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In 2016, after researching architects in the greater Rochester, NY area we hired Design Works Architecture. PC, owned by Chuck Smith to design a custom house for us on Lake Canandaigua, NY. Chuck worked with us on every desired detail to satisfy this first-time client. His pleasant personality and patience with our suggested changes were always accepted, while providing his options and opinions which we valued. There were many difficult restrictions building on the lake in the town of Gorham where our cottage had been located for over 40 years. Through his artful design skills and influence with the Gorham Zoning Board and Planning Board, Chuck was able to get several important restrictions lifted allowing us to maximize our needs. Remarkably he was able to make the most use of our entire footprint, and particularly, by a shifting the angle of the structure, providing us with a spectacular, panoramic view of the lake, even though we were adjacent to two larger houses. Although our experience of making many decisions designing a house for the first time was often challenging and taxing, Chuck’s steady guidance and encouragement made the entire process rewarding and enjoyable resulting with a perfect house for us and our family. We highly recommend Chuck, his wife Jan, who helped with our kitchen design, as well as his other office assistants. We developed a personal relationship with Chuck and Jan, whose friendship we value. We are sure others will be highly satisfied.

Sol & Linda 

We highly recommend Design Works Architecture. Chuck and Jan Smith designed an extraordinary lake house for us in the Finger Lakes. From the beginning of the design process through the final build, they were timely and professional, and their final design costs were within their budget estimate. Chuck began the process by walking the property, which has a significant slope and mature trees, to ensure that the house blends into the landscape in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. They worked with us and tweaked the plans until we had designed the house of our dreams. They also provided valuable assistance in selecting windows, paint colors, siding, decking, etc. Their expertise, based on their decades of experience in designing homes, particularly lake homes, was readily apparent. If you are thinking about building a new home or renovating an existing one, you should contact Design Works Architecture.

Patty & Rich

My husband and I used Design Works Architecture to create our custom home. Chuck Smith was supportive in our goals for our home and brought many insightful suggestions. Through his efforts we have made a wonderful home to raise our family.


My wife and I were referred to Chuck and his wife. We were remodeling and adding on a new kitchen to our lake house and from the first day that we met, we were so impressed. The important thing for me was the ability to see the design in 3D. Chuck could produce while we were talking. This allowed us to see what Chuck was suggesting and make immediate changes. Both Chuck and his wife understood exactly what we were looking for.


For the last five years, we have attempted to design our dream home. Utilizing other architectural firms, we could not achieve the final concept. Then we were introduced to Chuck Smith of Design Works Architecture. He immediately understood what we were trying to achieve: a new home, yet one that appears to have acquired its charm over the years, a home with the look and feel of the French countryside. The fact that Chuck spend time in Europe yielded an enormous benefit to that end. During our design review sessions, Chuck was always accommodating and provided insight and guidance throughout the entire process. He and his skilled staff delivered outstanding designs that enhanced the overall theme. Most noteworthy is attention to the finest details that culminated into a gorgeous living space with the authentic look of a French country manor. We are thrilled with the end result and extend our sincere gratitude to Chuck Smith and the talented people at Design Works Architecture. To summarize: BEST. FIRM. EVER.


Chuck has done an amazing job designing our custom home. We challenged him with building a hybrid timber frame home with some ADA compliant features for an in-law. The setting is a former Christmas tree farm and we were resolute to capturing the best views from all sides of the home. The in-law has its own unique fit and finish, different from the main home and he recommended ways to blend the two that worked out great. We quickly appreciated his patience and tenacity as we spent every Tuesday evening together for nearly two years working through details. The end result is more beautiful than we had hoped for. He took us through zoning variances without issue and has a staff that is attentive and professional. We highly recommend his design services.


We have worked with Chuck on two separate renovations to our home and heartily recommend him. His designs were creative, functional, accurate and beautiful. He listened to us to understand our style and needs for the new spaces and turned around plans right on schedule. Really a pleasure to work with.


