About ACM Design
Welcome to ACM Design
Welcome to ACM Design, an Award Winning Asheville architecture and interior design firm. We’re happy you have taken a moment to get to know more about our firm and the architectural and interior design services we offer at ACM Design. We believe designing a home is more than a set of blueprints, it’s about creating a space that encompasses your way of life, your personality and your style. A home is a true reflection of you.
Whether designing and building a new home, renovating an existing home, or simply updating rooms, most people need the help of qualified professionals to get the job done right. The process is certainly exciting, but working through all of the details can be intimidating.
We encourage our clients to begin the process by asking questions, not only about their project but also about ACM Design. Below, we’ve listed some of the Frequently Asked Questions from potential clients to put your mind at ease as you consider the next steps.
Q: What should I expect from ACM Design?
Our primary responsibility is to serve as your advocate throughout your project. Our focus is client driven and process oriented to enrich creativity, and collaboration. A few ways we serve our clients:
- Listen well and involve our clients in the creative process.
- Focus on client priorities and needs, not our own directives.
- Find creative ways to negotiate design components where client partners may have conflicting ideas.
- Balance design ideas with budget parameters.
- Prepare thorough and accurate construction documents.
- Establish a supportive and cohesive team for your project by working collaboratively with the client, the builder, and other design professionals.
Q: Who will make up my project team?
At ACM Design, we are small by design. Led by Amy Conner-Murphy, our design team is comprised of a handful of talented individuals who have a history of working together successfully on custom home projects. By limiting the number of projects we commit to each year, we can focus on giving each home the attention it deserves. It is truly a creative process to make a house a home. While that requires the work of our entire team, your primary contact will be Amy Conner-Murphy.
Q: What type of services does ACM Design provide?
At ACM Design, our goal is to provide services that meet the specific needs of our clients. We specialize in integrated design services, including architecture, interior design and outdoor living design, for custom new home and renovation projects with clients seeking a cohesive design approach. We incorporate appropriate sustainable design concepts and materials for each of our projects.
Q: How are fees determined?
Our fees are based upon the scope of work and the level of service that is requested by the client. Typically, fees are quoted as follows:
- For new construction, Design and Construction Documents are quoted as a fixed fee. This fee is based upon a percentage of an initial, realistic construction budget (see Process Q/A below). Each phase of work is assigned a specific portion of the total fee.
- For renovation projects, Design and Construction Documents are quoted as either a fixed fee or as an estimate of hours, depending upon the clarity of the scope of work.
- Construction administration and architectural consulting are billed at an hourly rate.
- Interior Design is quoted at an hourly rate or as a fixed fee depending upon the scope of work.
Q: What is the process for establishing a scope of work and associated fees?
At ACM Design, we have developed our own Pre-Project Evaluation that allows both client and design professional to establish realistic expectations for design and budget at the beginning of a project. This process demonstrates to potential clients that we are looking after their best interests, even before asking them to commit to our team. Below are the steps to our process:
- Initial meeting and site visit (if possible)
- Discussion of client priorities and needs
- Review of Service Level packages and options
- Client completion of our Residential Architecture Questionnaire
- ACM Design preparation of proprietary Project Projection Summary
- ACM Design submission of Proposal and Contract based upon agreed upon Scope
Q: Once we have committed to work with ACM Design, what are the steps for a design and construction project?
These steps our outlined on our Services page.
Q: What is the value of working with the ACM Design team?
Our clients often say that the key to their successful project was having a qualified team with a strong leader to be their guide through the entire design and construction process. Here are a few specific reasons why:
- ACM Design Pre-Project Evaluation
- Client-driven design process
- Thorough construction documents — With a complete set of plans by ACM Design, the Builder can provide a cost estimate based upon known expectations. When an Owner has taken the time to plan carefully during the design phase and the Builder knows at the start what will be built, costly delays and change orders during construction are minimized.
- Perhaps the most obvious value lies in the design team’s ability to provide the design aesthetic you are searching for by creating a well-functioning home with visually pleasing character and style. Ultimately, the value of your property is enhanced by an appropriate architectural design, improved functionality and high-quality detailing provided by ACM Design.
We listen to our clients and here’s what they say:
“ACM Design provided us a complete package from conceptual sketches to overall development of the home design to material selections to construction drawings to working out the detail of an awesome color palette. Amy excelled at making sure that the details enhanced the overall design.
