L. Barry Davidson Architects Inc.
Leslie Barry Davidson, owner and founder of L. Barry Davidson Architects, has developed a reputation in the Houston area for designing homes that meet the needs of her clients while also reflecting clients’ personalities. Her firm is known for maintaining a highly custom attention to detail on every project, and those details are apparent in the materials and finishes she chooses, as well as how she responds to clients’ requests. In fact, Davidson is dedicated to delivering exactly what clients want, as long as the designs remain true to architecture.
“We always make it architecture,” Davidson says. “It’s not that we are slaves to history and we are not reproduction architects – we will do anything they want, other than deviating from the architectural style.
“We deliver well-thought-out proportions, fenestration and exterior and interior details,” she continues. “But everything stays on the same thread so the designs don’t become eclectic or non-authentic.”
She explains that if she designs a home in the style of an Italian villa, it’s not going to have English- or Victorian-style windows. The company is remodeling and adding to a historic home, designing a “very beautiful, authentic Georgian,” working on several apartments and high-rise condominiums, and updating a house it first designed 20 years ago. All of these projects are unique and none is like the next, but all of them remain true to their architectural style.
“All clients have very different personalities,” she says. “It can be challenging to work within the framework of all of the personalities, but we go at a pace they want and do what’s important to them. You can’t just ask questions, you also have to be a very good listener.
“Sometimes you have to spend a lot of time programming the house with a client at the start of the project, or sometimes they’ve thought about it too much and you have to shake them up. It’s also important to educate them all the time on products, finishes and natural materials. We start each project with as open a mind as we can muster and we go from there.”
‘Indebted to Clients’
Another part of keeping clients happy throughout a project is pairing them with the right contractor, Davidson stresses. Her firm is not financially connected to any contractor, but with more than 30 years of experience in the Houston area, she knows many well. She tries to suggest contractors that will be the best for each particular owner, and create matches where the contractor and owner are “extremely comfortable” with each other throughout the project.
“We stay with the owner throughout construction, but we still want them to be working with a contractor that fits their personality and their type of project,” Davidson says. “We really get to know our clients, and 99 percent of the time, to know them is to love them.”
The firm’s dedication to the clients as well as to the quality and authenticity of the design are the key aspects that bolster L. Barry Davidson Architects’ reputation in the Houston market. Davidson stresses that by doing only five or six projects each year, her firm is able to maintain this focus and continue to exceed clients’ wishes.
“We’ve stuck through several downturns and maintained a high-profile client list, and I am so proud of that,” she says. “We hang in there, meet our deadlines and work hard every day to do our best for our clients. I have never done a project that I’m not proud of, and the diversity of the work is exciting. I’m really just indebted to our clients for putting up with the long process of building a house for the sake of architecture with a capital A.”