These entries present ideas about how buildings, cities, and landscapes can be made into better places for humans. Humane Design is published by Jeremy Fretts, and is committed to "improving the human habitat." Jeremy Fretts is a designer and project architect at Niles Bolton Associates, and a member of the Congress for New Urbanism.    RSS/XML

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Patchogue, then and now

I'm deeply honored to have designed this mixed use building on a premier corner site in the heart of Patchogue, New York.  My design (on the right, in its promotional rendering) replaces the old Swezey's Department Store, which stood for around 120 years.  It's bittersweet - the old architecture is really great, but long vacant.  I like to think I honored its presence in the new design. I can only hope that my work lasts that long, and is replaced with a respectful and vibrant succesor.


Design featured in New York Times!

I am responsible for the exterior appearance of the New Village at Patchogue, which was just featured in the New York Times!




Published! Introduction to Google Sketchup

  I'm excited to announce that my rendering was selected as the cover art for the new Introduction to Google Sketchup textbook!   Purchase it here, so Amazon will give me a few pennies.

The featured project was a competition design for a southern California university's new dining and residence halls.  I was responsible for this rendering, and the dining hall design.  Others involved on the Niles Bolton team included Vicki Kuan in San Jose, and Brian Ward in Atlanta. 


New Village at Patchogue

I'm excited to see this project moving forward.  I was responsible for the exterior design of the apartment/mixed-use buildings which will now start construction.  The "Four Corners" building is the most prominent interstection in the Village of Patchogue, and one of my best urban infill designs.


Ultimate multi-purpose furniture

I love good furniture.  When it multitasks and saves space, it's even better.  Check out this line of ultimate space-saving furniture.  It also happens to be elegant and good-looking.


Housing the homeless + Bungalow courts = WIN!

I'm a big fan of California's tradition of building bungalows around a courtyard (aka "Mews"), especially popular in the 1920s.  Architecture firm Modative just won a competition for converting derelict bungalows into housing for the homeless.  What a fantastic idea! Congratulations to Modative and their interdisciplinary team.


Odenton Town Center - Model and Movie

I recently completed a 3D model and promotional video interpreting the Odenton Town Center master plan. You can watch the full 10-minute promotional video here:


Authors of record: Niles Bolton Associates Architects & Koller Communications

Project Architect: Jeremy Fretts

Client: Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation



Perfect Kitchen

The "perfect kitchen" for the gourmet apartment dweller. The bulkhead conceals additional storage.The "perfect" kitchen is, of course, different for every user!  However, I frequently design apartment kitchens.  By definition, these are the kitchens for "everyman."   Yet how many apartment and condo kitchens truly function well?  In addition, the designer of a kitchen in a multifamily dwelling has to take into consideration the enormous legal responsibility of complying with national Fair Housing standards, and any local codes or civil rights laws.  As a result,  far too often these kitchens are "code-compliant," or even "usable" by legal definitions,  but not at all pleasant to use.

This kitchen folly is based on converting my own condo kitchen (which I rent) into something visually exciting, and uber-functional.  However, it is broadly applicable to so many typical apartment units.


Dressing up Virginia

I live in Northern Virginia, where Colonial style first met production housing.  So much housing stock here was built in the 1950's.  It is well constructed, but horribly banal. The floor plans are outdated, and the facades are the drollest of simplified colonial, repeated mercilessly.  For better or worse, it's also extremely valuable real estate in one of the country's most expensive housing markets.  

Recently, I did a quick study of how to convert one of these bland dwellings into something a bit more lively and contemporary.  This hypothetical example is in the Hume Springs neighborhood, next door to "hip" Del Ray (both in the City of Alexandria, VA).  


Squeezing into a Studio Apartment

Studio apartment with maximum storageRecently, I've considered how I might squeeze into a studio apartment.  Designing the space could be a lot of fun, but I have a lot of "stuff" to fit in.  As seen here, I've concealed the bed ever so slightly behind a compact desk.  For additional privacy, a curtain can be drawn across.

Shown are Ikea "Billy" bookcases and "Pax" wardrobes.  "Lack" shelves are used to create a finished top on the shorter bookcases.