Michael Black cphc

Principle/ Design Director

I have always had a passion for designing homes, and creating comfortable and meaningful spaces, that people can call home. At age 10, I received my first drafting table and immediately started designing my first of many homes. Years later, after starting and running my own painting business to get my self through college, lightning struck and changed my life forever. During a casual Friday afternoon conversation a client made a proposal to me. He said “I think you have a great eye for design, when you’re done painting my house, I am going to teach you to be an architect. Blown away and in a state of disbelief, I took him up on his offer. A couple days later, with my newly printed philosophy degree in hand, I began my journey in architecture

After years at the drafting table, I moved to Vermont and decided to continue my education at Vermont Technical college. My journey into residential design and construction continued to take shape after receiving a degree in Architectural and Engineering Technology. After moving back to Fairfield, Connecticut in 2003 and working for various residential design and construction firms, I decided to go out on my own. In 2008, I started M.J. Black Designs focusing on kitchen and bathroom design, mainly in Fairfield County. A few years later, I started Koala Residential Lifestyle, one of a very few true design build firms in Connecticut. We call our process single-source-design-build, it is a uniquely transparent system, based on collaboration and intelligent design, which we find creates the best path for success in residential design and construction.

The Philosophy of Koala Residential Lifestyle is that good architectural design and construction should enhance the environment around us. We believe that, generally, we have the space we need and that space can be organized in a way that complements our individual lifestyles, and we believe that square footage and value are not the same and that bigger is seldom better.

The only love that I have that has outlasted architecture is my love for winter. I love all things snow and to say the least I am an avid skier; however, more importantly I am an avid dad! Global climate change is a huge concern for me not only because it affects what I love to do best but when I imagine how it is going to affect my 5 year old daughter, her friends, and all the 5 year old children in the world it becomes nearly impossible for me to not actively work toward a solution —especially when I have the ability to do so.

The answer for me was simple, and in 2016, I became a certified passive house consultant. Becoming a passive house builder allows us to build homes with zero, or nearly zero, carbon emissions and being a passive house designer allows us to design homes that don’t contribute to the problems we face. While not all of our projects are built to passive house specifications, our knowledge and expertise becomes a part of every renovation. Our mission is to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels on all of our projects by building to a better standard; at Koala Residential Lifestyle we focus on losing less energy to limit the need for more energy. When my daughter asks me what I do, I tell her “Dad works for a forward thinking design-build firm making it possible to live comfortably while reducing our carbon footprint…so we can go skiing!”

This is my journey -Michael Black