An Exclusive Showcase of Northern California’s Finest Architects

by Rosalie Z. Wilson, Senior Editor

Architect James Theimer is open to challenge.  In fact, he embraces it.  And the challenge of creating good and workable solutions within unique and seemingly impossible parameters keeps him loving what he does and hisclients loving him.

James establishes his Redding, California=based practice, Triolgy Architecture, on the notion that each design would be used only once.  A design is unique to the commission and the client.  He finds that philosophy much more interesting and infinity more rewarding, and his clients appreciate that they do not get “cookie-cutter” solutions.  Rather, clients of Trilogy get “art that works”, beautiful homes tht reflect who they are and how they live.


Though James concedes that his “No two people are the same, so why should two homes be the same?” approach requires a signiificant commitment of time, talent and energy, he has remained steadfast to his belief.  To achieve this uniqueness for each client, James has assembled a small, handpicked team of design professionals.  It is a highly energized and creative studio environment within which James and his staff criticize and complement each other’s design ideas.  James reminds his colleagues that as smart as anyone may feel, or as good as anyone may be, ideas are for sharing, testing and refining until they move from “good solution” to “best solution.”  When initially visiting with clients about the style of home they want, James ensures that everyone is on the same page in terms of architectural vocabulary.  It is the first order of business.  James illustrates why with the example of a client who expressed a desire for a French ountry villa.  When James politely responded that they were asking for a tiny, dark home with narrow hallways and ribbon windows, they were aghast.  He then helped them realize that they actually wanted a contemporary home with a profusion of glass and all the accoutrements to which they were accustomed, lightly steeped in a French Country flavor.


James elaborates: “We, at Trilogy, think of ourselves as subtle modernists.  We never limit our clients’ designs to one particular style.  Rather, we will design for John Smith a John Smith-style home, and it will embody all he finds beautiful – all that brings him comfort.”


Though Trilogy’s designs are anything but formulaic, the delighted responses from his clients are a sure thing.  Many utter virtually the same, unscripted words, “This feels like me!”  Though the firm’s residential design savvy would suggest otherwise, high-end home design actually copmoses a realtively small portion of Trilogy’s portfolio.  Undoubtedly, Trilogy’s residential clients benefit from the wide variety of commercial work the firm does.  Custom residential clients get more than great designs from Trilogy.  They also get a depth of experience in project management skills, construction techniques, cost estimating, bidding practices and contractor relations that enhance their end product and their home-building experience.


James maintains that his firm’s only specialty is designing good architecture born of creative problem-solving.   He is vigilant against just using the “easy” solution but will not compromise a proect just for the sake of being different.  During the five years Jamesspent immersed in architectural studies at Cornell. No one ever taught him that an artist’s entire life is a struggle, but had he known, he would have unquestionably arrived at the same professionalphilosophy that he practices today.  For it is in the successful struggle to solve challenging rchitecturalsituations that James finds his greatest satisfaction and achieves his best work.