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Residential Projects

As one of the earliest practitioners of ‘neo-traditional’ or “new-urbanists” architecture and planning, Derrick has contributed to the advancement of liveable community standards. He planned the first neo-traditional planned unit development in the city of Vancouver, WA. Over the years the firm has developed an array of housing typologies; small single-family homes, townhouses, duplexes/triplexes, and a variety of apartment types.

The firm offer comprehensive Land Use Planning services; with experience in a variety of residential projects ranging from single family additions, ADU’s, infill lots, short-plats, sub-divisions, and planned unit developments. We manage and direct all aspects of the land-use approval process, and coordinate activities with other professionals as required. We will provide timely support throughout the entire site plan and building permit approval review process.

Several of the highlighted multi-family projects were developed while Swerhone was Principal-in –Charge of the projects at Harder Swerhone Architects, LLC. (1997-1999). These projects were designed within a “team approach” by the past company, and are duly identified.


Swerhone Architecture offers a range of experience in apartment types. We have developed 2 to3 story exterior access “walk-ups”, 3 to 4 story double loaded corridors with elevators, and two story townhouse type apartments above single level flats.  Both non-profit,  low-income and market rate work force housing apartments.  Active communities have been planned and designed with amenities, such as  central clubhouses/ recreation centers, swimming pools, playgrounds, and common open spaces.


A “Townhouse” is typically an attached residential structure, located on a separate tax lot. Special knowledge and experience is important on fire separation of individual units.
Derrick designed one of the first townhouse projects in Vancouver, WA over 21 years ago. The project, “Grandview Commons”, won a design award for urban design.

We are experienced in a full range of townhouse configurations. Whatever your site, market, and budget require, we have developed a variety of widths and garage access. We have plans at 17’, 18’, 20’, & 24’ widths, a large variety of floor plans, with entrances located at grade or upper level entry, multiple balcony locations, and both rear and front loaded garages. Townhomes have been a central aspect of our planned unit developments, complete with playgrounds, common open spaces, and walking trails.


We believe in home design that responds to the site, typology, street access, solar angles, views, and local wind conditions, but most importantly what does the client need. We work closely with families and contractors, with Swerhone Architecture; one size does not fit all!

Derrick has a long embraced certain basic residential design principles.

We recognize the importance of proper use of residential vernacular, such as entrance scale and location, or the transition from the public to private realms.  The front elevations, massing, front entry placement, entry orientation, sense of identity, We believe in basics such as the front elevation belongs to the street and garages should be a secondary element from the street.

The home must function today for the family in a variety of roles with flexible rooms of various sizes. Families need space to work, live, play, entertain, relax and feel secure and comfortable.

The majority of single family homes designed by Swerhone Architecture have been in conjunction with planned unit developments. The homes are typically small, unique homes, designed in a “neo-traditional” manner with front porches and rear located garages. The homes are designed as detached, usually around 24’ wide, but range up to 32’-36’ in width, or as wide as the site and the budget allows.

Our design strength is apparent with complicated and challenging sites, be it a steep slope or maybe a narrow or irregular lot or community planning, we can solve the problem.

Derrick has worked with builders on spec homes and on large custom homes, each requiring a different variation of sensibilities but all requiring strong listening skills. With the builder/developer a good understanding of market conditions and the demographic target buyers. Derrick always recommends working closely with a realtor, with an understanding of what is popular and marketable. In custom home design it is very important to spend time programming the home, truly understanding the owner’s lifestyle and needs.

We work with local jurisdictions to ensure timely permits, and provide master planning, and landscape design.

Interested In Working With Us?