The odds of actualizing your 8-year-old childhood dream into a successful lifelong career are not very high. Fortunately, Steve Schill beat the odds and brought Northeast Ohio an architecture firm that builds spectacular, thoughtfully-designed homes that are sure to withstand the test of time.
It’s obvious by the passion in Steve's voice when he talks about his work that he genuinely loves it. “To me, I’m never working. I have a hobby I love that I happen to get paid for. I’ve never worked a day in my life,” says Steve. He takes on each project with a level of enthusiasm that’s almost as if he’s building each house for his own family.
A COMFORTABLE APPROACH
“Our clients have told us, ‘you just make it so easy’”, says Steve. And he’s 100% right. With a bubbling fish tank and the sounds of Steve’s favorite bands like Coldplay coming from his iPad, clients work with Steve to design their dream home in his Westlake, Ohio office –a comfortable space that inspires out-of-the-box creativity.
Steve makes his clients feel at ease by treating them as his friends from the very start, which is important given the process can take up to 2-3 years with the level of detail and its constant evolution. “You have to think of the [design] process like cooking in a crock pot rather than in a microwave. We keep adding things to the recipe and letting it cook.” Steve says. “A relaxed process allows thoughtful, good design to happen.”
When it comes to the design process, Steve says he never takes notes but instead gets to know his clients as people. He talks to them about how they live; how they function when they want to relax, when the kids come home from school, or when they want to entertain. He finds out what's going unused and what they may be lacking in their current home to build a list of “no needs” and “must-haves”. Steve is currently working on 12 homes simultaneously and he says no two designs are the same—everyone’s style and personality is well-reflected in their home’s design.
HOW IT BEGAN
A Westlake, Ohio native, Steve worked for architects throughout high school and college, and even spent a semester in Florence, Italy studying classical architecture. After graduating from Kent State University with his Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science, he became a registered architect in 1988 and began designing for home builders in Ohio. Steve formed Schill Architecture in 1991 and has been designing and building luxury lakefront and estate homes throughout the Cleveland area since. To date, 58 of the unique homes you'll find along Cleveland's Lake Erie shore are Schill's work.
MAKING HOME BUILDING EASY
Together with business partner Mike Chambers (Production) and wife Nancy Schill (Finance), Schill Architecture handles all aspects of the homebuilding process with Steve as the main point of contact. Their focus on estate homes, luxury residences, waterfront properties and custom one-of-a-kind designs have built them a niche in the Northeast Ohio market.
For over 15 years, Schill Architecture has built relationships with sub-contractors in the Cleveland trade community that are based on mutual respect and trust. Schill not only designs the home from an architectural standpoint, but puts all components together from the inside out. “When we design someone’s home, we take everything into consideration from landscaping and fountains to pools and lighting. To me, a home is the totality of the package, not just four walls”, says Steve proudly. “We make home building easy for people.”
ON WORKING WITH EDELMAN
Nancy Schill enlightened us on the firm’s relationship with Edelman. “We have the most awesome customer service and a great relationship with [our sales consultant] Pat,” Nancy comments. “They treat our clients wonderfully and offer us a place to discover high-end plumbing products that we really can’t find outside of traveling to Chicago”. She explained that Schill’s clients feel very comfortable while browsing through the Edelman showroom, which pairs nicely with their goal of making homebuilding easy, fun and customer-oriented.
INDUSTRY TRENDS & THE FUTURE OF CLEVELAND
Steve’s observations on trends in the homebuilding industry are enlightening and encouraging. Many of his clients are building homes that are different from typical layouts and elevations. “People aren’t concerned any longer with what they’re ‘supposed’ to have in a home, but are now focused on building what they want to build,” Steve remarks. “Our clients say ‘I don’t want to have any rooms that I don’t need’, and swap out traditional living rooms and dining rooms in lieu of more open spaces their families use on a daily basis”.
According to Steve, the modern designs we see evolving in the Cleveland area have been prominent on the coasts for the last 10-15 years, but he says Cleveland is now hipper than ever. “People are more open to modern designs and clean lines,” Steve tells us. “The trends are so simplistic, and Cleveland has definitely caught up”.
Among their many accomplishments, Schill Architecture has been featured in Fabulous Floors, House Trends, Sophisticated Home and Luxury Home Quarterly. They designed the St. Jude Dream Home in Cleveland in both 2008 and 2009, and the Pat Catan Foundation “Finding Hope” Home in 2008. You can view more on Schill Architecture at www.schillarchitecture.com, Facebook, Twitter, Houzz and Porch.