a decade of practice in a traditional architectural firm, a transitional design-build firm, and design work completed directly for the builder. Under each approach some projects flourished while others suffered, and choosing the right approach for each project will allow us to get the most productivity in of our design work while staying on budget. The rest of my motivation for founding Caddis Design was to get back to what I first set out to do; design beautiful, healthy homes.

Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to talk about your home, or would like consultation on a project that you've been thinking about.