Designer Crush: Wade Weissmann


1. How did you get your start in architecture? 

I knew from about the age of 6 that I wanted to be an architect. After receiving my masters in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, I got my feet wet working in a few different architecture firms, spending time on construction sites with woodworkers and masons, working alongside my cousin and best friend, the late interior designer, Jon Schlagenhaft, and doing anything and everything I could to learn as much about the design world as possible. A few years into that period of my life, my brother engaged me in the design of his cabin in Northern Wisconsin. The next door neighbors then hired me to design a home for them.  That was really the beginning of it all. 


2. How do you define “California style”?  

The environment of living that is indoor and conditioned, and outdoor and unconditioned. The environment is so conducive to outdoor living, and a California house embraces every opportunity to live both inside and outside.  Stylistically, there is a tradition of domestic architecture in California that is much more bare-bones, utility-inspired. Some people see that as contemporary.   To me, the environment is so rich with beauty, that the embellishments of the enclosure do not need a larger narrative.  

3. What’s your process for getting to know your clients? 

Working alongside clients on the design of the spaces in which they want to live and thrive is an incredibly personal thing , so it’s very important to me to learn as much about them as I can at the onset of the design process.  The first step is simply to spend time talking with them, either in a meeting, or over drinks/dinner, in order to find out how they want to live in the space.  What are their daily routines?  Their hobbies?  Beyond just how many rooms they want, or how they want the house to look, I want to know how do they want it to “feel” when they get up in the morning, or when they are moving from room to room. I like to find out what they liked and didn’t like about their previous living space(s), and about what ultimately would allow them to feel most “alive” in this new space. A lot of clients will put together photo boards (on websites like Pinterest or Houzz) of spaces that speak to them in some way.  Other clients enjoy having me simply sit with them and sketch as they share with me their dreams for their home. It all really depends on the client.

4. Describe one particularly memorable project.   

I lived in Paris for a time while studying architecture, and absolutely fell in love with Europe. Just a few years ago, my firm was commissioned to work closely with Parisian artisans in the re-design of a penthouse, and I loved every minute of the collaboration. Currently, my brother and I are developing a luxury music hotel and community on a 20-acre hilltop in the heart of Nashville, and, as I’m serving as both developer and designer on that project, every day is a new adventure!

5. You say you “draw inspiration from environments that have endured time”; what does that mean to you?  

Every environment has endured time.  What I really enjoy is being able to research the traces of development that have taken place in and around an environment to draw inspiration from the history that has taken place there. It can go all the way back to the native Americans and what their response was to the native environment. Even early settlers.  

6. Who’s your dream celebrity client and why? 

That one is easy — Justin Timberlake.  Not only do I respect him immensely as a musician, but I just love his overall style and demeanor. For me, it’s all about collaboration, and he strikes me as someone with whom it would be really fun to collaborate.  

7. What was the most influential musical album in your life and why?  

While no particular album comes to mind, the Grateful Dead played a huge role in my adolescent years. I even toured with them for a while, and it was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. To this day, improvisational jam-bands are still a staple on my music playlists.  

Lightning round!

8. Tattoos: Yay or nay? 


9. Sugar cone or waffle cone? 

Waffle cone

10. Early bird or night owl? 

I’ve been known to be a little bit of both, actually. 

11. Beach or mountains? 

Beach. Although, I reside part-time in Santa Barbara, and being able to see both the beach and the mountains from my living room window is pretty darn perfect.  

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