Personal Background

Syncopated Architecture was founded by Serina Calhoun. After earning her Bachelor of Architecture from North Dakota State University in her hometown of Fargo, she relocated to the Bay Area joining a small firm in Burlingame—CSS Architecture. During her three plus years with them, she learned an invaluable amount about thoughtful and conscious building design and planning while working primarily on schools with an occasional single-family home. She then accepted a position with Levy Design Partners in San Francisco where she transitioned from working on schools to multi-family residential projects. In 2006 she completed all 10 required exams to earned her Architectural license in the State of California.

Serina has worked on a wide variety of projects including schools, single- and multi-family housing, commercial renovations and even high-rises. After projects of all different shapes, sizes and use types, she always grativates toward the more personal residential work and the relationships they foster.

Design Philosophy

We begin every project with a Client meeting, a tape measure, and a roll of trace paper. It’s our job to help you articulate what you want, what you need, and to help you give voice to those desires. It is not our job to impose my own wants and desires on your space.

In order to have a successful project it’s critical that our personalities mesh. Your project is very personal to you. It is your dream and your hard earned money. We will serve as a designer, but also a friend and sometimes a counselor. The design and construction process has a rhythm that we know well. We know when you will start to panic, wake up in the middle of the night, and lose faith. It’s part of our job to help navigate you around the sharp corners of the project. Because of the personal nature of this type of project, it is important that our personalities work well together and also important that we find a Contractor who also shares in your vision and will work well with the team. Again, it’s our job to help you find that person.

Design Style

We do not limit our designs to one exclusive style. We do not do strictly modern architecture, or strictly traditional. We will create space based on your wants and also in concert with your existing building/space if there is one. We tend more toward creating clean, simple lines, punctuated by accents of color, geometry, or volume, but every project is different and calls for a unique approach.

In the beginning of the process, we do all our sketches by hand. We will sketch out a preliminary plan with you at your kitchen table. Often, this becomes the bare bones of the final design. Personally; we feel that hand drawings are more tactile and easier to relate to than the hard lined, seemingly final feel of a computer generated plan.

Green Design

We believe strongly in sustainable design and will try to incorporate green elements into your project wherever possible. In a perfect world, every project we do would maximize sustainable technologies. In a real world, however, we recognize that many people aren’t willing to break the budget trying to be green. We will make recommendations about recycling building materials, efficient appliances, etc. when they make sense to your project but have realistic expectations about sustainable design elements.