History & Perspective

sundra-portrait My love of the built environment, both Interior Design & Architecture, began at young age. During high school I was employed at an Interior Design firm, where I learned about the coordination of color, placement of objects, and client interaction. In college, I acquired an Interior Design degree at Marymount University.

While there I continued working in various interior design firms, was elected President of the American Society Interior Design student chapter, and graduated Suma Cum Laude. Upon graduation, I decided that the manipulation of Interior spaces wasn’t enough; I needed to create space by using exterior planes. I applied and was accepted to the University of Florida Master of Architecture program. This program gave me an in depth knowledge of Structure, Architectural Theory, and the nuts and bolts of how materials are put together. I had the opportunity to teach as a Graduate Assistant and travel Europe to understand Architectural context and history. After 4 years of working as an architectural intern in Denver and Fort Collins, I moved to the Western Slope of Colorado and established Hines Designs in 2005. To date, work efforts have focused on residential and commercial commissions.

My design approach is to listen to the wants and needs of the client/s and meld them with the topography of the site. I am reluctant to use a design “style” that is not first developed with the understanding of the owner’s vision and time spent at the site. What grows of this relationship is a truly unique piece of architecture that brings the built environment to the natural one. I am an active member of the Ridgway community by sitting on the Planning and Zoning commission, teaching mountain biking to children, and parenting the activities of my own two children. It is not only the beautiful surroundings of the San Juan Mountains that draws people to our area, but the connections to the people made in these small communities of the Western Slope. The architecture of the area is as varied as those that live here, and as a designer I continue to grow and change with it.

I believe in environmental stewardship. My buildings employ passive and sometimes active solar systems. Passive solar means are a simple energy efficient design solution, by tracking the sun’s path on site and carefully choreographing the daily activities of the client. This approach also helps to determine the form of the building both in plan and elevation. We then take a critical look at the budget and any site restraint, and employ the most energy efficient building envelope possible. It is my common practice to use Structural Insulated Panels, Insulated Concrete Forms, and cutting edge technologies to strengthen efficiency and performance of the building. In this harsh environment, maintenance free materials and quality design details are a must. I feel that proper planning of the building envelope and its surface is money saved by the client in the future. I also believe in honest and open communication. This candid relationship allows for beautiful, well-crafted structures and long lasting friendships.