Barry Hamel, Owner, Hamel Architects


What inspired you to start Hamel Architects PLLC?

My wife and I, both architects, renovated a circa 1860s barn into our home and studio in 1996. Our home, located in the Finger Lakes Region, became a perfect place to work on projects independently. Inspiration for designing lake frontage homes came from growing up on the coast in Rhode Island, where I developed a keen interest in simple New England cottage detailing.

What do you enjoy most about running your business?

I enjoy taking a client’s ideas and turning them into a reality. With residential construction, you are typically working for the client for the first time. The main challenge is to develop a relationship quickly so that I can effectively meet their goals and needs. I take great gratification out of meeting these goals and having the clients enjoy their new living space. 

What is the best part about owning and operating a business in the Finger Lakes Region?

No two families are the same, making each project an adventure. Lakefront residential homes will always have unique requirements that provide their own specific set of challenges. Along with being unique, individual residences are very personal projects and many of my past clients have turned into long term friendships.

Do you have a favorite recent project that you completed?

The Donovan Residence in Aurora. The project consists of a complete renovation from the foundation, to the walls, to the roof. Additions include a lakeside covered porch, kitchen and main entry. The original house had a great scale with good siting and land use. The modifications created a modern open plan that better supported lakeside family and friend gatherings.  

What are some of your latest challenges, especially with supplies and materials?

Mainly researching and selecting materials that are available in a timely manner. Currently, contractors are scrambling to find new sources and materials to keep projects going, and availability can change from the time of construction drawings to building. I continue to work closely with my clients and contractors to understand options and impacts.

“Barry is highly  skilled in architectural  design  while staying  mindful  of project cost and constructability. He is very  professional  and easy to get along  with. I highly recommend him.”

— Mike Palmer, client

To learn more, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *