A Conversation with Batter Kay Associates

PREMIER Design – Form Follows Function A conversation with Batter Kay Associates

In our quest to better understand San Diego home design we decided to start at the very beginning, with the ARCHITECT. How better to do so than with Del Mar’s own Batter Kay Associates (Janice is a native Del Martian, Michael from Connecticut but we will give him an honorary title having designed over 200 projects mostly here in San Diego). We sat down with the husband and wife design team to get their perspective on current “trends” and found out how design can really come full circle.

We just featured one of your designs on our April Issue Cover; tell us a little about that project?

That lot posed some interesting challenges. The home had to have a low profile, protecting neighbors’ views while maximizing its own views and space. We wanted to create an uplifting feeling in the home even as it was sort of being pushed at from all sides both literally and figuratively. To create space we went down instead of up and were able to maintain the light & airy feeling that is central to our design philosophy.

I had no idea Del Mar homes had basements, isn’t that an East Coast thing?

Many Del Mar homes, because they are on small lots add a basement to add square footage. You have to use what you’ve got.

I get a picture in my head when I hear Batter Kay home, how would you describe your design?

We want our designs to impart an uplifting feeling, like art, with a flow of light air and space. Our goal is to create a piece of living sculpture. It all stems from the plan. The plan is the most important part and the art builds from there, form follows function.

We hear all about the current “trends” of indoor outdoor living, energy efficient design, and the great room, thoughts?

We have utilized these concepts really since we began in 1975. Back then most San Diego homes weren’t even insulted which we thought was crazy! Designing for the most thoughtful and efficient use of energy was always a consideration and can mean much more than checking off a list of green mandates. Our designs were always open, light, and utilized indoor outdoor living spaces that flowed seamlessly from one to the next.

One trend we are enjoying today is that homeowners are much more willing to use some of the more innovative materials we recommend rather than just duplications of old forms. Concrete floors, the use of metals on exteriors are becoming more accepted.

If I am a homeowner looking for a home with the intention of a remodel, when do I bring you in to the process? Before I sign on the dotted line?

The sooner the better. There is always some value in the existing home and seeing what a homeowner is drawn to offers us a living example of their needs and shows us how they want to live. You might be surprised but the architecture isn’t the most expensive part, it is the add-ons after the fact that are expensive. We work with clients of all size budgets and it can be a challenge but we have always been able to meet our budgets and the client’s goals. In doing remodels we have even been able to revisit some of our original homes, making changes for new owners with different lives and needs. We are working now on a 1947 beach remodel that we worked on previously 20 years ago. Things are coming full circle and it is very rewarding.

For more from Batter Kay Associates visit their website 


Photos featured here by Paul Body and  David Hebble Photography & Film


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