Gary Volk, who is a licensed designer and artist, is the founder of Gary Volk Design, which is an extension of his 40 year career in the design/build business. He has a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in painting and drawing and has seven years of experience teaching college art and design. He has also taught basic design to architecture students. Mr. Volk has worked in the industry for 40 years with the best and most well-known architects and designers in the Pacific Northwest, and particularly in the greater Seattle metropolitan area and the surrounding communities. Some of these architects and designers include:
- Ibsen Nelson-known for designing Boeings Museum of Flight
- David Weatherford-famous and infamous Seattle designer
- Lamar Efaw-designer for the elite Seattle
- Stuart Silk-one of the most respected Sattle architects (Mr. Volk assisted with two of his homes)
- George Suyama-Seattle architect with a global reputation
Since 1984, Mr. Volk has completed more than 10,000 design and architecture jobs. His client list is truly a who's who in Seattle that includes:
- The Nordstrom family
- The McCaw family
- The Boeings
- Paul Shell
- Rich Komen
He is also a partner in the DP Palmer Company, which is a General Contractor capable of very high end residential and commercial remodels.
Along with his wife Diane, Mr. Volk founded Artists Unlimited. This is a non-profit organization with the mission is to provide a fine arts experience to developmentally challenged people. Unlike art as therapy, Artists Unlimited recognizes the unique perspective our artists have and encourages them to express themselves and create works that astonish their audience. Artists Unlimited has received national attention and our artists have earned their way to juried exhibitions.
As a designer, it is his job to listen carefully and collaborate with his clients. It is his intent to help them and encourage them to make bold decisions. Some of these decisions may have eluded them on their own. He doesn't thrust his tastes on anyone. He has no set design agenda and absolutely resists cookie cutter solutions. Calm design can be a desirable goal; but in most cases more is better. More color, more texture, more patterning is his mantra. Seattle clients seem terrifically afraid of color. A few years ago he did guest appearances on talk radio. One Sunday three hour call in show was all about color. The remarkable phenomenon was that there was so much interest that the average wait time for callers to talk with him about color (on the radio not TV) was 37 minutes. One listener heard the show at the airport while passing through Seattle and was so glad to find a design consultant that understood color that she cancelled her flight, drove to his studio and hired him to do her southern CA home. He enjoys helping his clients create specs that are literally life changing.
After a recent home renovation in the Laurelhurst neighborhood, the clients declared that the design and detailing that went into their remodel honestly and dramatically improved their marriage. That may sound like a stretch but being surrounded by an environment you jointly created and love must have a far reaching impact. His role often feels like design-therapist. The following is some of the philosophy that Mr. Volk believes in with regard to design and architecture.
A new architectural form is emerging all around the world. A progressive new architecture is being commissioned in order to promote undetermined, open ended un programmed, or lightly programmed interactions between people in public places. This new architectural phenomenon of Parasols, Pop Ups, and Pavilions is being overtaken by quickly changing social relationships that flow from social media that include Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. The nexus between virtual and real meeting is effectively being reinvented by creative and innovative architectural practices. People are meeting in new and responsive ways, architects are meeting their clients in new forums, and knowledge is met and achieved in new and interactive frames of mind. This contrasts starkly with the interactions that are commercially structured, such as shopping centers, and the ever increasingly deliberate interactions that are found in cultural institutions. These experiences attract a new kind of client; one who is self-helping, crowd funding, hacking, flocking, and casually engaged.
Architects seem to believe that it is very easy to be complicated, not only in design and architecture in general, but rather in all creative endeavors. Everything speaks the same language, fits together, and belongs.
The way that a house sits on its site will determine harmonious elegance of the house. A site with pine forests that has a height difference is a unique feature for a predominantly flat landscape that can be elegant. The architects should take full advantage of the location, which is often requested by the homeowners. Over the past five years, Gary Volk Design has worked with numerous commercial and residential property developers to help them with property strategy and development.
City councils and property developers have to wake up and take their influence on the cityscape seriously. This doesn't just apply to residential development; it also applies to all public buildings in general including hotels, and office buildings. The number one priority should be the aesthetics of the building. When the exterior of a building is something less than elegant, there isn't much sense in creating and promoting beautiful interiors. The entire building needs to tell a cohesive story.
So difficult to achieve is balance that it requires the property owner, architect, and the designer to know exactly where to stop. It is important to know what is just enough but isn't too stark; what is just right for the building, for the space and most importantly, for the residents. There is an overall sense of harmony and peace that is a luxury in itself when the building is simply breathtakingly lovely.
The same philosophy applies to the property's landscaping. Native plants manage storm water runoff, while also providing privacy and framing the views. The terrace, pathways, and outdoor seating can be made from the bluestone slabs excavated from the site. The primary material, American white oak can be used for built in furniture, ceilings, floors, and sliding panels indoors, in addition to glass. The impression from both outside and inside is that of tranquility and lightness, when the residence is lit at night. These are great qualities for a home. Pristine, freshly planned, and new are ideal attributes for new buildings.
These are some of the architectural philosophies of Gary Volk Design. Gary has over 30 years design and architect experience in the Pacific Northwest especially is the greater Seattle metropolitan area and surrounding communities. He manages many different home remodeling projects from the initial drawings to the detailed finishes. He partners with clients to create unique spaces that fit individual functional, lifestyles, and personal taste requirements.
We had an original and very outdated windows, gutters, downspouts and doors on our 1952 rambler. We hired DP Palmer as our contractor and were very grateful as some tricky issues arose- they were able to problem solve with expertise. Now that this renovation project is complete I want to tell you how pleased we are with the outcome as well as with the employees who were involved with us working onsite. Glen, Gary and Keynan were a great team. We will readily recommend DP Palmer to our neighbors and friends and would certainly use them for future projectsRob and Heather Ford
I would like to take a moment to review the work that Gary Volk and his crew did for my husband and me. Bob and I had been planning for a few years to replace the windows on the south side of our home. Both quotes that we got from the "big house companies" were really high and caused us to keep putting it off. We also had been trying to figure out a color to paint our home. The first time that Gary came over we felt that it might be possible to turn our poor shabby little house into the cute cottage that it deserved to be. His quote for just the south side was low and fair enough that we were able to replace all the windows around the house. He also helped in picking out a color for the trim and the body of our home. By the time that all was said and done I was able to get a new garage door, gutters and windows that open and are lovely for a very low and reasonable cost.
I plan on using Gary again for consultations when it is time to replace the flooring inside and paint my living room and dining room. With that said, my experience with Gary and his wonderful employees was the best I could have ever imagined from a contractor in the Seattle area. I would recommend to my friends and family. Actually, I already have.