Renovation blueprint by J.N. Stephens [MS-794 Series 4 File 9]
Stephens began his work at G.W. Golden as a draftsman and would remain in that position until 1962, when he would receive the title of ‘Designer.’ After three years in this position he was again promoted to ‘Chief Designer.’ Stephens worked diligently and with great enthusiasm on his designs. This is evident with the change in the Golden Homes advertising and plan style in this same period in which homes were developing a more individual flair and a change in design philosophy had become apparent. Whereas in the era before Stephens became a designer, the homes were functional and affordable, after his promotion homes began to feel spacious, comfortable, and varied. But Stephens would ultimately follow in his father’s footsteps and establish his own business specializing in interiors.
James N. Stephens Ltd. was established in 1968 with only two shareholders, James and his wife, Mabel. They operated from their family home at 4903 – 109 Avenue. He was listed in directories as an architectural designer, a contractor, and a building contractor but not as an architect as he lacked the necessary education to assume that title. Stephens would spend these last few years of his career working on modifications to existing homes, including themed rooms and lavish styles to existing homes. Surviving from this time is a collection of correspondence between the Stephens family and others, varying from concern for the health and happiness of the family to existing projects. Stephens would occasionally redesign housing plans in this time to try and better accommodate the patrons of his business, using his expertise and experience to create homes that fulfilled the wishes of the occupants. Stephens retired in 1976 and would die on July 22, 1993 of congestive heart failure.