PAUL MICHAEL DAVIS ARCHITECTS, PLLC

About Us


Based in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, architect Paul Michael Davis and his team provide design services for residential and commercial projects with a focus on innovative practicality.


PMDA is staking out a middle ground between northwest regionalism and global formalism. Our work is rooted in the practicalities of building in this region: deep roof overhangs to shed rain, big expanses of glass to bring in the scarce winter light, and showcasing local, natural materials. We love to think of these realities as opportunities to be innovative. As Paul Michael Davis explains, “I'm always looking for a source of rigor in the design process, something that's an added challenge: you've got the limitations from the site, limitations from the client, limitations from the budget, but really good architecture adds some other limitation, basically in the form of a concept or a goal. It's almost like a puzzle.”


Whether a project is in the rainy mountains of the Pacific Northwest, the wildfire-prone hills of Southern California, the concrete canyons of Manhattan, or the tropical environs of Florida, PMDA's work is as tailored to context as it is to our clients. Our work is distinguished by artful geometric resonance; each room inspires without demanding attention.


Since the office was founded in 2010, we have grown to an enthusiastic and skilled team of five. The firm's work has been profiled in Archinect, Dwell, Dezeen, and 360 Modern.


Our Team in our space at 1221 East Pike Street

An example of our design process: a physical study model for our Clyde Hill project

Paul Michael Davis


Before starting his own office, Paul gained several years of experience in internationally renowned architecture firms in Los Angeles and New York. While working in Frank Gehry's Los Angeles office, Paul developed advanced architectural concepts on projects including the Louis Vuitton Foundation museum in Paris. He has also been a member of the Interior Design faculty of Bellevue College.


Paul attended the University of Washington, earning two Bachelor's degrees in 2000, and a Master of Architecture in 2003. Paul is a registered architect in Washington State and a LEED Accredited Professional.


Graham Day


Project Manager/Designer


Graham attended the University of Washington, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. He graduated in 2000, and went on to attend SCI-Arc, where he earned his Master's of Architecture in 2006.


Graham regularly collaborates with Paul Michael Davis Architects and maintains his own practice, Day Design Studio.


Tiffany Chow


Tiffany graduated from Bellevue College in 2015 with a Bachelor's of Applied Arts Interior Design. That same year, she won the “Best in Show” award at Bellevue's Senior Capstone Exhibit.


Mariana Gutheim


Mariana graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism in 2011, and earned her Masters in Fine Arts from Tufts University in 2016. In 2014, Mariana was part of a student group that won “Best Overall Hack” at MIT Hacking Arts in Boston.


Contact


1221 East Pike Street 

Suite 300

Seattle, WA 98122  USA

(206) 890-9229


paul@paulmichaeldavis.com

Who We Are

Frequently Asked Questions About Architects in Seattle


How much does an architect cost in Seattle? 


You don't need to be rich to hire an architect.


Typically an architect will charge a fee based on a percentage of the total construction costs. A lot of firms charge up to 20% of the total project's budget in fees. Others are able to keep costs very low and charge a much lower rate.  Paul Michael Davis Architects' fees average 5-10%.  The way we do this is primarily through very low overhead costs.


Most architects, myself included, bill on an hourly basis.  Some will bill as much as $300 per hour for their services.  But, typically, the price of less skilled tasks such as drafting will cost much less.  If you plan to hire an architect, you should ask them for a total estimate of the services they propose to finish your project.  Some architects bill a higher hourly rate, and guarantee a maximum number of hours for a specific amount of work.  The danger to the client with this approach is that you will have to pay the very high hourly rate for any additional work--some of which you might have assumed was standard.  


Paul Michael Davis Architects bills a competitive rate for our services.  We prefer to give clients an honest estimate of the hours it will take to design their project.  This way, we have no incentive to do “extra work,” and thus burden you with unexpected fees.  

How much does it cost to build a house in the Puget Sound area?


Of course, the most accurate answer is, "It depends." 


However, there are some rules of thumb. Right now, if you want to build a custom house or major remodel, in the Seattle area you can expect to spend about $250-300 per square foot. So, if you want to build a 2000 square foot house in from the ground up, say, Bellevue, then you probably want to budget about $600,000, in addition to the cost of the land.  This "rule of thumb" is probably lower if you're planning a remodel of an existing home. 


Construction costs are surprisingly local.  Most contractors work in a small geographic area, and that creates very localized markets.  Building in the City of Seattle or its surrounding suburbs, where the economy is very strong, will be more expensive than building in most parts of the rural Puget Sound area.  Specific local factors  also effect construction costs.  Building a house on Lopez Island, for example, will be more expensive than one on Bainbridge Island because the only access to the former is via ferry.


A smart architect working with a client who knows what they want can work within any realistic budget to build an impressive, beautiful, liveable design.  The factors that go into that $250-300/SF guideline can always be tweaked to bring costs even lower, but it often takes a skilled architect to know where it makes sense to cut costs and where you don't want to mess around, especially in Seattle's climate. 


And, in a custom design, you should think long term.  Usually, investing a little extra up front in items like energy efficient appliances and heating systems, or in surfaces that will last longer in the Seattle climate, make good financial sense after about 5 years.  

How much does a modern house cost? 


Modern design does not necessarily cost more than traditional design. In fact, most of the "mid-Century modernists"-- Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph Eichler, Eames--believed that modern design’s best quality was it's affordability.  Why pay for Greek columns, colonial era decorations, or other materials which imitated past styles, when new, modern materials can make great spaces today?  


Charles and Ray Eames famously said that their design was about creating “the best for the most for the least,”  and many modern architects like me still follow that philosophy.  


Of course, modern design can be just as expensive as traditional design, depending on the materials a client selects and the level of craftsmanship involved.  But many of the greatest modern homes in history were affordable.  In general, the savings come in the form of standard, or “off the shelf” materials and systems, often used in creative or unexpected ways.  The Eames house, for example, used simple industrial materials and standard, exposed steel columns and beams.