Brandon Stieg: Finding a Balance
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
LAGUNITAS — As a young man, Brandon Stieg had a talent for architecture, but he preferred being outside to sitting at a drafting desk. Eventually, he was able to find a balance between the two. “I’ve always been artistic, but I was also good at math, so when I got to college, it made sense to major in architecture,” he recounts. “However, soon after starting an architectural apprenticeship, I realized I didn’t want to be an architect. The idea of being at a desk for eight hours a day just didn’t appeal to me—I wanted to be working outside. With this in mind, I got into woodcraft and trained as a carpenter and woodcarver. Eventually, I started my own business, and today my focus is on building decks, patios, fences, and other outdoor features. Typically, I spend 10 to 20 hours a week designing and the rest outside building, so it’s a nice balance.”
Today, as owner of Pacific Circle, Inc., Brandon says his favorite part of his job is seeing projects progress from conception to completion. “Often, after a client describes what they want, I’ll make a drawing and they’ll say, ‘That’s exactly what I was thinking!’ When it’s built and the finished product looks just like the original vision, that’s really cool. I think that’s one of the best parts of being a builder rather than an architect—you get to see the end result.”
A resident of Lagunitas (where he lives with his wife, Sara, and their three children), Brandon expresses his appreciation for life in Marin County. “I grew up here—in fact, I live on the same street I grew up on. I’ve spent time in several different places and enjoyed them all, but it’s always nice to come home. I’m thankful that my kids have the same opportunity to run around in West Marin like I once did.”
Outside of work, Brandon engages in a variety of active pastimes. “I love to surf, so I go whenever I get a chance,” he details. “I also do a lot of art, from painting to creating large-scale steel sculptures. I actually have a few pieces on display in local galleries.” In addition to personal hobbies, Brandon enjoys hanging out with his family. “We have a full plate of family stuff, from the kids’ extracurricular activities to weekend trips to the beach. We stay busy, that’s for sure.”
In regard to his professional career, Brandon describes how he draws inspiration from old-world craftsmanship. “Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of quality and going the extra mile to ensure that,” he explains. “A big inspiration for me is the Industrial Revolution—I really admire the quality put out by the craftsmen of that time period. I do my best to apply that level of quality in my clients’ projects, and it always pays off.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Iron Springs Pub & Brewery in Fairfax.
Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: A dog person—I have a young Brittany Spaniel named Moki.
Q: What’s the most death-defying feat you’ve ever attempted?
A: I used to be a professional snowboarder, and I participated in the World Extreme Championships, where they’d drop you off in a helicopter at the top of a mountain and whoever did the most intense run-down was the winner. Those were definitely my thrill-seeking days.
Q: What’s one website you visit on a daily basis?
A: Surfline.com. It gives you the current swell conditions and weather forecasts for surfing.
Q: Do you collect anything?
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A: Metal and woodwork from the Industrial Revolution.