From Garage Conversions to New Hillside Estates: The Story of MNichols Design


Architecture is undoubtedly one of the highly-coveted career paths. It’s an exciting discipline connected to many other sectors and aspects of life. But it also takes a lot of work to develop as an architect, find success, and create a successful profession. Mark Nichols’ story, from garage conversions to new hillside estates, is an inspiring journey you need to hear.

With over a decade of extensive architectural experience, Mark Nichols stands out as one of the industry’s top minds and professionals. He is the founder and owner of MNichols Design, a leading architectural design firm. MNichols Design offers a comprehensive knowledge of the built environment that facilitates architectural solutions custom-made to each client’s needs. With licenses to operate in California and Washington State, Nichols is bringing the next level of design excellence and expertise to more typical residential projects, from single-family, mixed-use, and multi-family to commercial projects.

Previously, Nichols worked at various high-end design firms in Seattle and Los Angeles, designing some of the fantastic dream homes characteristic of Southern California Coastal living. He leveraged this experience to establish MNichols Design, helping democratize great design and make high-end Architectural Services more available to a wider clientele. With all the budget companies popping up offering fast and cheap design services, MNichols Design is a balanced alternative, providing thoughtful and custom-tailored design services at a reasonable price. Incredibly, Nichols was awarded an AIA merit award for “La Arca”, a design-build team project through an actual architecture workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Nichols’s biggest challenge is modifying some of its greatest designs due to external constraints. “It is difficult because I front load projects with a lot of time investment to provide a thoroughly-developed and thoughtful design. What is great about this process is that it usually gets early client sign-off, and they are excited about their project…then, sometimes there are unfortunate changes that cannot be avoided, which requires some painstaking re-design and careful adjustments in order to meet the new externally imposed requirements while still maintaining the Client’s unique vision” he explains. But regardless, the MNichols Design team has mastered the art of constantly re-design and pushing to come up with new iterations that meet the external constraints that match and excite the client.

Having faced and overcome numerous hurdles, Nichols believes that challenges can derail you but can never block your success. Therefore, pursue every ambition and creative idea you have. It only matters if you can figure out the initial step path. “Just find a way to dip your foot in the water without overextending yourself,” he says. You will be surprised what you can accomplish if you are willing to devise a reasonable plan for achieving it, work hard and relentlessly, and make others, especially clients, feel confident that you are addressing their needs.

The real estate industry is a dynamic and fast-paced sector with new trends. For years, Nichols has been keeping track of these trends, and it’s his goal to join the list of industry leaders driving the real estate trends. He wants to scale MNichols Design by creating some innovative and timeless designs for larger projects with a larger impact on the built environment. His goal is to see the brand start providing a full range of architectural services for a more diverse clientele. This includes serving the whole spectrum of potential residential clients, from small garage conversion ADU projects to high-end custom estate projects as well as tackling large Mixed-Use Multi-family Projects.

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