Neal Forney, chief designer for Ingleside Builders, loves to design new houses. He designs and builds a beautiful house that will suit any family.
He likes major renovation too, partly because he enjoys the challenges of working with an existing structure to create something beautiful and livable.
“Remodeling is fun,” says Neal Forney, “because we take a house that is completely substandard by today’s standards and tailor it to fit its owners perfectly.”
The first walk-through, Neal says, is sometimes surprising. “What were they [the original builders] thinking?” and “this was probably great – 30 years ago” are lines that run through his mind before he gets to the fun part. “I use my design skills and philosophy to discern what will make this the perfect house for my customer.”
Neal has an uncanny gift for sizing up a space in a matter of minutes. He was born with a real three-dimensional sense for space and has knowledge and experience to see pretty quickly what will work.
Key elements of his design philosophies, beyond the technical requirements of a solid foundation and dry house, are
- How do you move through the house? From room to room? through doorways? Where do you enter the house to bring your groceries to the kitchen?
- Where is the light? “No one wants to walk into a dark room,” Neal says. “How many times have I gone to a consultation, and had the family say ‘we need more family space.’ During the tour I see they have a beautiful family space – but there’s no sunlight.
“I remember one time I walked into an unused den and I said ‘if only there were a window here’ – and realized that there was a window in the perfect spot, only it was covered with heavy drapes. I uncovered the window and discovered the perfect den.”
- How do you want to live? Do you have kids? Do you entertain and need flexible space for guests? What about out-of-town guests? Multi generations?
“Most of my customers work really hard and I take that into account,” he explains. “They work long hours — many travel — and they want to come home to a house where it is easy to be comfortable.”
Home office space is a priority, close to family action but quiet, too.