As a young boy I built sandcastles on Fisherman’s Beach. At this early age I learned firsthand what a special place Nantucket is – the times I spent here each summer while growing up were the best of times with family, friends, and the allure of a beautiful place out at sea. The island, its serenity and the simple, built environment made a lasting impression. Some 20 years later, my wife Jill and I moved here, our sights set on growing a family, and an architecture & building practice, along the very beaches that had set my plan in motion. What once was a dream has become our reality.
As a student, I earned a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Lehigh University. I studied architecture and history abroad in Florence, Italy, honing my appreciation for classic form and function, and the important role that intersection plays in sound design solutions. Italy instilled in me an appreciation for the ‘classics,’ and red wine!
In my early professional years I soon recognized the importance of the very first client meeting. The essence of a project unfolds in these waking moments and expectations are set. In the traditional role of ‘architect’ one learns the import of clear objectives and attentive implementation; ideas on paper don’t always accurately translate into the built form. How easily primary notions can slip away as they are passed from pen to paper, paper to contractor, contractor to tradesmen. Communication is key, but so too is continuity. I set out to find a better way to safeguard this ‘genesis,’ and to deliver my client’s most essential goals.
In 2005, S.M. Roethke Design, Inc. was founded. The practice seeks to pair the basic principles of classic design with thoughtful, relevant Nantucket styling. When appropriate, we include the seaside experience. We provide timely and honest communication. And we work tirelessly to protect the essence of each project, its ‘genesis," and to let the rest follow. We do this by being good listeners first, and talented designers second. We translate ideas into realities through a structured design and delivery approach. Set against the backdrop of Nantucket’s natural landscape, our Work joins pure architectural inspiration and our client’s human experience, setting a stage upon which special Island memories can grow.
Our process is just as important as our product. Trained as an architect, and also a licensed general contractor, I have made our process the means by which we realize great product. Once our design process is complete, we network with high quality, experienced, and organized builder and trade resources who share in our goal to deliver finely crafted, carefully detailed, soundly built places in which our clients can enjoy their island experience. This collaboration between designer, client, and builder capitalizes on synergy, and draws the human element into each unique product.
When we aren’t collaborating with talented local builders to service their valued clients, we are often building ourselves. We offer a highly personalized design/build system for select clients who seek the most seamless of design and construction services. We manage our client’s vision from inception to delivery using our tested process and trusted trade resources with proven records for delivering high quality results. In many ways, our design/build projects are the most rewarding experiences for the Firm – a clear path of responsibility paired with singular, managed continuity empowers us to do our best work. And working directly with our clients through the entire process yields premier results, and lasting friendships.
In a small and (still, in many ways) intimate place like Nantucket, we each share a responsibility for this Place. As a business and group of individuals, we are respected members of this Community, and we value our roles within it. Raising a family here instills the welcome sense of belonging – it’s my family’s home. But with that privilege comes the need for stewardship, and we are committed to doing our part. We are proud supporters of several youth programs like the Friends of the Nantucket Public Schools, the Nantucket Dolphins Swim Team, WACK U.S. Swim Team, and Nantucket Youth Lacrosse, where I serve on the Board of Directors. I am a veteran volunteer Board member of the Nantucket Builder’s Association since 2003, where I have served as President, Secretary, and currently serve as Vice President in the Organization’s mission to create networking and continuing-educational opportunities for the Island’s largest year-round economy driver, the building industry. I am a proud (and humbled) cancer-survivor, and leader of Team Roethke, a top fundraiser annually for Swim Across America-Nantucket, an open water swimming event based at Jetties Beach to raise money for local cancer care right here on-island. To date Team Roethke has raised over $100,000 for this cause.
Like our Community, we are a small and highly personalized office made up of special families and some four-legged friends. My work, my family, and Nantucket are my passions. When I am not busy with our Practice, I enjoy being at the beach with my dog or our boys who love anything on, in, or around the water. We are a family of competitive swimmers – Jill and I met swimming in college. Tyler and Justin are avid athletes - competitive swimmers, south shore surfers, Tyler a first baseman, Justin a middie on his lacrosse team. My parents live nearby in Tom Nevers, and they are an important and active part of our lives here. I enjoy quiet family days on our sailboat or at the beach, and also love skiing, cooking, triathlon, and taking pictures around this special island.
Jill Roethke, VP of SMRD and a licensed CPA, runs the office’s AP/AR & Human Resources. When Jill is not busy helping to keep SMRD running efficiently, she is a busy & dedicated mother to Tyler and Justin. Additionally, Jill serves as co-event Director of Swim Across America-Nantucket. Through her leadership efforts and the financial support & generosity of innumerable friends, clients, local sponsors and hundreds of year-round and seasonal island residents, our Swim has raised over $1.3 million in just five years for local cancer care right here on-island.
Susan Mack is a dedicated and committed administrative resource without whom our clients would be underserved. Sue, ever patient, assists with the daily management of all Town related paperwork, permitting, and filings. She manages to do it all with a bright smile and cheerful attitude. In a place where permitting and approvals are as intricate as they are abundant, Sue’s work administering our progress towards Building Permits is invaluable. When Sue is not chasing paper, she is a busy wife, and mother of two boys. Our “Family First” attitude, an important part of SMRD culture, allows Sue to balance her important roles at home while managing the never ending flow of paper across her desk.
Neil Sirois is the firm’s design associate and draftsman. He commands our CAD software with expert skill producing clear, concise line drawings and three dimensional renderings, bringing our concepts to life. His drawing work takes us to, and through the HDC review, revision and approval process. From there, Neil develops important construction details, integrates energy and building code requirements, and incorporates structural design and specifications provided by our engineers. Neil is always drawing! When he is not busy at his desk, Neil enjoys spending his free time with his family.