At Pella, our quality of service is just as important as the quality of our windows and doors. That’s why our partner architectural design firms choose Pella over the competition time and time again.
We sat down with one such partner, David C. Zweber, Principal Designer and Founder of David Charlez Designs. David has had a long and productive relationship with Pella, even before the creation of his highly successful design firm. We caught up with him to discuss his work, his “why,” and the bright future of DCD.
David Charlez Designs: A Lifelong Dream
David C. Zweber had always had a strong creative side. Often found building structures with tinker toys, erector sets, and Legos, it was clear from his childhood that David had a knack for bringing his creative visions to life.
“I was always more of a left brain thinker,” David explains. “Something in the creative arts was definitely going to be my passion.”
As he got older, he developed an interest in the residential architecture and design industry. Even when he was in high school, David would attend the Parade of Homes to marvel at the ingenuity and elegance of the architectural designs.
Today, David is the Principal Designer and Founder of his own award-winning design firm, David Charlez Designs. A small boutique firm of six, DCD specializes in high-end residential custom homes.
His firm’s most recent accolades include a 2022 Best of Houzz Design Award, several 2022 Housing First Trillium Awards, and the prestigious 2022 Grand ARDA (American Residential Design Award).
We sat down with David to get some insight into how he began his career, what separates his firm from the competition, and what’s in store for DCD in the future.
Q: How did David Charlez Designs get started?
D: I’d already started my career with a large builder in the area, but when the recession hit and the industry cooled off, I took a little break. Then, in 2012 when the building industry started to show some life, I decided to go out on my own. I started my own firm, and brought a few others with me whom I'd worked with in my previous careers. We’ve quickly grown over the last 10 years.
Q: What would you say are the benefits of being a small boutique firm?
D: We really like the size that we’re at: we all know what’s going on in every project at any given time. We don’t have layers of management. Our office has a really tight-knit, family-style dynamic that works well for the type of work that we do.
Q: Who is the ideal customer of David Charlez Designs?
D: Most of our clients want homes that don’t have to be huge in square footage, but that are architecturally significant. These homes exhibit major attention to detail, high-end features, and designs that lend themselves to a more sophisticated lifestyle.
We’ve done a wide variety of styles—anything from traditional to modern, and quite a bit of everything in between. We’re not niched to a single architectural style like some firms; we prefer to have more of an expansive portfolio so we can be a candidate for any project that’s out there.
Q: What draws clients to your firm?
D: Most of the time, clients will gravitate toward a home that we’ve done in the past. People will see something that really catches their eye, and they’ll want to use the design as inspiration for their project. That’s the typical route to us.
We also keep good relationships with our builder clients. We work as a team with our custom builders, which encourages them to refer a lot of work to us. So we also receive clients who are going directly to the builders themselves.
Q: What do you love most about the work that you do?
D: I love seeing things created. In certain jobs, you’re just doing a task and you never get to see the finished product. But with our work, it might be a year or two out, but you actually get to see each unique creation.
It’s also very fulfilling work. A home is most people’s single largest investment, so they’re deeply passionate about it. It’s one of the most significant moves anyone makes in their life, so watching that dream be fulfilled is very satisfying for us.
As a firm, we enjoy the creativity of each project. Every project is different from the previous one, and we never get niched into a specific style. While people might draw inspiration from a previous house, we always try to make it look totally unique.
Q: How long have you partnered with Pella?
I’ve been working with Pella since before I even started my firm. Back in the late 90’s when I worked with that first builder, Pella was our go-to window supplier. On our higher end projects, we used them exclusively.
I love Pella’s design styles, the profiles of their windows, and the wide variety of windows and doors you can get with Pella.
Q: What keeps you coming back to Pella?
D: Even though Pella is a large company, it feels like you’re dealing with a mom-and-pop type shop, so that’s special because you don’t get that in a lot of places.
But the high level of service behind their products is what really separates Pella from their competitors. They’ve got a great team of people who support not only the architectural side of things, but the builder side as well. If you pick up the phone to call Pella, you're going to get somebody who can answer your questions. I’ve always been impressed by both their products and the service that comes with them.
Q: How has the partnership impacted your business?
D: Because of the great service Pella provides, it just makes it easy for us to specify their products and go into our projects with confidence. Many firms just don’t get how important of a component that is. Anytime we recommend a product, it’s our reputation on the line, so we need whatever product we refer to really come through. Pella has never let us down, and I’ve always been extremely impressed with them.
Q: What’s in the future for David Charlez Designs?
D: We’re working across the states now—we’ve got as many projects going out of state as we do in-state. Missouri, Dallas, Michigan, Montana, etc…. We’re expanding our reach. I always find it interesting that someone is willing to pick up the phone and call someone across the country and say, “Hey, are you interested in our project?” But that’s what they do! And we’re grateful for it.
To find out more about David and the team at David Charlez Designs, visit their website and peruse their stunning portfolio and award-winning builds.
Partner With Pella For Your Next Project
Does your next project need a sophisticated selection of windows and doors, as well as a high level of service and support? Contact Pella today to see how we can partner with you to make your creative vision a reality.