Nicole Egan Ducar, Custom Home Architect
A few years ago, my oldest friend asked me to design a new house for her. There was a touch of déjà vu in the idea because, while best buds since about ten years old, I had already designed a house for her and she still had the drawings. This story gives credence to my response when people ask me when I knew that I wanted to be a home architect. I say, “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t.” It’s the only thing I ever wanted to be and I am grateful every day that it’s the job I do.
I married my husband John, also an architect, in 2005. Into the marriage he brought an irresistible temptation to many home architects: a dumpy house with a ton of potential. He sweetened the pot by being a willing partner with incredible skills and know-how to “do a lot of the work ourselves”, another siren’s song for home architects. And I went all in. Many years later, we are still working on our home together. And though I never expected it to take this long, it has been an invaluable education for me. It has made me a better home architect, showed me how to work more collaboratively with contractors, and helped me sympathize on a very real level with my clients.
Home Architects Philosophy
Designing a home is much more than just designing physical spaces. It is designing experiences, staging the rhythms of a family’s life and creating the backdrop for memories yet to be made. It’s creating the spaces where you want to host family holidays and celebrate life’s milestones. And, it is where you want to be at the end of a long day with people you love. I think design is most successful when it is informed by the family who will inhabit it and the designer weaves that which is unique to that family into what is designed especially for them, making it into good architecture.
Deciding to build a new house or remodel an existing home can feel daunting. In my experience, the best projects with the happiest clients at the end have basically three things in common: a good owner, a good designer and a good builder all performing in concert together, respecting what each team member brings to the process. I feel fortunate to work with Scott Simpson Design + Build because, right there, that is two out of three.
Home Architects: Nicole Egan Ducar Resumé
Nicole graduated with her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame in 1994, which was a particularly fortuitous time to be an architecture student at Notre Dame. These were the formative years of the school’s now well-known classical architecture curriculum and the students were witness to an inspiring rebirth of traditional design principles which have taken root and thrived there ever since. Those guiding principles form the solid foundation on which good design of all styles is based and are ever present in her work, adding value in tangible as well as many intangible ways.
Nicole began her career at Linda Grubb & Associates, a custom residential design firm in Barrington, Illinois. The work included new homes as well as remodeling and additions on many older and locally historic houses. It was always particularly rewarding to complete a project on a beautiful, older home where the new work seamlessly meshed with the old, making it hard to tell where the old ended and the new began.
In 2003, Nicole joined the office of Stuart Cohen + Julie Hacker Home Architects in Evanston, Illinois. During her eight-year tenure, she worked on many amazing new houses and extensive remodeling and additions along the North Shore and in Chicago.
Nicole welcomed twin boys in 2011 and subsequently began her own architecture practice. Her work includes custom residential projects, ranging from small remodeling and additions to new houses, from historic cooperative units in Chicago to single family homes on large suburban lots.
Starting around 2015, Nicole began collaborating with the Scott Simpson Design + Build team and it has been a collaboration in every sense of the word. Design benefits from the input of the builder and the build benefits from the input of the designer and beautiful architecture results, fitted to the family who lives in it.
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives, the cumulative experience of many masters of craftsmanship.”