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Choosing the people you want to invite into your home starts with your team of builders, architects, designers, & artisans who help bring your vision to life. We have that same desire to learn about the tradespeople in our community. Join our conversation with LOCAL BEND experts here in Shop Talk.


SZABO Landscape Architecture

Mike Szabo, PLA.
Principal | Landscape Architect
Brian Nierman, PLA. | Landscape Architect

SZABO Landscape Architecture is a landscape architectural design firm located in Bend, Oregon. SLA is committed to delivering thoughtful, artistic, memorable landscapes that incorporate sustainable design practices and innovative ideas. They bring their clients’ visions to reality through a collaborative design process and open communication. SLA strives for excellence in everything they do and are dedicated to exceeding their clients’ expectations. Many of SLA’s projects have won industry awards and accolades from various organizations such as the American Society of Landscape Architects and the High Desert Design Council.

What services do you offer?

Mike Szabo: We offer landscape architectural design services for commercial and residential projects. This typically includes site planning, grading and drainage, outdoor living areas, planting, irrigation, and lighting design – essentially everything outside the building footprint.

What geographic area do you serve?

Brian Nierman: The company started as a niche in Central Oregon. We’re able to locally provide high-end, well-designed landscape architecture, competitive with the larger, more costly firms from Portland and the Willamette Valley. Since then, we’ve grown to secure projects throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest and have branched out to California and even the East Coast. While Central Oregon remains our focus market, we also maintain current licenses in many of the other states. I personally spent much of my life growing up in Idaho and am always looking for reasons to get back there, be it to visit family and friends or for exciting project opportunities.

How did you get your start here?

Mike: My wife and I took a leap of faith and moved to Bend in 2013 to be closer to family. Our own family was growing, and we wanted to raise our children in a friendly community with access to nature and their grandparents. SZABO Landscape Architecture started with me setting up the drafting table in our home’s walk-in closet. It took several months, but once I landed my first project and client, things took off pretty quickly.

When did you know that you wanted to be a landscape architect?

Brian: I’ve always enjoyed building things. My father brought me up working on remodel projects and construction around the house and that gave me my first introduction to the building industry. So, along with a continued interest in drawing, graphics, and the arts, landscape architecture seemed like the perfect profession. The marriage of art and design with the technical aspects of construction to bring abstract thought into a tangible, functional, built solution has always been an interest of mine.

Describe your process – how do you work with clients, contractors, and architects?

Mike: We try to be very collaborative with our clients and the rest of the design team. We start by getting to know our clients and learning their unique needs, visions, and budgets for each project. We then produce sketched plans, vignettes, 3D models, and photographic imagery. Once we flush through the initial design and get the project in line with a client’s budget, we then move forward to produce very detailed construction documentation for bidding and construction. During the construction process, we typically stay on board to be the client’s representative, answering questions and performing periodic site observation visits during the installation process.

What project are you the most excited about right now?

Brian: I’m really excited about a mixed-use project we are currently working on in Bend’s NorthWest Crossing neighborhood called The Grove. It’s a pleasure to be involved with site design and landscape improvements that should bring some much-needed retail, commercial, business, and residential space to this part of Bend. Incidentally, it’s not too far from my house, so hopefully this summer I’ll be able to walk down and enjoy a beer on the patio of one of its new restaurants.

What do you enjoy most about work?

Mike: We’re always learning, especially since every project is totally different. There is nothing better than standing in the finished project and having a glass of wine with a client, enjoying the spaces we created together. That’s the really fun part about residential design; you tend to build lasting relationships with your clients because it’s such a personal process. I’ve made a lot of friends through this profession.

Brian: For me, one of the most rewarding aspects is seeing each landscape being used as it was originally envisioned. Whether it’s a public park that involved extensive community outreach, or an intimate residential space that focused on the desires of just one or two homeowners, witnessing the happy park user or resident enjoying the space just as I’d intended from the first time I sat down at my drafting table is extremely fulfilling.

What do you listen to while you work?
Mike: Jazz, classical, and a whole lot of Grateful Dead.

What do you enjoy most about living and working in Bend?

Mike: The quick access to great outdoor recreation is probably why we all love living here. I really appreciate the outdoor culture of Bend and the friendly nature of Bendites. Not to mention you can never get enough of Mt. Bachelor, and the beer is outstanding.

What is sure to make you laugh?

