designer Patricia Algiers runs her business, Chemistry in Place,
our of her Shorewood home.
has been written up in the New York Times, ICON and Contract
magazines, among numerous other publications. She has unique
qualifications in that she is an ASID interior designer, commercial
real estate broker and accredited by the Congress for New Urbanism.
Her influential design firm, Chemistry in Place, is housed in a 1920s
classically styled red brick home in a Shorewood residential
M: Why is urban
design important to your practice?
"Location, location, location" is the "it." If a
client is located in the right place so much else just falls into
place. For this reason I call my business Chemistry in Place.
Your office situation is also different ó essentially your office
space and living space are in the same building. How did that happen?
PA: I wanted to
model my work environment after what Iíve seen in Boston, New York
and San Francisco. I had to rethink the space ó how am I going to
make this work for me, the team and the clients? I bought a building
and converted it to condos. Then I remodeled half of the building to
be both work and living space. The kitchen became the resource/work
room and contains all the food amenities of a corporate office; the
former dining room became the conference room. The upstairs workspace
has all the office technology and enough space for a team of six.
M: Would you
recommend this to others?
PA: This model
is used with increasing frequency as people spin off from larger firms
and set up on their own. And the team likes it because they donít
have to contend with parking.
M: Youíre very
involved with community: co-chair of Plein Air Shorewood, board member
of the Shorewood BID, among other organizations.
PA: I love
community service. It was instilled in me early, watching both parents
make significant differences in their community. My father is a
retired internist and has always said that asking the right questions
and listening to every word are the keys to getting the right answers.
Iíve tried to do that my entire career.
M: Youíve said
your current project is always your best project. Whatís on your
working on law offices as well as offices in the ever-expanding
technology cluster in downtown Milwaukee and the Third Ward. As we
design offices we make them appropriate to time and place ó we have
to crystal-ball it to make sure the space is not locked into time.
That crystal-ball stuff is the magic ingredient. The quest is always
to deliver a solution that is timeless.