Inspired by the power of design
Since 1982, when he earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Idaho, Kevin Spence has designed everything from museums, libraries and university buildings to stunning, single family homes—winning awards and being featured in prestigious publications along the way. He has even designed improvements for Pearl Jam’s Seattle offices (yes, some bands are so successful they require offices).
But Kevin’s connection to architectural design begins long before the heyday of grunge; it extends all the way back to the 1960s, when his parents dreamed of building a new house better suited to their family of five and more inspired than the 1950’s builder house they currently lived in. His father, an engineer, spent nearly a year designing and drawing plans. He was crushed when he took his ideas to a contractor and discovered that his design was not suited to the challenging hillside lot. Nor was it affordable.
A new path
Enter architect Ray Otero who would not only design the perfect house for the Spences, but who also would inspire 11-year-old Kevin to move beyond his kid-dreams of becoming an astronaut or a professional baseball player.
“In 1969, when three astronauts made a round-trip to the moon, I watched Ray translate my parents’ dreams into our new home. The fascinating process of both designing and building was as compelling to me as the Apollo 11 mission,” Kevin says. “From that summer on, I knew I wanted to become an architect and help guide people through the exciting and rewarding design and construction process that I witnessed. To help people bring their house dreams to life.”
This home delighted Kevin’s family for decades, because it created beauty while it paid attention to who they are and how they live. In the 30 years his family lived there, his parents never saw the need to remodel. It was beautiful, it was somewhat timeless and it comprehended their needs from the time they were parents of three sons to when they became empty nesters enjoying retirement. Kevin’s lived experience of both the pleasure and the enduring value of this great design inspired him to become an architect.
A timeless approach to architecture
As a Top 50 Northwest Architect honoree and the owner of his own firm since 1998, Kevin utilizes that same approach with his clients. “I believe in designing spaces that are comfortable, functional, durable, efficient in their use of energy and materials, and also beautiful,” he says. And with an eye on environmental concerns, he adds, “I believe a well-designed and efficient house, that avoids an endless cycle of updates and remodels, is a planet-friendly house. Do it well and do it once.”
His portfolio certainly reflects that powerful combination: Kevin’s work has been featured in Northwest Home + Garden, The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest Magazine, Architectural Digest and Progressive Architecture.
After more than 30 years in the industry, Kevin remains committed to community and professional development—he maintains memberships with the American Institute of Architects, Northwest Eco-Building Guild, Seattle Building Enclosure Council and Phinney Neighborhood Association.
Awards & Publications
Best of Houzz Service 2021
Recommended on Houzz 2020
Houzz Influencer 2017
Star Houzzer 2015
Northwest Home + Garden;
Nov / Dec 2006 Issue
Kevin Spence Architect
Winter 2004 Issue Cover;
Kevin Spence Architect and
October 2004, pages 96-103
Pacific Northwest Magazine
March 16, 2003, pages 24-25
Home of the Month
The Seattle Times Northwest Life,
December 15th, 2002
Phinney Ridge Kiosk Design Competition
Kevin Spence Architect and Nora Jaso with Jon Gierlich
Winning entry in open design competition; August 1998
LATCH; Kenmore Family Housing
Project Architect for Studio Jaso
Seattle Times/AIA Home of the Month; December 1998
"We recently hired Kevin to draw up plans for an extensive kitchen remodel. The plans that he made are fantastic. We have been impressed with his professionalism and his meticulous eye for detail. He has made many valuable suggestions, and when he thought that we were heading in the wrong direction, Kevin explained his thinking to us. Throughout the entire planning process Kevin always tried to understand and incorporate our ideas instead of just pushing his. We would not hesitate to hire him again and highly recommend his services."
"Kevin was our architect for the North Phinney remodel. We loved working with him! Kevin brought a lot of problem-solving creativity to the project. He listened carefully to us and did not discount our ideas and desires. The design he created incorporated our ideas with his own and solved problems that we had not even considered. The final design was ultimately much better than what we had hoped for. He is a pleasant, patient, and funny guy. We cannot say enough nice things about Kevin."