My wife and I wanted to build a log home from scratch. Chuck worked with us to create our own plans and design the house of our dreams, while staying within our budget. He has tremendous vision and was very willing to help us out every step of the way. He is a very skilled architect and his experience shows. We have been living in our home now for 4 years and get the highest compliments from every visitor. We are always praising Chuck to our visitors and friends, as we could not have done it without him and couldn't be happier to have worked with him.


I've hired Chuck to design my dream Timber Frame home that I've wanted for more than 40 years. Chuck and his team provided the experience, creativity and ability to envision my dream, enhance my needs and maximize the usage of the lot and mountain views. His ability to provide the design in a virtual 3D model allowed us to see the details and experience the final results. Chuck's experience in construction and keeping up with technology provided the details in making my home energy efficient and cost effective throughout the process.


I have worked on and off with Chuck for the better part of eight years. Chuck is absolutely knowledgeable and creative as an architect but I think the qualities that make him stand above the rest are his personality and charisma.


We are so thankful to have had the pleasure to work with Chuck Smith. He had the amazing ability to take all of our thoughts about what we imagined our dream home to be, designed it and so patiently went through the whole process from beginning to end with us. He is truly the best in his field!


We hired Design Works to design and manage the construction of our custom home after interviewing several architectural firms in Western New York and beyond. Our vision for the property was specific in that we wanted our new home to integrate well into the historic community we selected as if it had been there since the mid 1800’s. Design Works was instrumental in creating a story for the property that served as the foundation for all design elements. From the exterior of Greek Revival that was dominate during that period; to the plain railings and moldings that would be found in a simple farmhouse, design details came quickly and easily as they added to the story. When it came time for construction, Design Works managed all the permitting, bidding and onsite contractors. Budgets were established and contractor invoices were reviewed by the Design Works team to ensure accuracy. Throughout the building process, we received reports on the budget and progress. Proactive communication from their team kept change orders down to a minimum as we were brought in early before additional action may have been required. In all the experience was most pleasurable.


Excellent architectural and design professional. Knowledgeable of structural requirements, local zoning and variance considerations, design criteria and aesthetic elements. Chuck has a good eye and considerable valuable ideas and, importantly, a good ear. He listens to the client and gives fair consideration to all of the client's wants and needs, while balancing those wants and needs with his sound and beautiful architectural and design recommendations. Chuck also is knowledgeable about new technologies and materials. Highly recommended.


In 2002 we decided to rebuild our family house on one of the Finger Lakes. We had had some previous experience with an architect who pretty much ignored our input so we knew we did not want to go through that again. Chuck sat down with the whole family and talked with them about what they liked about the old house and what they did not. He then spent time with each member talking about how they would like to use the new house. From that he developed some conceptual ideas and reviewed them with us which then lead to plans. We liked what he had done as we felt that he had really factored our wants and desires into the plans. There were a few things that we wanted to do differently and after discussing them we reached mutual agreement. The house is now ten years old and we love it. There is very little we would change if we had to do it over again. Chuck was a delight to work with and we have recommend him to others a number of times.


Chuck Smith is the best. When our cottage burned down on the eve of the Winter Soltaxe in 2011, we were bereft. The prospect of rebuilding our beloved lake house, while living in another region was daunting and at the same time essential and time bound for our family. We found Chuck via the Internet, based on a beautiful cabin he had build on an inland in Sodus Bay. That design compelled us to call him. To make a long story short, every aspect of the project was handled perfectly, collaboratively and expertly. We are about to enjoy our third summer in our perfect lake side "porch house". We love it. Chuck and team are the best.


Design Works Architecture created house plans for a 2 story year-round custom lake house on one of the New York Finger Lakes. Chuck listened to our desires, interpreted our requests, and created a beautiful cohesive set of plans. We were very satisfied with our interactions with Chuck and the Design Works staff, and the results of their efforts.


I hired DWA to design and act as the GC for a unique home on 38 acres. DWA worked with us to site the home preserving mature trees while maintaining optimum views. Their attention to our needs and their ability to accommodate different thoughts led to a most impressive and inviting home.


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