Starting with our vision she designed our home to fit and match to the dynamics of the site. Amy proposed an integrated design of both in interior and exterior concepts with the goal of creating a unified style and ambiance. During the design process, she offered design strategies, led our visits to showrooms and provided online sources to finalize selections and confirm pricing.
It was our plan to obtain firm pricing, so Amy developed the construction drawings and project manual that was used during the bid process and ultimately led to our contractor selection. After the bids were submitted she took us thru an optimization process to balance scope with budget.
Amy coordinated the design with architectural detailing, materials, finishes, millwork, casings, lighting, fixtures, hardware, and accessories. When changes were made during construction, she was there to make it happen seamlessly.
We need to say a special word about color balance. Amy’s sense of color is amazing. The one question that most people ask is: How did you get all those pieces and colors to be seamless? The answer is simple: Amy.
When you start to build a house, you think it is will be easy, and then you find out that you are building a puzzle with 10,000 pieces. Amy is a master puzzle builder.”
“My husband and I chose Amy Conner-Murphy to design our new home in the Asheville, North Carolina area from among a number of well-credentialed architects. Amy has proven herself to be an exceptionally talented architect and as our home nears completion we could not be happier. Our rapport with Amy was immediate and she quickly distinguished herself as someone with imagination, skill and flexibility. We also greatly benefited from Amy’s network of building professionals and with her help were able to quickly assemble our construction team including our builder, landscape architect and key vendors. Amy has encouraged a two-way dialogue throughout the design phase emphasizing that in this partnership our questions, ideas and uncertainties are a welcome and expected part of the process. Amy designed exterior and interior spaces that have transformed our new house into an invitingly comfortable family home; one that feels as if it has existed for years, nestled into the surrounding mountain landscape, with interior warmth and charm. Our intent as empty nesters has been to downsize by having rooms function for multiple purposes, such as guest bedrooms that also serve as home offices and a dining nook for two that can expand into the adjacent open space living room for larger gatherings. We wanted to create spaces that could easily accommodate friends and family while retaining an intimate coziness for just the two of us. With Amy’s skill and dedication we feel that we are realizing that vision. We thank Amy for making the entire process surprisingly easy and fun.”
“My husband and I invited Amy Conner-Murphy to assist us in refreshing our home prior to beginning our retirement years. Having lived in our home for twenty years we wanted Amy’s guidance and expertise in making needed upgrades and improvements to our existing home. Amy offered assistance with our interior and exterior spaces. While our home is a modest one, we longed to bring beauty, function and comfort to our “nest” so that we and others could enjoy our home as a warm and welcoming space. Amy understood our goals completely; gently and patiently giving guidance as we needed it in decisions great and small. We are pleased with the transformation that has occurred within our home and are delighted to have had Amy to show us the way. Daily we enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. Amy Conner-Murphy is a creative, talented and gifted ‘beauty maker’.”
“We so enjoy the house and offer a very heartfelt thank you for all you’ve done. We look forward to a continued friendship.”
“We had a week here for the first time in a long time. We can only thank you so much. The home captures us anew each time we are here.”
“In early conversations we were impressed with Amy’s experience in commercial and residential architecture. What really sold us were her intelligent questions and early renditions based on our input. We could not be happier with the final result. ACM Design translated our preferences into a warm and comfortable home that takes full advantage of the location, combining indoor and outdoor living areas.”
“We chose Amy because of her professionalism, her ability to communicate her ideas to us in a way that made sense and her ability to understand what we were trying to accomplish. Simply put, she got it.”
“Building a house can be a stressful experience particularly when your new home is 700 miles away. Working with Amy took all the stress and worries out of the process. The time spent in the design process was impressive with Amy making sure she knew what we liked but spending equal time understanding what we didn’t like. Our schedule didn’t allow us to spend much time at the job but the weekly site visit updates made us feel like we were there!
A few times we panicked during the selections process, thinking we missed something or made a bad materials choice, but Amy was calm and reassuring, drawing from the list of things we liked and didn’t like, always leading us in making the right decision. Amy and team made building a home remotely a wonderful experience. Elaine and I highly recommend her and we would work with her in an instant if we were to build again.”
“Amy became an immediate friend as she explored my dreams, shared laughs, was firm but patient and realistic when I headed off on tangents. She guided me through an incredible journey.”
