John Einsiedler on Making Architecture Look Easy
Context is of the utmost importance to John Einsiedler, an architect based in Kennebunk. “You want the home to feel like it belongs in that landscape,” he says. Einsiedler explains to MH+D Inside Out that architects can innovate upon traditional design themes, but a house must function for those who live there, and it should feel like an essential part of its surrounding world.
Q. How do you interpret the traditional New England vernacular?
A. I definitely like the New England aesthetic, but I’ll do a range from colonial to shingle style. I always try to make it as contemporary as I can. Nowadays most people want a contemporary interior and a traditional exterior. Adding contemporary details makes it interesting for me; rather than just copying everything over and over, I can be a little more creative.
Q. How do you ensure that a house fits into its context?
A. I’m always working with scale and various elements to make it feel like it belongs in its setting. It should feel that the way the architect built the home is the only way it could be done. You want to make it look easy.
Q. What’s your design process like?
A. Typically, I make sure the floor plan is working first because people live in whatever that lays out. They don’t live in the elevation. I want the plan to be working, all the while thinking about the massing, and then I see if I can get it all to come together. When I’m designing a new house, I’m creating space from nothing. I start with a blank sheet of paper and the site, and it all needs to work somehow.
Q. A lot of your homes seem to have porches. What do porches contribute to a space?
A. Porches help the elevation. If I’m dealing with a blank wall on the house, porches provide movement and some interest. They also frame views when you’re looking from the inside out.
Q. Why did you become an architect?
A. To tell you the truth, I kind of stumbled onto architecture and thought it might be something that would keep me interested. And it has. Because people are different, every project is also different. It’s never the same thing day in and day out.
Our MH+D Inside Out series features interviews with creators from our community and gets inside some of the top minds in the design industry. Read on for their stories, tips, and sources of inspiration.