THEY DON’T WANT BLAH

BY BARRY WALDMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

You could hire a large or midsize architectural firm to complete your next commercial project, which will require the work of a civil engineer, a landscape architect, a structural engineer, a mechanical and plumbing engineer, and of course an architect and interior designer.

The biggest issue with the process is that the vision for your project is often lost along the way. Many import details that were discussed in initial planning meetings are overlooked or simply forgotten because the people working on the construction details or overseeing construction never participated in those initial meetings.

What if one person could do the work of five, or could perform all those tasks, and make sure you get the project of your dreams? The Stensland Group, owned by architect and interior designer Robert S. Stensland, might be just the fit for your next project. Using the sophisticated software package Archicad allows him to do the design and construction drawings without the help of a team of people. Stensland also completes the lighting design, furniture selection, landscape design, and he can select your artwork. On many occasions he has also created a new company logo and helped with all the signage and graphic design. He is your single point of contact.

One advantage that The Stensland Group provides its clients is the cutting-edge use of Building Information Modeling (BIM). With this tool, Stensland is able to provide the client with a 3-D model of the building, both interior and exterior, with the capability of a virtual reality walk-through, which the client can download on their own iPad or smartphone to experience the design at their own pace. “We are able to put the actual image of the client’s finishes in the model, which allows a client to see the finished product before construction starts or any materials are ordered,” says Stensland.

Stensland has practiced award-winning architecture and interior design in the metroplex since 1985, following a five-year career in Iowa. He received his degree in architecture from Iowa State University and has been recognized as an interior designer in Who’s Who.

One of The Stensland Group’s signature projects is Aalam the Salon, located in North Plano, Texas. The owners were seeking to create an upscale, gender-neutral salon. Stensland delivered that and more, earning recognition from the North American Hairstyling Awards as one of the “Top 5 Salon Designs in North America.”

The mostly white palette in the salon creates a museum-like background for the artistic stylists. Splashes of color in the light coves and at the shampoo bowls create a signature look that has helped make Aalam the Salon one of top salons in the metroplex for the last six years, according to D magazine. Stensland recently designed and completed the LUXBAR addition, featuring a prime blow-dry and makeup bar. Aalam the Salon has retained The Stensland Group to design their next salon in Frisco, Texas.

The Stensland Group also completed a 12,000-squarefoot medical office building in Rockwall, Texas. The building was named Best Designed Building in Rockwall for 2015 by the City of Rockwall. Stensland is currently working on a new 6,000-square-foot dental office just one block away. “The client is extremely interested in winning Best Designed Building for 2018. This is the type of client I love to work with,” says Stensland. “High expectations and the right type of client are what it takes to create great architecture.”

Stensland’s clients have something in common: They don’t want blah. He compares them to Tesla drivers—adventurous, innovative, uninterested in settling. They want designs that will stand out, tell a story and even win awards. But Stensland stresses, they aren’t paying any more for being on the cutting edge, because he’s not that big architectural firm dripping with overhead.

Despite the cutting-edge 3-D software, the innovative design, the awards and accolades, Stensland describes himself first and foremost as “serviceoriented.” A friend even asked him how he could possibly make a living when he spends so much time with his clients. “I told him that providing great personal service leads to great referrals, so I don’t have to spend any time marketing.”

Barry Waldman is principal of Big Fly Communications, a PR/marketing firm for nonprofits and small businesses.rvilla19@gmail.com.