“We built this home to nurture us. And we love parties . . . it’s very well laid out for entertainment. We had the “dream team” and that’s why we got the best result. It was such a pleasure to work with all of them.”
We value our professional working relationships:
“I’ve worked with Amy since 2004 on multiple projects. Amy approaches every project with a collaborative effort and always has the clients’ best interest in mind. She is creative, detailed, thorough and is always striving to make the project better. I highly recommend Amy as a talented Architect.”
“We are custom home builders who have been building in Western North Carolina for over 20 years and we have worked with many architects in the area. It’s been our privilege to work with ACM design multiple times in the last few years, and they have quickly become one of our favorite architecture firms. Not only are their designs well thought out and beautifully done, but ACM makes it easy and enjoyable to build from their plans. The attention to detail and superb organization of ACM’s construction drawings are one of the things that impress us most, as builders. ACM’s team is personable and intelligent and they get our highest recommendation.”
“Over the past several years I’ve had the privilege of working on several custom residential projects designed by Amy Conner-Murphy. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to witness first-hand her working process and the end results.
Amy engages clients throughout the design and construction process integrating their desires and needs with the disciplines of durability, sustainability, and a sense of luxury. Her expertise in construction methods, material application, and spatial relations creates exterior and interior environments of the highest design integrity.
She is articulate, thorough, and a leader that fosters collaboration among all members of the design/build team. Amy Conner-Murphy has earned my utmost respect and recommendation as an architect at the top of her field.”
“Since 2005 I have worked on multiple projects with Amy and the staff of ACM Design. I have found her to be in tune with the client’s vision, designing within budget and other worldly constraints, and always coming up with solutions that feel right. She is a good listener and collaborator. Amy and her staff have always been a pleasure to work for. I recommend her highly.”
“The most qualified and professional architects we have ever worked with, ACM has a great eye for design and an ability to work with any situation presented to her. ACM is always open to new ideas and willing to listen to other perspectives. Very detailed construction and design oriented company. We hope to work with this company for many years to come.”
“Amy’s clear talent for creative design is complimented by her professional manner and friendly personality. I have greatly enjoyed working with Amy on recent projects and would highly recommend her to prospective clients as an inspired and skillful architect.”
“ACM Design is known for their professionalism and versatility in design and architecture, seamlessly delivering beyond each client’s expectations. Amy Conner-Murphy is conscientious, creative and delightful to work with. We highly recommend ACM Design for the most discerning clientele.”
ACM Design is a small, collaborative design firm that specializes in custom residential design. By integrating the disciplines of architecture, interior design and outdoor living design, we focus on creating an overall vision of home that reflects the individual personalities and priorities of our clients.
We have had the privilege of working with clients from all over the country who have chosen to make a home here in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Over the years, our client base has expanded to serve families in other areas of North Carolina, upstate South Carolina and East Tennessee, all from our south Asheville studio.
For any successful project, collaboration is the key. Our studio is comprised of a small team of talented individuals, each bringing a particular expertise and knowledge to every home project. Simply put, our goal is to create well-designed homes that are comfortable and beautiful spaces in which to live –homes balanced with quality, longevity and environmental sensitivity.
Amy Conner-Murphy, AIA – Principal Architect and Designer:
Founder Amy Conner-Murphy, began ACM Design over a decade ago after relocating to Asheville with her family.
Architecture had always provided inspiration for Amy, but focus on work that was more personal in nature held even greater meaning. After many years of nurturing the idea of designing homes that created that sense of place and belonging that she longed for herself, Amy made the move to do just that.
Drawing from her background with notable corporate and commercial architecture firms in Charlotte, NC and Dallas, TX, she began this small architectural studio with a challenging first project — to design a comfortable home with a limited budget for her own growing family. In addition to design, she was on site every day managing the construction, and on occasion wielding her own hammer.
Since those early days, Amy has assembled a team of like-minded professionals, committed to excellence in design, quality, integrity, service and the ideal of — creating home.
When not designing homes, Amy enjoys family time with husband, Steve and daughters, Rebecca and Julia. She nurtures her creative side by gardening, hiking, painting and soul collage. Amy serves as Treasurer of AIA Asheville, as well as on the Education Committees of AIA North Carolina and Asheville Homebuilders Association.
Reid deJarnette Wood - Project Architect
Reid grew up in Atlanta, GA, spending her summers in Western North Carolina. She attended Washington University in St. Louis where she graduated from the School of Architecture. She returned to Atlanta in 1994 and studied at Georgia Institute of Technology, earning her Masters Degree in Architecture.
