There aren't very many architects these days who still rely on a drafting table as one of their principal tools. As in so many other professions, everything is computerized now.
That's not the case with Jeff Roberts, however.
"I never got into computers until recently," he says. "I'm kind of a dinosaur. I'm waiting for it to go full circle, where people say, 'I want to have somebody actually draw it on a piece of paper with a pencil.'"
That hands-on approach and attention to detail typifies Roberts' work. He specializes in high-end custom homes and remodels. His impressive portfolio includes homes in Ruby Hill, Golden Eagle Estates, Carriage Hill, and other custom residential projects, including homes for athletes like basketball's Chris Mullin and baseball's Greg Jeffries.
He works in a number of different styles, depending on the tastes of his clients.
"I try to be true to whatever architectural style I'm going to be using, to research it if necessary to create an historically accurate style with the right balance of elements and proportion," he says. "That's really what design is about, balance and proportion to create the house so that it gives you the feeling that you want it to convey."
The feeling that a home provides whether it's formal or casual, trendy or traditional can be influenced by architectural elements, Roberts says.
"You try to provide a detail or a material that can be seen as you go from the front door into the house, through the house and out the back door," he explains. "I think that's a nice way to give a person a sense of cohesive design throughout the house without it being too loud.
"It's almost as if there's an unconscious recognition of the design that gives you that zen peace of mind, where you don't know why but it makes you feel good."
He feels fortunate to be able to work on custom homes because they offer the opportunity to create unique designs for each project.
"Custom homes fall on a specific lot, and that generates the plan of the house: whether it's on a hillside, whether you've got neighbors right behind you, whether you've got a narrow lot. I like my buildings to feel like they grow from the ground."
While his focus is on residential properties, he's also worked on other projects.
"In 1997, I had an opportunity to work on a golf course project in China," he says. "I helped them design their golf club building as well as the villas that were spread out along the course. The landscape architect was based in Australia, so I communicated with him via fax."
Roberts can be reached at (925) 469-9100.
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