Learn What This Duo Says Is The Key To Good Design


Dining room with light wood walls and floors, and large windows


For Suzanne Stefan and Drew Shawver, good design is a study in subtle contrasts. Their diverse backgrounds unite the rural with the cosmopolitan, yielding a host of residential projects that are as welcoming as they are refined. With their new practice, Studio DIAA, the duo declares the most important design element to be something entirely intangible.

What does “DIAA” stand for? SS: Design, interiors, architecture, and the second “a” is the most important: atmosphere. To us, atmosphere happens by fine-tuning a mood and engaging the senses. It’s the subtle third dimension that makes a building feel alive.

Tell us about your approach to design. DS: Our core principle is in responding to place. It’s about listening to the histories and keen observations of a site to create architecture and interiors with emotional resonance.

What’s coming up for DIAA? SS: We’re creating a new home on Raft Island right on the shore of Puget Sound. DS: The design is about experiencing the ocean on multiple sensory levels, from inside to outside.