I have wanted to be an architect and design spaces for people to live and work in since I learned there was such a thing. As a young child, I watched the construction of the Marin County Civic Center knew that it was designed by a famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. I loved visiting model homes and would come home and sketch up “improvements” that mostly included elaborate kids areas that were easy to clean up and hide away the clutter. As I got older, I designed multi-story dream homes with big libraries on the dining room table and mentally improved every home or office I visited.
As soon as I could, I began taking drafting classes and, as a high school student, prepared construction plans for a local contractor. I was one of the lucky few accepted to the Architecture program at Cal Poly SLO directly out of high school and graduated in 1978.
I moved to Calaveras County in 1979 and began designing and doing permit plans for homes here in Calaveras and Amador counties. I was soon offered a job with an architect in Jackson and completed most of my required internship doing residential and commercial projects with him. I later joined a small firm, Aspen Steet Architects where I worked on projects ranging from small residential additions to school & hospital renovations and master planning of replacement campuses.
Since 1994 I’ve been operating my firm, Michelle Plotnik, Architect, and doing mostly custom residential, small commercial and public agency work.
I now limit the number of full-service projects (from the first idea to move in) that I take on to allow me time to provide consulting and limited design services to more clients. I love to design things, solve problems and, never get tired of architecture. I enjoy meeting with people and helping them come up with a solution to their design challenge, whatever it is. And, I enjoy translating peoples ideas into a building or space that fits their life or work style.
I’m a licensed architect, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in cabinets, colors, and light fixtures. I always tell my clients if it’s attached to the building, and will still be there after we pick it up and shake it, it’s fair game for me. I do draw the line at selecting furnishings and throw pillows or vases (I’m just not knowledgeable enough about upholstery and that kind of thing), but I’m happy to work out the furniture layout, offer some style suggestions, and make sure there are places to display or store anything you have in mind. I love being involved in a project from start to finish. And yes, I do kitchen and bath design including detailed cabinet design and help with the selection of every item.
I know that not every client wants, or can afford, that much involvement in their project but they may want help solving a particular problem or getting the preliminary design nailed down. Please feel free to call about any project or question you have in mind and, if I’m not the right person to help you, I will try to get you to someone who might be.
Over the years I have developed a particular expertise in sustainable and high snow design and particularly enjoy working in the mountain and foothill regions of California. I live in a beautiful place, and I am grateful every day for the opportunity to live, play and work here. I am so fortunate to have been able to spend my entire career doing exactly what I dreamed of as a child in a community to which I feel deeply attached.
As a local business person and architect, I am involved with many local organizations including the Murphys Business Association and the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway Association. I also serve as a subject matter expert for the California Architects Board and was involved with testing administration and the development of the California Supplemental Licensing Exam for many years. I am currently serving at the District 3 Planning Commissioner for Calaveras County.