An Interview with George Bevan of Bevan + Associates

Sonoma and Bay Area architect, George Bevan, shares his knowledge. | asavvylifestyle.com

George Bevan has always been an entrepreneur. At 10, he figured out he could tow his parents’ lawn mower behind his bike and make $5 off of it. Before he knew it, he had a few dozen clients and growing lawn business. At that point, his parents began charging him for wear and tear on their mower, but George reflects, “I’ve continuously taken direction well and listened often, working for small firms then larger firms, always with an eye on my own studio.” It was that steady vision that eventually led him to start his own firm: Bevan + Associates. 

Founded in 2003, Bevan + Associates has specialized primarily in designing custom homes & remodels, with a mix of small commercial work. Most of the work requires close collaboration with interior designers, structural & civil engineers and Government Agencies. Supported by several people on staff, George draws his design inspiration from music, technology, fashion, and people, just to name a few.

Sonoma and Bay Area architect, George Bevan, shares his knowledge. | asavvylifestyle.com

“Architecture is the act of taking natural materials, designing something from scratch and building them back into nature.” 

When I asked him what is typical of his design process, he said, “Not much.” I think that comes off very clearly in his work. George is not the kind of guy who is willing to have a checklist on his projects, because that would result in ordinary work, and George’s designs are anything but ordinary, “I commonly only use a hand full of materials. That’s it. Most often, wandering the lumberyards. Taking ‘off-the-shelf’ materials and doing something creative with them. This optimizes creativity without driving up cost.” 

Sonoma and Bay Area architect, George Bevan, shares his knowledge. | asavvylifestyle.com
Sonoma and Bay Area architect, George Bevan, shares his knowledge. | asavvylifestyle.com

In my interview with George, it became very apparent that he is wickedly intelligent, I wish I could study under him for a while, because I feel as if there is a whole world to learn from him, in fact, one of his pieces of advice to someone starting out a business is, “Always surround yourself with people much smarter than you, it will keep you humble and will provide a solid support.” He also reminds business owners not to be afraid to speak their minds, because frankly, that’s what you’re getting paid for. 

Starting a small business brings on the lowest of lows, and the highest of highs. George recommends patience to those who have decided to jump into the small business boat. “The harder you push, the more you are not allowing things to happen naturally. Remember, you will get out of it, exactly what you put into it.”

Sonoma and Bay Area architect, George Bevan, shares his knowledge. | asavvylifestyle.com
Sonoma and Bay Area architect, George Bevan, shares his knowledge. | asavvylifestyle.com

Naturally motivated, thanks to his Dad, George also credits much of his knowledge from Michael Folonis, FAIA, one of his professors turned employer, and friend. Michael taught him the importance of kindness, strategy, and professionalism. Second to Michael, George credits his grandparents. On his father’s side, a men’s clothing store owner (before Men’s Warehouse), and on his mother’s side a butcher. He remembers his grandfather as, “A self made man with an iron clad work ethic.”

George’s favorite quote by Henry J. Heinz, “Do something common, uncommonly well, creates success,” is alive throughout his work. Not just in completed projects, but also throughout the entire course of design, “Design is a process of decision-making and relationship building. The architecture has to reflect who the client is; all of my clients are from very different walks of life, but no matter how successful someone is, they are humble, understated, and genuine. These traits come out in our work naturally. In the end, it’s their houses, not mine.”

Sonoma and Bay Area architect, George Bevan, shares his knowledge. | asavvylifestyle.com
Sonoma and Bay Area architect, George Bevan, shares his knowledge. | asavvylifestyle.com
Sonoma and Bay Area architect, George Bevan, shares his knowledge. | asavvylifestyle.com

Keeping client relationships in mind, George tells me, “I am extremely transparent with my process and ability to say, “no, I’m not comfortable spending your money that way.” Other areas, I advise the opposite. The project comes out balanced, and clients know you have their back and are alongside them every step of the way.”

 To learn more about Bevan + Associates or to inquire about design services, visit their website. We would like to thank George for taking the time to share his invaluable knowledge with us, stay tuned for more Sonoma small business stories, but until then, click below for past features! 


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