The Sam Martin Design Difference

A seamless, inspiring experience. At every stage.

We specialise in the design and preparation of plans/documents for buildings. We focus all of our energy into only this side of the process – and love it; we dedicate our entire head space to the creation of character, space, light, spatial sequences, articulation, massing, materials, structural and construction systems… and the experience of the building. This is our vocation and our passion.


We leave the construction to our preferred builders. The building process is highly specialised and complicated, involving the co-ordination of many people, materials & techniques.

Our experience tells us that it’s best if the designer designs and documents, and the builder constructs.

Over the past 14 years, we have developed and refined our processes to get you the best design for your budget. So we will always work with you to find the right builder for the construction phase of your specific design and home.

Designing to a Budget.

Relying on the pricing ‘feedback loop’ of the selected tendering builders keeps the budget on track and in front of the decision making process.

We provide very thorough plans, details, specifications and contract documentation.

Every tap, tile and door stop is allowed for, and you can choose anything that you like. This takes time, and involves much double-checking and triple-checking. If everything is clearly detailed and specified on the plans, and allowances are included in the contract for even the little things - then you can sign a fixed price contract.


Therefore, we write the contract documentation with your interests completely looked after.

As we are not the builder (rather, your agent) we write all the contract documentation, looking after your interests first. The builders are also looked after by the clarity & thoroughness of the documentation, so no costs are hidden and all is fair, equitable and understood by both.

Competitive tendering to get a fair competitive price.

Our aim is always to get you the best price, from a choice of the best builders.

3-4 hand-picked builders tendering on a highly specific set of plans/ contract documentation, and the specifications are your best way to know that the fixed price if fair. This also allows for a great relationship with your chosen builder, as you get to meet a few, and choose on price and character fit. How you get along as people will become very important down the track!


The highly specific plans and specifications allows an un-ambiguous relationship, and make it clear what is in/or out of the contract.

Facilitation & witnessing of the building contract signing between client and builder.

It’s always an exciting day for us to sit down at the kitchen table, signing contracts to start construction. This tender signing is done with the clients interest looked after - we will always have your back in the writing of the contract, selection of the contract and final conditions.


Design Theory: Aesthetics

Sam was raised in South Fremantle in a household of professional visual artists/painters, Jane Martin & George Haynes. This aesthetics- and ideas-rich house attracted most of Western Australia’s artistic elite at some point or another.

George and Jane’s studios were out the back, and a constant traffic of ideas, artists & architects flowed through the house.

Sam’s biological father, Caesar Gienlein, a German boiler maker turned woodsman/furniture maker in the South West, was an ever-present and balanced influence of lateral thinking and resourceful, environmentally-conscious, highly-creative thinking.

Design theory: Pragmatic & Lateral

Sam’s 14 year experience in Architectural drafting, and 11 years of structural engineering drafting under the renowned North Fremantle Structural engineer Steve Burdett, has given him a huge mental catalogue of the most practical, locally-used structural and construction systems for every situation.

This insures that our beautiful & highly creative buildings can be designed to be structurally simple, rational and easily built – allowing builders to give a very competitive price to construct them.