Throughout Jesse’s portfolio, it is apparent that the range of design styles he has explored is robust. However, it begs the question of why his style is so diverse in relation to other design firms across North America. We believe that Jesse’s use of sketching is the impetus behind this, allowing him to properly proportion each home he designs through an organically creative process of exploration and trial and error. This approach creates a highly inspiring and collaborative environment within our studio that Jesse continues to be driven by in his search for timelessness in every one of the private residences he is requested to design.

It is a result of this creative experience that we developed an association between being known for one architectural design style and mass-produced design. Almost as if this approach was centred around the creation of a standardized style formula used as a way of training staff to produce designs without the principles of the firm being intimately involved in every single one. We see this as commerce, not art. Instead, we enjoy our direct connection to the design process and the intricacies as well as the challenges that each design process presents, including the permitting process. This approach allows us to have fun and explore our client's stylistic desires without rigid structures limiting the possibilities of what can be achieved. It also allows us to to carve our own path, creating a wide range of unique homes that all have an unreplicable and distinct signature, despite their vast stylistic differences.

This signature can't be mimicked by just anyone and is identifiable no matter what style is being approached. It is for this reason that Jesse continues to be the lead designer and sole decision maker of the stylistic direction and proportions of every custom home design Sensus Design Studio is responsible for: sketching, completing sun studies, and immersing himself in the whimsical and technical aspects of each home he commits to. Of course, we couldn't do this alone, and we have a dedicated small team who is up to the challenge of bringing Jesse’s complex and detailed designs to life in both visualized and technical formats.




Running Sensus Design Studio has offered Jesse and me an endless well of creativity, largely through the unique projects that present creative opportunities most would dream of and that we continue to be grateful for every day. This cadence of design opportunities has put our firm in a position where we have the pleasure of meeting unique individuals with unique stylistic desires who understand Jesse to be the right man for the job to bring these diverse ideas to life. As a result, every day we can walk into our studio with excitement to develop our ideas, shaping our artistic outlook through a range of creative influences and ideas, including the design of our carefully curated surroundings within our studio, our reference library, a range of print and products that offer inspiration in different forms, and our dedicated team’s unique refining ideas and input.


Throughout our journey, Jesse and I have also admired the work of firms across the globe that we have come across through our travels, prominent publications, or even through social media. What we found is that every firm had its own style that they identified with and designed within this category of architectural style(s). While some do one thing and do it well, most end up losing the “soul” of the original style they became known for; we consider this to be the worst-case scenario for our firm as it is often a result of the lead architect who initially carved the unique path for the firm has stepped back. This understanding led to us questioning why no one has been more explorative. And why do some firms “plateau” in their creative journeys? Is it a lack of understanding of different styles? Is it a lack of interest in expanding their design repertoire? Is it complacency? While the answer is more complex than we can capture in this article, we wanted to document our experience in this category as our stylistic exploration desires continue to grow and change as time passes, our experience grows, and new opportunities present themselves.


To start, I believe it's prudent to understand our experience of being drawn to different styles, as we often feel that our passion for design exploration creates a feeling of our stylistic desires bursting at the seams of our professional lives. It is both a good and overwhelming feeling that fuels our passion for exploring new design styles and putting these ideas on paper to create experiential environments. Another important aspect of this exploration continues to be our travels, exposing us to both historic and new architectural design styles and design details that we wouldn’t otherwise have a reference for within the Ontario custom home design market. This aspect of being exposed to a different “pond” of design styles that have been shaped in their own way by historic policies, local topography and natural features, and historical events is an ever-exciting opportunity for us both to explore.



A great example of the evolution of Jesse’s design signature can be found when looking back on the early years of Jesse’s career, when modern or contemporary design (or what we call his first love), was the end-all and be-all of the stylistic and creative journey. This undertone of contemporary features, however, still serves to play a role in Jesse’s process today to varying degrees. However, its role is far less rigid than the flat roof designs most people associate this style with, serving to compliment historic design styles of the past as he provides updated renditions that offer modern-day amenities and light-hearted detailing.

It is with this excitement and spirit in mind that both Jesse and I continue to experience the same beginner-minded excitement when designing and critiquing different renditions of architectural design styles. Understanding the historical origins, the nuances of refinements and characteristic changes that occurred throughout the centuries, and then interpreting these styles through our own lens. This is a very specific undertaking as every minor refining feature, including some that our viewers might never catch, can change the character of the design, and the way the design will characterize the surrounding neighborhood for decades to come. More importantly, it creates a cohesively designed environment no matter where you stand on the grounds.




The sense of stewardship we feel as designers is certainly logical, as it is a fact that our art will characterize the surrounding neighborhoods they are set in for decades to come. This feeling is reinforced by the idea that several of our favorite architectural works are in some cases up to 500 years old. These homes have stood the test of time, transcending historical periods, the rise and fall of different leaders, and a vast array of architectural design styles. Each of these architectural works shares a commonality; they were each designed with a high level of specificity, and while some of them may not have been understood at the time, they were perfect in the eyes of the artist. With this sentiment in mind, Jesse’s intention is to continue developing unique designs that are perfect in his world, because our belief is that if he loves it then others will love what are often multigenerational assets.

With this inspiration in mind, it's hard to lose sight of the excitement of continuing to explore unique design styles when there is so much in the wonderful world of design to explore. Doing so within the context of continuing our hands-on involvement as the sole creative directors of Sensus Design Studio will never not be exciting to us. And while we hope to have several decades left in our careers, one day we will be forced to name our successors. Until then, we we hope that our fans continue to enjoy the stylistic diversity and unique signature that Jesse Sahlani has come to be known for.

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