Cormac Byrne

For this Irishman with an international point of view, great design runs in the family

You’ve worked on luxury projects in the U.S. and abroad. Do you have more of an international or American point of view? Having been educated in Ireland and worked in London early on in my career, my influences are definitely from that part of the world. That applies very well to New England, where we do the majority of our work. The traditional style of architecture that is prevalent in Connecticut and New York could easily be transplanted back across the Atlantic. Has there been one especially memorable project in your career? The first three years of my professional career were spent in London on the reconstruction of three listed historic buildings in Hyde Park Gate that were combined into one residence for a Kuwaiti prince and his family. Being on-site from start to completion gave me a unique insight into historic restoration, high-end construction and satisfying a demanding and very discerning client. Do you ever pick up a hammer on your projects? Not on Jones Byrne Margeotes Partners projects, as my skills are not up to the standards of construction we demand. But at my house, I have completed a kitchen and several bathroom renovations—although they have a tendency to take a little longer than planned. What is your all-time favorite building? That’s a tough one, probably Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum or the Sydney Opera House. Both are spectacular works of art that also serve the purposes for which they were designed. What does it take for an architect and an interior designer to work together seamlessly on a project?It requires a real team effort, with the responsibilities of both professionals clearly defined so there is no overlap or gap in services. There has to be a common goal to design the best product for the project and the client. Egos must be left at home and the collaboration process started as early as possible, so that everyone’s input can be included in the initial design.

" I come from a family of architects,
so it was what I always wanted to do."

What are three things to think about before renovating your home?
Time, quality and cost. They are all intertwined, and if you try to eliminate one, the others will suffer. Why does a small renovation often become a gut-it-and-rebuild-it project? Renovations are tricky as the “point of no return” can easily be reached before you know it. The combination of unforeseen conditions and an expanded client “wish list” can quickly escalate way beyond the original scope. Discipline is required to keep the program in check and a renovation just that—a renovation. If you weren’t an architect, what would you be? I come from a family of architects and engineers so it was what I always wanted to do. But if I had to do something else, I would be a contractor. Construction is something I really enjoy. We make a special effort at JBMP to be involved in the construction of our projects, visiting the sites and encouraging everyone at the office to be familiar with the process. What is your idea of perfect happiness? A warm day, a cold beer and good company.