About us
Diana Z. Katzmann
I studied Interior Design in the early 80’s at International Fine Arts College in Miami and then entered the school of hard knocks. I have several years’ experience in the design field ranging from early work with land developers in South Florida designing interiors for model homes, rentals and time share units to hotel renovation. I’ve worked with a furniture and upholstery manufacturer designing custom cabinetry and seating as well as residential renovation projects in South Miami and Atlanta. I’ve designed office interiors, and headed the new showroom design and display for a company in Atlanta. My awareness and concerns of interior design and all the toxins and effects on indoor air quality were heightened upon the birth of my son Garrison, who is now 17. I pulled myself out of the work field for 6 years to raise Garrison and returned in full force when Brent and I ventured into business together in 2002. My approach to design has changed dramatically from when I started in this field.
Environmental concerns are in the forefront of my decision making process and the clients that I attract are always on board. I love space planning. Although I am not an architect, I help design homes and manage the build.
Energy efficiency, storage, flow of spaces, indoor-outdoor connection, and siting on the land are where my priorities begin when designing.  Color, texture and fashion follow, though they’re always on my mind. I’m a great listener and, therefore, good at getting people where they want to be in their spaces.
In the work we’ve done as Balance Studio, I’ve found a particular joy in digging deeply into the design of kitchen spaces. It is the one room where so much of daily living happens and it often is confronted with space restrictions that, for many people, lead to clutter, chaos and frustration. In 2009, I joined the National Kitchen and Bath Association and have since become an Accredited Kitchen Designer, helping me better understand not only the art and science of effective kitchen planning, but has exposed me to a broad range of resources I call upon throughout the design and installation process.
Brent Katzmann
As a native Chicagoan, Brent grew up in an environment where architecture and urban planning are celebrated as defining elements of community and culture. From the nature-inspired work of Frank Lloyd Wright to the iconic civic designs of Grant Park and Chicago’s lakefront, the twin arts of inspired residential design and thoughtful community spaces continue to guide Brent’s work.
Brent is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans and former student of the University of Copenhagen’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning. After a 20+ year career in advertising and marketing communications, he returned to his interest in design and building in 2001, and formed Balance Studio,LLC with his wife, Diana, in  2002. While much of the work produced in the past seven years has been focused on natural building techniques and materials, more recent work has begun to explore advanced design of building systems, including alternative waste treatment, passive and active solar and geothermal space heating, and strategies for achieving a net zero energy balance in residential design. Packaging these systems into designs for smaller houses, and then building them with local, natural and reclaimed/recycled materials is Brent’s hope for advancing how we choose to live on this earth, with each other, and all of life.
Brent and Diana are co-founders and active members of the local not-for-profit Ithaca Green Building Alliance, National Kitchen and Bath Association and Natural Builders Northeast. Balance Studio, LLC is a registered builder of homes earning the Energy Star® certification.
Our work has been featured in the book Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House by Kelly Lerner and Carol Venolia as well as recent articles in USAToday and the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Ithaca Green Building Alliance