As an architect, Richard Morrison finally achieved one of his secret design fantasies. He’s always wanted to design a secret room behind a swinging bookcase, and finally got to create one for an Atherton client to house the audio-visual equipment for a media room.
The secret room concept has always fascinated Morrison, perhaps because he started out as a professional magician and stage hypnotist, including a stint as a street performer on Fisherman’s Wharf. He still looks back on the experience fondly. “If the bottom ever falls out of architecture, I still have another career,” he smiles.
It doesn’t look as if it’s going to, however. Since he started his own practice in May of 1987, his business in residential design has flourished.
Prior to setting up his own business, he worked for some of the major health care design firms in San Francisco, designing everything from CAT Scan suites to Intensive Care Units, from OB/GYN departments to Emergency rooms.
“Working for years with the incredibly strict State Codes forced me to be meticulous, and to recognize the many possible things that can go wrong on a construction project. Things HAVE to be done right, and I still carry that same concern.”
Working in the residential field, though, has been a liberating experience for Morrison. “There is much more opportunity for design creativity, and I really enjoy working closely with my clients.”
Morrison was also a licensed real estate broker for more than 25 years, although he devotes his time exclusively to architecture now. “I originally got the license as a way of learning about real estate.” He carries his real estate knowledge with him into his architectural practice to better advise his clients on maximizing their property’s value.
He’s taught Home Remodeling at a number of schools in the Bay Area, and currently teaches for Foothill-DeAnza Colleges, in addition to writing columns on Home Remodeling for Bay Area newspapers and national magazines.
He is one of the country’s few architects who is NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Designer Qualification) certified in interior design. He was the 2004-2005 President of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) California Peninsula Chapter, which has more than 500 members, and has lectured nationwide for the ASID on Residential Construction Management as part of their Continuing Education Program.
Richard was the founder and chair emeritus of the Small Firm Forum at the East Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and has been a Director on the Board of the San Mateo County Chapter of the AIA. He graduated with High Honors from the architectural program at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana campus) in 1977, and has been licensed to practice architecture in California since 1983.
His work has been featured on KGO-TV’s and HGTV’s popular show, “The House Doctor.”
He’s now in a NEW LOCATION!!!