Park City designer makes his visions come to life
February 6, 2015
Having designed homes for 18 years, Bill Van Sickle has found passion in the creativity his craft demands. He is fulfilled by the process of taking an idea and turning it into a home.
But what he enjoys most about his profession is something much more personal.
"It’s about interacting with the customers," Van Sickle said. "I mean, I like the look on their face after I give them a set of plans and say, ‘This is what you told me you wanted, and this is my interpretation of that.’ There have been a few times when I’ve hit that right on the head, and they saw that and they got emotional. They can see themselves living in that space, and when you see that look on their face, it makes it pretty awesome."
Van Sickle, who owns Van Sickle Design & Drafting, recently moved his office to Park City from Holladay. Though he’d been designing homes in some capacity in Park City for several years, he said the move allows him to better connect with clients — something he’s built his philosophy around.
Where other architects sometimes have the tendency to prioritize their own visions for homes over what their clients want, Van Sickle prides himself on ensuring clients love the end result. After all, they’re the ones who have to live in the homes. That trait has allowed his business to flourish.
"A lot of different builders come to me and say, ‘I have a client who needs someone like you, who’s mild-mannered and who’s willing to listen to them and help them through the process,’" he said. "I get a lot of high-maintenance clients, which because of the way I work with people it’s easy for me to deal with them, but they’ve had trouble with other people."
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That customer-first mentality is not always easy to maintain. Having designed homes for nearly two decades, Van Sickle has expertise that most clients simply cannot replicate. But that doesn’t stop them from occasionally insisting on design elements that he cautions against. Even then, he does his best to accommodate them.
"Sometimes clients want things that you know are probably not the best use of the space or the most cost-effective way of doing something," he said. "And sometimes you just have to compromise and give it to them. But from a design standpoint, you want to make sure that crazy idea is incorporated to flow with the rest of the house as cleanly as possible. That’s the challenge."
Designing a home typically takes Van Sickle four to six weeks. He specializes in several different styles and has designed homes across the architectural gamut — from mountain rustic to modern contemporary. 3D rendering software allows his designs to take shape before his eyes, showcasing the details that make each home unique. And it’s that — the variety in each project — that helps keep his passion stoked.
"I’ve worked in the cookie-cutter industry side of building homes," Van Sickle said. "It wasn’t terrible, but there’s just not a lot of creative outlets. What I like about the custom home market is it’s something different every day. There are different challenges based on what the client’s needs are and what the lot looks like."
That the custom home market is constantly shifting toward new ideas and trends adds another challenge for Van Sickle as he tries to provide customers with the best possible product.
"I’m a perpetual student of architecture," he said. "It’s one of those things that’s always evolving. It’s almost like the clothing industry. You see this evolution of clothing, and it’s the same with architecture."
Van Sickle Design & Drafting
2065 Sidewinder Drive
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