Brian: I like joking around with good friends. I find that conversations and visits, or even a brief text message, can cut right to the comedy in life, get us laughing and add a little levity to whatever may be going on that day. I feel like this is a big part of how Mike and I came to work together here in Bend. On challenging days, it’s great to have Mike to talk with for both design critiques and a good laugh.


“There is nothing better than standing in the finished project and having a glass of wine with a client, enjoying the spaces we created together.”
–Mike Szabo, PLA. Principal Landscape Architect, Szabo Landscape Architecture


Winsome Construction

Shan Stassens, Partner

Winsome is a family-owned, third-generation construction company that builds custom, luxury, high-performance homes. People who want the best and love the custom home experience come to Winsome Construction.

Shan Stassens and his team complete each day based on Winsome’s five core values: Joyful Creation, Excellence, Doing What’s Right Even When No One Is Watching, Authentic Collaboration with Positive People, and Continuous Improvement.

Shan enjoys spending time with family, coaching youth basketball, golfing, and starting (usually not finishing) his own home
improvement projects.

What services do you offer?
We are a custom builder focused on luxury, high-performance homes.

What geographical areas do you serve?
We have built homes in some of the finest neighborhoods in Portland, Salem, the Willamette Valley, the North Oregon Coast, and of course, where we now call home, Central Oregon!

What does “Winsome” mean?
Our company name speaks to our desire to build top-quality homes that thoughtfully blend correct structure, comfort, and rich beauty. The word winsome is formed from “wynn,” the Old English word for “joy” or “pleasure.” Things that are considered winsome are those that are attractive, charming, and delightful. With a sense of great joy for our trade, we passionately pursue the creation of luxury homes that are genuinely “winsome.”

What’s the difference between good construction and great construction?
Good construction will provide perfectly adequate shelter for most people. Great construction is a much more complicated proposal. It takes a much larger team to create something extraordinary. Having a timeless design, employing thoughtful use of materials, and building with a very long life-cycle in mind requires a particular skill set. People go out of their way to visit unique places like Timberline Lodge, where even 100 years later, the amazing work is still appreciated.

What project are you most proud of?
It’s impossible to pick just one! The projects we do that are the most successful start with a collaborative effort between the homeowners, the architect, and the building team. Being part of a project from its inception and then handing over keys, sometimes after years of building a substantial, complicated home, is an extremely gratifying process. We’ve built several high-performance certified homes. Having the added layer of environmental accountability in a project also makes it very rewarding. Third-party certification holds builders to a higher standard; folks don’t often see exactly what their home is made of, and certification helps ensure that things are done right.

Do you have any special awards or certifications?
We’ve built many Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified homes, and have been awarded a platinum level certification as well as received several awards: Best in American Living, Contemporary LEED Platinum Custom Home, and Earth Advantage Platinum Certification, to name a few.

Last book you read?
Great by Choice, by Jim Collins. This book digs into the DNA of truly great companies. It’s very inspiring to me to understand how greatness is created and maintained, and this book lays out what it takes for us to be great at what we do.

How did you get your start?
At age 17, I started working as a carpenter; by 1990, I had my first contractor’s license. I started doing specialty work, worked my way into remodeling, then eventually into exclusively new construction. I feel fortunate to have started as a craftsman and evolving my career into being a custom home builder. The construction industry and the world, in general, have changed so much that it would be more difficult now to take my path. Working around incredible artisans throughout my career has enabled me to understand how a building should go together. I love great craftsmanship; it’s getting harder to find.

What projects are you most excited about right now?
We are often asked to build relatively modern homes or heavy timber and stone-type homes. We have a couple of projects right now that are fun to work on. One example is a very modern take on a European-type farmhouse; it features copper roofing and modern timber framing. It has a three-story silo-style observation tower and is just filled with remarkable architectural details. Second, we have a vast traditional timber frame with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) walls that is primarily being built for a maker, his blacksmith shop, collector cars, and other toys. There’s also a custom living quarters portion to it, and the fun part is that we are using massive timbers in the building that came off the client’s own property and then were milled and kiln-dried. We enjoy projects that have materials with such a cool back story.

What is sure to make you laugh?
My kids crack me up a lot, but if you show me a YouTube video of somebody trying to fell a tree without a professional’s help, that will usually get a good laugh out of me as well!


