Partner, Director of Residential Design
As an architect specializing in the design of high end & merchant built housing of all types, Vance has enjoyed great success and recognition on a local, regional and national level. From experience in the construction trades in his early days, to his role as a Principal and Design Director at Bassenian/Lagoni in Newport Beach, Vance knows residential design inside and out. His design talent and understanding of the home building business have been sought by such clients as Lennar, Del Webb/Pulte, Centex and Taylor/Morrison Homes – just to name a few. Vance is licensed in California, Washington, and Arizona and has designed projects ranging from multi-million dollar estates to attached projects reaching 40 DU/AC.
Professional Biographical Summary
Vance Dale Graham, AIA is an award winning architect specializing in the design of residential ventures of all types. With projects spanning the country, his talents and understanding are widely sought after by savvy developers looking to create beautiful, well composed projects that out sell the competition – clients who understand that “good design is good business”.
Although he was born and raised in the Sacramento area, Vance also spent several summers living in Hawaii and Southern California’s high desert. During middle school, he developed a keen interest in architecture and began steering his academics in that direction. In high school, he shared is artistic passion with the normal athletic pursuits of a teenaged boy.
Vance’s construction career began while still in high school as a roofer and electrician during summers. After graduation in 1981, he spent a few years working for a custom home builder in the Lake Tahoe area, mostly as a carpenter and pouring foundations. A few years later he got his contractor’s license, but his heart remained true to design and a career in architecture.
Once his “apprenticeship” period ended, Vance began working as a draftsman and designer with small firm in Sacramento. He quickly earned his place as a key employee and got his first exposure to merchant built housing. In 1987, instead of attending college as planned, Vance partnered with one of the firms principals and two former consultants in a successful residential firm called Studio Four. Among the firm’s many notable projects was Del Webb’s first non-desert community – Sun City Roseville – for which Vance earned 5 Gold Nugget Merit awards for outstanding design.
In 1994, Vance and his partners successfully negotiated the sale of Studio Four to the nationally renowned architectural firm Bassenian/Lagoni Architects (BLA) based in Orange County. Vance moved to Newport Beach to become a Vice President and Design Director and enjoyed great success while there. After 2 years however, Vance longed for home and a less frantic pace. Though the partners urged him to stay, Vance returned home eager to establish himself on his own.
Upon return to the Sacramento area in 1996, Vance began building a successful architectural practice catering to the needs of national and regional home builders. This firm, known for most of its life as The Design Collaborative (TDC), produced creative, best- selling housing projects across the Western US, including another Sun City. Key clients included Lennar, Del Webb, Taylor/Morrison, US Home, and Centex.
The evolution of TDC into one of Northern California’s top residential architectural firms culminated in the creation of GBH Partners in January of 2008. With frequent collaborators Ike Balmaseda and Rob Heaney, the partnership was created to help better weather the coming economic downturn. Unfortunately, the downturn proved overwhelming to the housing industry as a whole, and, after two long years of struggle, the venture failed.
Early in 2010, however, Vance was welcomed back to BLA and his career was right back on track. As a Principal with the firm, he and his team were responsible for several important clients while continuing to produce award winning Single Family, Multifamily and Amenity Building projects of all types. Some of those clients included The Irvine Company, Shea Homes, Pardee, and Standard Pacific. Because of his experience as a firm owner, his knowledge was often sought regarding operations, marketing, and management issues.
In March of 2015, however, it was time to start his own practice again. Called GRAHAM ARCHITECTURAL, this new firm is growing like Vance’s last two successful firms – quickly and steadily. With more and more projects coming under contract, the future looks bright for this latest venture and Vance is looking forward to continuing to build his team and client base to create his most successful architectural practice yet.
IDEArc Architecture & Planning
03.15 – present
Left BLA to form my own firm allowing better focus on design. Primary duties include overseeing and participating in all aspects of small, high quality, full service architecture/planning firm specializing in residential products of all types with heavy emphasis on design.
Homes Completed: 8 Merchant Built Homes, including SFD, SFA & MF
Noteworthy Clients: Melia Homes, C&C Development, Heilder Development, and The Waterford Group
Newport Beach, California
01.10 – 01.15 (5 years)
Rejoined 120 person International architectural firm after economic downturn. Primary duties were to meet with clients in charrette and presentation settings and manage projects through schematic design and design development. Project locations varied from Orange and Los Angeles Counties, the greater Bay Area, Arizona and in Atlanta. Design director of in-office design/graphics teams. Generate new business in marketing capacity. Participate as executive in normal decision making.
Homes Completed: 225 Merchant Built Homes, 20 Custom Home
Noteworthy Clients: The Irvine Company, Shea Homes, Pardee, Davidon
THE DESIGN COLLABORATIVE/GBH Architecture & Planning
El Dorado Hills, California
08.96 – 01.10 (14 years)
Returned to Sacramento to form small 25 person firm allowing better focus on design. Primary duties include oversee and participate in all aspects of small, high quality, full service architecture/planning firm specializing in residential of all types with heavy emphasis on design. Participate as Judge in Bay Area and Southern California Design Awards competitions.
Homes Completed: 585 Merchant Built Homes, 15 Custom Home
Noteworthy Clients: Lennar, Del Webb, Taylor/Morrison Homes, Centex, Suncal
Newport Beach, California
04.94 – 08.96 (2 years)
Vice President/Design Director
Joined 70 person nationally renowned Residential Specialists after negotiating sale of successful architectural practice (Studio Four). Primary duties were to meet with clients in charrette and presentation settings and manage projects through schematic design and design development. Project locations varied from Orange and Los Angeles Counties, extensive work in greater Bay Area, Nevada, Arizona and in Chicago. Design director of in-office design/graphics teams.
Homes Completed: 52 Merchant Built Homes, 1 Custom Home
Noteworthy Clients: Del Webb Corporation, Shea Homes, Greystone Homes, Citation Homes, Elliott Homes
STUDIO FOUR Architects, Inc.
09.87 – 04.94 (7 years)
Co-Founder & Partner/Principal in Charge of Design
Assembled former employer and new associates to form equal four-way partnership in highly successful 16 person regionally recognized firm specializing in residential design of all types. Primary duties were to meet with clients in charrette and presentation settings and manage projects through schematic design and design development. Project locations varied from Sacramento and Placer Counties to the Greater Bay Area, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Florida. Design director of in office design/graphics teams. Generate new business in marketing capacity. Participate as executive in normal decision making.
Homes Completed: 212 Merchant Built Homes, 17 Custom Homes
Noteworthy Clients: Del Webb, Richmond American, Morrison Homes, Elliott Homes, River West Developments
03.83 – 09.87 (4 years)
Joined locally recognized 10 person residential design firm.
Primaries duties included preparation of construction documents and assisting with and working alone on custom residential and merchant built housing projects of all types. Also participated in client presentations and charrettes.
Homes Completed: 24 Merchant Built Homes, 5 Custom Homes
Lake Tahoe, California
06.81- 03.83 (2 years)
Primary duties included general rough and finish carpentry, foundation, and roofing. Acted as foreman running crews of up to 4. Earned General Contractors License. Also designed various custom residential homes in the Lake Tahoe area.
Homes Completed: 6 Custom Homes
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