After working at a high end residential firm in Atlanta for a few years after graduation, Reid was drawn to the West. In 1998 she moved to Ketchum, Idaho to work with a residential architecture firm specializing in healthy and sustainable building.
After several years, Reid returned to her southern roots and settled in Western North Carolina. She has continued to focus her career on residential architecture, but has also worked on a variety of projects including churches, commercial buildings, and single- and multi-family homes. Reid is a LEED Accredited Professional with extensive experience with projects that utilize alternative, healthy, and environmentally sensitive building materials. Her eighteen-plus years of experience has provided her with expertise in several computer drafting programs for the production of construction documents and three-dimensional building studies.
When Reid is not practicing architecture, she enjoys hiking the mountain trails with her husband and 3 dogs. She is an avid traveler, seeking destinations both far away and close to home. She also finds contentment playing in her garden in the spring and fall and donating her time to several local civic organizations.
Miles Smith – Project Designer:
Growing up in rural Western North Carolina, Miles spent a large amount of his time on construction sites with his father, working in roles from finish carpentry to managing HVAC projects. This, coupled with early experiences at Penland School of Craft provided a key foundation upon which a passion for architectural design would later flourish.
After completing his undergraduate at Appalachian State University, Miles went on to pursue his Masters of Architecture at Boston Architectural College. While in Boston, he worked at historical KMW Architects on numerous international and domestic institutional projects. After continuing to work with numerous commercial and residential firms throughout the Northeast, Miles was invited to return to his alma mater at Appalachian State University to teach courses in Interior Design, Construction Technology, and Architectural design.
Miles has most recently settled back into a professional role practicing design at ACM Design, where he hopes to make a meaningful contribution back to the local vernacular which had such an early impact on his role as a designer. He enjoys restoring vintage motorcycles, reading, and traveling with his new wife, Rachel.
Heather Radford – Marketing & Design Assistant:
A native of Asheville, Heather Radford, graduated from TC Roberson High School and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of NC in Asheville. She continued her post baccalaureate education at Western Carolina University, graduating with a Master of Entrepreneurship degree.
After completing her educational degrees, Heather worked for several local businesses on marketing projects, but focused the majority of her attention on growing her family, welcoming son, Kaegan, in 2008.
Since 2010, Heather has been with ACM Design as a Design and Marketing Assistant, helping the firm with a variety of creative tasks as well as growing the firm’s notoriety in the Western North Carolina market. With a strong eye for design herself, Heather found the perfect balance between marketing and design with ACM Design.
Margaret Harvey – Accounting Manager:
A native of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, Margaret was educated at Troy State University. Partnering with her husband, she owned and operated a thriving restaurant in Troy, Alabama, where she managed all aspects of accounting and payroll. She and her family relocated to Asheville 24 years ago. Margaret worked with Genova Diagnostics in their Human Resources department for 14 years before joining the team at Carolina HR Partners as Director of Administrative Services in 2004. In addition to her role at CHRP, Margaret has worked with ACM Design since 2004 to manage the billing, bookkeeping, human resources and administrative functions for the firm. Her expertise in these areas makes her an invaluable asset to ACM Design.
In her free time, Margaret likes to spend time with her family. She loves animals, especially her beloved golden retriever, and time at the beach.
We have all heard the saying, “It takes a village,” and this could not be more true than when designing a home. Our studio team expands to include a variety of quality professionals throughout the course of a home project. Meet a few of our trusted colleagues:
- Aspen Builders – www.aspen-builders.com
- Bluestone Construction – www.bluestoneconstruction.com
- Brock Builders – www.brockbuildersinc.com
- Buchanan Construction – www.buchananconstruction.com
- Copperwood Builders – www.copperwoodbuilders.com
- Glennwood Custom Builders – www.glennwoodcustombuildersnc.com
- Manello Construction – www.manelloconstruction.com
- Mayhew Consulting – www.mayhewnc.com
- Morgan-Keefe Builders – www.morgankeefe.com
- PebbleDash Builders – www.pebbledashbuilders.com
- Pride Builders – www.pridebuilderswnc.com
- The Berry Group – www.theberrygroupllc.com
- The Carver Group – www.carvergroupinc.com
Landscape Architects / Designers: