Design is in Clint Johnson’s blood. Literally.
His father was a homebuilder, his mother an interior designer. “So it came naturally that I would find myself somewhere on the middle,” he said.
But that has meant more than just finding a career balance between two professional disciplines. In a sense, he is the essential man in the middle of a process that takes what clients envision for their project and ensures that the dream becomes a reality.
“You can’t get to C from A without going through B,” he explained. “So it’s important to create a buildable design that gets you where you want to be.” That’s what Clint Johnson does.
He’d always been drawn to figuring out how to make things work. Growing up, he’d take bicycles apart and then reassemble them, a process that taught him “how multiple parts come together.”
Fueled by that fascination, he earned a degree in interior design from the University of Houston. As his career began to take off – he worked for an architecture firm in college and was later a sought-after freelancer before joining Newbery in 2003 – Clint’s focus on turning concepts into real-world projects solidified. “I saw how important it was that every line on a drawing means something,” he said.
But he also saw that the drawings had to mean something to clients. For that to happen, he knew it was essential that the designer be a good listener.
“You need to get to the core of what they want,” continued Clint, now a principal at Newberry. “You have to know the right questions to ask: What do you like about this? What do you not like about that? Then you extrapolate from what they say and create something that reflects their thinking. You really do have to listen between the lines, because the project is all about the client.”
He complements this willingness to listen with a design sensibility that was honed by what he’d seen in Austin, where the architecture reflected the Texas capital’s unique character. His use of human scale to determine form and functionality, and his integration of landscaping with architecture to connect building with context, has been a hallmark of his work.
As much as every individual contributes to Newberry’s success, Clint said one of the firm’s true strengths can be found in a group of professionals who understand the value of teamwork.
“Everyone here is important to every project, and everyone brings something to table,” he added. “There’s also a sense that if one person succeeds, we all succeed, and that’s helped to create a workplace where we mentor and support our team.”
Clint’s support doesn’t end at Newberry. He is frequent participant at AIDS walk Houston and has previously volunteered at AIDS Foundation Houston.
At the end of the day, Clint works with one specific goal in mind: “I want my clients to walk through their space every day and say, I love this place.” That’s something he may have picked up from his father as well.
“The first project I ever designed was a house for him,” he said. “It was a two-bedroom, two-bath farmhouse. He still lives there. And he still loves it.”