Custom Home Architect, Beth DeBaker
I have always loved houses. Old ones, new ones, big ones, small ones. Part of loving houses is that they aren’t just walls and floors, they are homes. They are the encapsulation of life; all of its joy and messiness. When someone entrusts you with their home, they are entrusting you to create the backdrop of their lives. Where they will make breakfast on Saturday mornings, or rock their first grandchild. It’s not just sticks and bricks.
When I was studying architecture at the University of Illinois people often asked and classmates wondered aloud about the type of work and the style of architecture they wanted to pursue. I knew the path I was set on from a young age, and it only wavered slightly during all-nighters building painstaking models out of foam core and balsa wood. While I appreciate the grandeur of high-rise towers and majestic stadiums, architecture was always for me about a place to call home.
Early on in my career I was given a few tokens of wisdom I carry with me. The first was “Don’t pretend you know everything. Just say you don’t know the answer and call them back when you do.” And so I did. I didn’t know much so I asked a lot of questions of everyone in my professional sphere. As it turns out most everyone is proud of the work they do and happy to explain it to you. The second important thing that stuck with me was working on a collaborative team where “the best idea wins” and it doesn’t matter at all whose idea it is. Designing and building a house is not a one-person job. It’s a team that works together and tackles the daily challenges, whatever they may be, with both grace and good humor. Everyone has something to contribute and the hero of the day can be any of us.
Beth DeBaker Architecture Resumé
In 2000, Beth DeBaker received her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She began her career with Orren Pickell Designers and Builders, focusing on residential new construction throughout the North Shore, as well as vacation homes in SE Wisconsin and SW Michigan. Beth worked as a project designer and moved up in the ranks to Associate Principal before leaving in 2009 to start her own practice.
In 2003, Beth became a licensed real estate broker to expand her knowledge and contribute more fully to the design and build process. In 2010 she completed her exams and became a Licensed Architect in the State of Illinois and in 2016 became Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional [LEED-AP©] with a specialty in homes, continuing to broaden the spectrum of her knowledge. Beth has volunteered since 2008 for the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust as an interpreter for the annual WrightPlus House walk and is active in Glenview AYSO as a coach, referee, and board member.
Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.