5 July 2022
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I met Brett just a few months ago through our mutual friend, Justine Sears at Moroso Construction. Justine has a knack for bringing like minded people together and this was no exception. Though I’ve known Brett only a short time, I have deep admiration for his practice and outlook. His work and relationships are full of grace and intention. We are so pleased to have the opportunity to spend some time with him here at Haven and hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as we have.

Brett Moyer is partner and principal at Richard Beard Architects in San Francisco. Upon joining the firm three years ago, Brett quickly left an impression on founder Richard Beard, who recognized in Brett a designer who operated from a complementary standard of care. The partners share a deep respect for the integrity of the design process and for the long-term relationships they build with their clients and collaborators.

To have had as much good fortune as we have had, we had better enjoy it, and bring an intentionality to our practice that acknowledges that good fortune.

Over the past few years, the firm worked to refresh both its brand and practice, looking for ways to bring even greater intentionality to the practice, and create a sense of community without physical contact. In creating a space for work post-pandemic, (or nearly post-pandemic), the firm has brought its staff back part time, giving each member of the staff the ability to choose which days they are in the office. They place an emphasis on what Brett calls the “gratitude principle,” making sure to celebrate their successes together. They make an effort to continually connect with clients and colleagues they cherish, and focus their business development efforts on people with whom they would like to work, rather than markets they would like to break into. In Brett’s words:

That is how we leverage our good fortune, and give thanks for our opportunities.

Tell us the story of how you came to do what you do?
I’ve wanted to be an architect my whole life—I’ve been building and drawing from the very start. I’m from a small town in Pennsylvania, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water is nearby, in another small town in Western Pennsylvania. I think I started asking to visit when I was five or six, but they don’t allow visitors under the age of twelve, so I had to wait for years. When I finally was able to visit, it was an interesting introduction to architecture. Set above the river, it is sited not to observe the land, but to sit with it. It opened my eyes at a very young age to look at things from a different viewpoint that others might overlook.


What’s the one thing you love most about what you do?
I love the client relationships, I really do—working with them to learn about their dreams, their goals, how they want to live, then helping to make them happen—it’s a gift.

A collaborative design process is a journey, and every home has a narrative. Architecture and design, in a way, are about telling that story.

Who—or what—inspires you?
I’m inspired by the collaboration that our profession allows. I also spend a lot of time in nature, and draw inspiration from the outdoors wherever I am. And I’m inspired by Australia, by its culture and celebration of craft and materials, developed in part by the historic difficulty in importing materials.

What’s the single best business or creative advice you’ve ever received?
During the recession, I was looking to make a change, and decided to relocate from Seattle to San Francisco. As architects do, I pulled together my portfolio. I was advised to do a “dry run,” so I presented it to a firm I knew in Seattle for feedback. The response I received was, ‘It’s very good, you are obviously talented, but that’s not enough.’ It was life-changing advice that pushed me to take something from good to exceptional. I did that, and used the revised portfolio to land a job with my first-choice firm in San Francisco.

Persevering, and pushing through from good to exceptional, is a practice I’ve kept with me for the last 15 years.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be up to?
I think I would be a coach, or a therapist. They share some important similarities with design, guiding people on a journey of self-discovery.

How do you love spending time outside of work?
Really, anything outside—skiing, hiking, frisbee with my dog.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I’m an amateur dream analyst.

If you really pay attention, dreams reveal so much. The narrative, the body language, the way people retell their dreams—those are all part of the interpretation.

The last book you read?
“Cloud Cuckoo Land”, by Anthony Doerr, which inspired me to read his first book, “All The Light We Cannot See”. One of my favorite books is “The Golden Gate”, by Vikram Seth, a novel written entirely in verse.

Where do you live and what are your two “top” things you love about it?
I live in SOMA, and I have a great view of the sunrise. I appreciate a sunset view, but I’m learning that sunrises are all different too. I’m developing an alternate point of view.