Our Company

Ten Directions Design is a small architectural firm that specializes in designing new homes, residential remodels, and interior solutions throughout Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Since 1990 we have listened carefully to our customers and tailored our designs to match their needs while providing a balance of aesthetics and function. Working with a sense of history, environment, and originality, we strive to achieve an integrated project that is a delight to live in.

Our extensive experience in the Northwest ensures that our design team is well versed in the challenges that are unique to building in your area. From navigating local permit processes, land use issues, and building code revisions, to creating designs that match your neighborhood's distinct personality, we know our region and it shows in our work.

Starting from the initial consultation and going through the final phases of construction, Ten Directions Design will guide you, securing the necessary permits, and offering valuable advice and support. Our design team will provide you with an estimate of each stage of the design process before beginning the work. And when it is time to build-we can help you navigate the bidding process, providing trusted contractors and helping you compare competitive bids.

A professional and trusted resource, Ten Directions Design can help you get started with your initial ideas and guide the entire process step-by-step:

  • Developing the design concept
  • Creating the detailed blueprints
  • Maintaining your budget
  • Obtaining the building permit
  • Referring qualified contractors
  • Quality control during construction

About Alan Ness, Architect and Principal, Ten Directions Design

I founded Ten Directions Design in Seattle in 1990. During the previous twelve years I worked with major architectural firms across the United States.


Registered in the State of Washington, #10449.

Boston Architectural Center, Boston, MA. Bachelor of Architecture, 1982.
Hampshire College, Amherst, MA. Bachelor of Arts, 1975.

AWARDS and publications

NWEBG Green Home Tour, New House in Shoreline, April 2012

NW Eco-Building Guild 10x10x10 Green Design Alternate, September 2008.

PNA Home Tour, second-story addition and interior renovation, May 2008.

Womans Day, Special Issue on Kitchens & Baths,  quoted in Family Bathroom by     Bill Partsch,    Vol XVII, No. 5, 2007.

Parent Map, quoted in The Joy of Cozy by Fiona Cohen, July 2007.
NW Eco-Building Guild 10x10x10 Green Design Award, September 2005.

Membership AND VolunteeR
Northwest Eco-Building Guild Member since 1994.
United Way: MAP (Management Assistance Program)
Volunteer Projects:
• Food Bank, Tahoma Coordinating Council, Maple Valley, WA.
• Food Bank, Jewish Family Services, Seattle, WA.
• Design Consult, Multi-Faith Works, Seattle, WA.
• Design Consult, Habitat for Humanity, Seattle, WA.

• Phinney Ridge Well Home Program, Design and Remodel of Second Story         Additions, Dormers and Attic Conversions, 2007.
• Phinney Ridge Well Home Program, The Design Process, 1991 - 2005.

• Phinney Ridge Well Home Program, Design and Remodel of Basements, 2005.

• KUOW: Weekday, Not So Big House discussion, 2002.
• UW Experimental College, Move or Remodel, (co-taught w/Realtor) 1995-1996.
• Home Business Network, Improving Your Home Office, 1991.
• Retirement Housing Fair, Adapting Your Present Home, 1991.


• Sustainable Material Rating - PHAROS, August 2008.

• Developments in Lighting Design, December 2007.
• Grid-Tied Solar Electric Systems, September 2006.
• Solutions for Wood in Green Building, March 2006.
• Improving Indoor Air Quality, February 2006.
• It's Not Easy Being Green: Green Building Retrofit, February 2006.
• Build Green Conference, October 2003.
• Mold and Moisture in Buildings, November 2002.
• Green World Conference, May 2001.
• Healthy House Training, American Lung Association, April 2000.
• Sustainable Building NW Conference, October 1997.
• Building with Value Workshop, October 1996.
• Earthquake Hazards Class, Historic Seattle, October 1995.
• Eco-Building Guild Topic Meetings, since 1995.
• Lighting Design Lab Classes, since 1992.
• Indoor Air Quality Seminar, Healthy Building Associates, March 1992.
• Coordinating the Building Process, Harvard University Special Programs, 1983.

I have many sources of inspiration as a designer. My early studies in Environmental Psychology were an attempt to understand the relationship between people and their environment. This led to Architecture School, where I encountered fundamental lessons about working in space with three-dimensional reality. It was only after my initial professional training that I encountered the deeply-thought and yet practical advice of the "Pattern Language" approach. Finally, working with Contemplative Design taught me further harmonizing of the patterns and styles of our life.

"We appreciate Alan's hard work to help us with each phase of our remodel. His talents and skills made our new kitchen great!"

Paul and Barb Haas
Kitchen Remodel Client
Edmonds, WA

"Alan is well-organized, an excellent listener, and cheerful about adjusting his ideas to suit the client's requirements. He's not given to over-designing and he is capable of finding smart and simple solutions to problems. Alan is also friendly and easy to work with."

Adam Woog, Karen Kent
and Leah Woog
New Second Story Client
Seattle, WA