Mark LePage always knew he wanted to be an architect growing up. “I enjoyed building things,” he says. “I always had a pencil in my hand. I was always drawing.” He went the extra mile and became a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional and his firm, Fivecat Studio, has received the prestigious American Institute of Architects (AIA) Westchester Mid-Hudson Design Award, among others.
So it’s startling to learn that LePage’s inspirations come from the likes of Richard Branson (Virgin Group) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon), two entrepreneurs who build companies, not homes. “I’m probably an atypical architect. Most are inspired by other architects or other designers.” While he loves the design process, Fivecat’s three architects—LePage, wife and partner Annmarie McCarthy, and John Whalen—collaborate on each design and then divide the rest of the project work.
LePage says he’s in charge of “client happiness.” His number-one priority is managing expectations with an extensive pre-design process which includes having the clients answer a questionnaire, assemble two folders of images (Love it! Loathe it!), and holding an in-depth meeting to learn more about the clients and their lives. They also get a contractor involved early, so clients don’t fall in love with an approach they can’t afford.
The House: This 1907 home was nearly destroyed twice—by fire in 1947, then by the subsequent renovations, including a stuccoed exterior. In order to “reclaim the authenticity of the house,” LePage designed, replaced, or restored everything visible in this photo. Only the chimney is original, and it was repaired.
Construction Manager (House): Greg Krywosa, GSK Builders Group LLC, Mamaroneck (914) 844-5194
Construction Manager (Patio): Fivecat Studio
Interior Designer: Andrea Ackermann, Karen Houghton Interiors, Nyack (845) 358-0133
Landscape Architect: Elizabeth Ward, Pleasantville (914) 954-7202