Since 1982, Peter Zimmerman has specialized in timeless custom residential architecture throughout the Main Line, Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The Harvard University graduate is highly sought after for his historical restorations. “Designing is what I love to do,” he says, “being part of the creative process every day—living, breathing and sleeping it. I also enjoy the interaction and relationships that develop with clients in residential work.”
His approach: Creating timeless architecture that’s traditional yet open, with an abundance of natural light. My style is eclectic, but it’s also dependent on what’s appropriate to the cultural and historic landscape of the area. It’s design based on appropriate proportion and scale, and the sequencing of spaces—creating a total experience.
Most prized possessions: The art and antiques we’ve collected throughout my marriage, and the family pieces we’ve inherited. I’m also quite partial to my weather vane collection.
Architects who inspire him: Andrea Palladio, who was the foundation of the Italian Renaissance [period], and Sir Edward Lutyens, a transitional figure between the classical Beaux Arts tradition and modernism who showed great sensitivity to the site and the design of gardens.
Design advice he loves to give: Hire a design professional whose work you like and who you’re comfortable with personally. Don’t be afraid to change your mind or say what you don’t like. There are many good solutions to any given design challenge.
Elements he incorporates into a space: Transparency, views, and a close interaction between the inside and the outside spaces—including gardens, terraces and courtyards.
Favorite design trend: Inherent in what I do is not subscribing to trends. Good design is timeless. Trends—be they in design or fashion—become dated.
Favorite rooms to design: I have no favorites—one room builds on another. I do take interest in what are seemingly the least important spaces in a house, like hallways and transition rooms. They are key in punctuating the primary rooms because they create the whole experience. This is not to say that designing the primary rooms is not equally satisfying—just in a different way.
His definition of good taste: Not buckling to trends. Knowing when to make a statement and when to be reserved. There’s too much architecture that screams, “Look at me!” Quiet elegance is my definition of good taste.
Biggest architectural faux pas: Inappropriate use of material and design elements through a lack of historic knowledge.