“The projects we do that are the most successful start with a collaborative effort between the homeowners, the architect,
and the building team.”
–Shan Stassens, Partner, Winsome Construction


Rozewski & Co., Designers, LLC

James Rozewski, Owner

Rozewski & Co., Designers, LLC is a high-energy, full-service design firm specializing in custom residential and commercial design. Their clients’ happiness with their service is the barometer by which they monitor the progress of their company. The goal of R&CO is to provide its clients with a design for their project that not only fits their program requirements and meets their budget but also – in a much larger sense – is a design that represents their own personal or corporate identity. R&CO has worked for and succeeded in achieving this ideal with all of their previous clients and is very proud of the projects they have designed and the relationships they have developed over the years.

What services do you offer?
In addition to custom residential design, R&CO offers commercial design, master planning, project branding, computer modeling, and project review & documentation services.

What geographical areas do you serve?
In the 30-plus years that R&CO has been in business we have designed homes in Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. Regionally, we have completed projects in resort communities including Running Y Ranch, Salishan, Sunriver, Crosswater, Caldera Springs, Black Butte Ranch, Ranch of the Canyons, Brasada Ranch, Pronghorn, Tetherow, Broken Top, The Highlands, Aspen Meadows, Eagle Crest, and North Rim.

When did you know that you wanted to be an architect?
When I was very young, I was fascinated with dollhouses. I was intrigued with the furniture in the rooms and the different rooms inside the house and how they ultimately formed the exterior. I would have continued playing with dollhouses but my father, concerned about my preoccupation with such things, put a baseball in my hand and ordered me outside.

What architecture inspires you?
I am inspired by all forms of architecture, from log homes to ultra-modern structures. All speak a language shaped by the site, the climate and the owner.

How do you work with clients, contractors, and interior designers?
R&CO engages a time-perfected design and construction process. We assemble all the players including ourselves, the client, the general contractor, the structural and mechanical engineers, the interior designer, and the landscape architect or designer. As members of the design team, we all play a vital role in the success of the project. Through free exchange of ideas and expertise the end result is always synergistic in that the end result is greater than the sum of the individual efforts.

What other specialties do you have in-house?
In addition to design services, R&CO also offers project review & documentation services. This service is carried out during the construction phase where we review all aspects of the construction process, documenting all aspects of each construction phase through video and photographs. All materials, finishes, equipment, appliances, and fixtures are documented and stored both electronically and in hard copy. At the completion of the project, construction documents are amended to reflect ‘As-Built’ conditions.

What projects are you most proud of?
As owners of Rozewski & Company, Designers, LLC, my wife Becky and I are proud of each and every project that we have created. It’s much like having children. Each one is unique and special in its own way. We are proud of all of them.

What are the most rewarding things about designing homes in this region?
The biggest rewards we receive in designing homes in this region and across the country are the relationships we have developed along the way. Clients we have worked with for 20 or even 30 years ago still remain our dear friends today.

What is the most exciting new product or development in your field?
Although around for a number of years, BIM, or Building Information Modeling, a 3D model-based process, has given architects, designers, engineers, and construction professionals the ability to visualize their projects and present them to their clients in ways only dreamed about a short while back. At R&CO, computer modeling is the engine that drives the design process, allowing the designer and owner alike to virtually realize and understand the project before them.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing?
My passion has always been shared between architecture, art, and music. Where architecture is a fixed and controlled platform, art is a fluid medium, free of boundaries and regulations, and music is architecture in motion. Engaging in all three mediums enhances the value of each form of expression.

Do you have a favorite recreational activity?
Outside of my studio I enjoy fly fishing. Easy to describe, difficult to master, the art of fooling the fish requires such attention that it forces you to leave the world on the riverbank. I find no other form of recreation so beautifully consuming.

What do you enjoy most about living and working here?
Living and working in Brasada Ranch, a resort community east of Bend, creates a living environment free of the noise and traffic of the city and a work environment devoid of distraction.

Last book you read that you would highly recommend?
I highly recommend The Flame by Leonard Cohen, ‘an intimate look inside the life and mind of a singular artist.’ His ability to intertwine music, art, and poetry into a seamless form of communication is unmatched.

What is sure to make you laugh?
My kids crack me up a lot, but if you show me a YouTube video of somebody trying to fell a tree without a professional’s help, that will usually get a good laugh out of me as well!


“I am inspired by all forms of architecture, from log homes to ultra-modern structures. All speak a language shaped by the site, the climate and the owner.”
–James Rozewski, Owner, Rozewski & Co., Designers, LLC