Architect Spotlight: Parie Hines of LD Arch Design

Parie Hines is a local architect and owner of LD Arch Design. Her company is a green architecture firm in Seattle focusing on residential additions and remodels.

Can you tell us a little about your early career and background?

My “early career” was in learning languages and working abroad in England, France, Germany, and Japan. After meeting some influential architects I decided to pursue a master’s degree in architecture so that I could work towards sustainability in a field that would be both creative and challenging. After working in public architecture (schools and fire stations), I was selected for the Frederick Rose Architectural Fellowship and had an amazing opportunity to work with the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association on the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and the Croft Place Townhomes. Both projects have been used as national case studies – for arts and placemaking, and for greening of affordable housing. Since beginning my own firm in 2010, I have enjoyed participating in the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild’s Green Home Tour for two years, and at the 10x10x10 Green Building Slam. Designing efficient, beautiful, and sustainable buildings is my passion.

What about architecture is juicy for you?

There are a lot of juicy parts of architecture for me. I love meeting people and being let into their lives so that I can create spaces that work for them. I love being able to “fix” buildings – making them more beautiful, functional, healthy, and efficient. My focus is on remodels and additions because I like the tricky little details (although new buildings are rewarding too). And it is immensely satisfying to see ideas go from ephemeral to sketches to construction documents to reality. I love when clients are excited about and engaged throughout the design process. Really it’s a dream job for me.

Do you have a particular style that you tend to lean towards?

I would call my preferred style “casual green modern” – which is not so much about the style as the overall feeling of the spaces. I gravitate towards open plans, lots of natural light, and clean lines. These concepts can be part of a modern, craftsman, or other aesthetic, and my work often balances the details of the existing home with the desire to create space that fits well with modern lifestyles while honoring the history of the house and reusing as much as possible.

How do you approach sustainable building and remodeling?

My focus on remodels and additions is grounded in my belief that it is inherently the most sustainable to reuse an existing building. Sometimes houses are at the end of their useful lives, but there is more often an opportunity to extend the life of those houses and improve them for the next hundred years. I encourage my clients to focus on the infrastructure of the building (i.e. the less-than-glamorous things like insulation, windows, and HVAC systems) and to keep material choices simple, healthy, and sustainable.

Can you think of a recent project that you’re proud of where you were able to influence the way the homeowners live, play and grow in their home?

One of my favorite projects has been a West Seattle interior remodel, which involved opening up and updating the main floor of a 1950s view home, as well as targeted improvements at the basement level. The clients were a couple who lived separately but had been in a relationship for over ten years. They wanted to have space for independent activities, but the main reason they had not been able to live together comfortably was because their pets did not get along. So an important part of the design process was finding a way to keep the dog and cats separate, and to provide different options for living and playing spaces. Opening up the main floor also allowed them to entertain graciously, and upgrades to the windows and HVAC system provided better comfort and energy savings. The “icky” basement became a bright and cozy living space that opens to the garden, increasing the usable areas of the house without building anything new. After finally moving in together, they ended up getting married — and jokingly call me their marriage counselor. I love to go by for coffee and see how well the house fits their lifestyle.