Project Spotlight: State Savings Bank

We take pride in helping the community expand and grow, and while we can’t design buildings ourselves, we work with many clients who do. One of our favorites happens to be the State Savings Bank located in our local Traverse City, Michigan. This project was fulfilling, and we’re excited to see the progress as it continues!

State Savings Bank is a community pillar, opening more than 125 years ago, they’ve served the community well. Originally from Frankfort in 1896, this bank has been trusted by many. And now, we’ve got our chance to help this fine client visualize their new 17,575-square-foot facility.

The facility, located at 862 S. Garfield Ave, is a three-level that was formerly the home of Modern District Financial Solutions, but is better known as the home of Ethan Allen Furniture. The new facility features the excellent work of architect Richard Skendzel and interior designer Houtteman Interiors, both of which are masters in their fields, respectively. 


New Horizons, Big Horizons


When the previous building was demolished in 2022, State Savings Bank needed a new design, and they found it, but they couldn’t visualize it, and they couldn’t communicate it. They needed a team to help take the design and make it into an image that they could share with their investors and the community. How do you get someone excited about a bank? You contact us, that’s how.

State Savings Bank Chief Marketing Officer Doug Zernow spoke fondly of the project stating “Frankfort is where the bank started. It’s technically still the headquarters, but when this building will be completed, this will be our principal office.” With such a tall order, we wanted to make sure that we visualized the building accurately, and with detail.

Home to over 50 employees, we knew that this project would not only be important to visualize properly on the outside but also on the inside. So, we got down to work, take a look at some of what we’ve done to help this bank visualize its next great step.


Some Fine Work


The project started simply, we took their plans and their design, and we created a basic concept rendering, almost what we call a clay rendering. This was done using some of the finest technology on the market, and our team worked effortlessly to try and visualize and communicate their design without adding the distractions of paint, texture-specific brick, shingle selection, or other limiting details.

Clay rendering of a building

However, after we submitted it back to the client, they came back needing more,

After reviewing the physical design and making some modifications, they came back for more, as many of our clients do. Sometimes clay renderings are enough, but when marketing, more is required. How can you tell a story when you’re missing the characters?

So, we took the updated design yet again, and our basic rendering and we continued to work. We added architectural details, selected textures, highlights, shadows, and even some landscaping. This process involved color palettes and texture samples from the client and a lot of skilled labor from our office.


3D rendering of a bank building exterior, the sky is blue behind a brown and gray building.

Here you see the design in greater detail.

We took our time, carefully making sure that each piece was properly placed and detailed. We didn’t want to leave a single thing out! We knew that proper visualization would be crucial for the client, they couldn’t quite envision or communicate their design without the added details, so we had to get them right. They loved it!


Interior Rendering Process


The interior rendering process was just as detailed and involved as the exterior, if not more so! The interior of a building is what most people will see most of the time, and it’s arguably one of the most important parts of a building. It’s what will make or break a place, it’s where people will feel comfortable or uncomfortable, and communicating it effectively is important. The better you can visualize and communicate your design, the better it will turn out.

3d architectural rendering services

We once again took their plans and their ideas, and we created a visualization that matched their design. We included the fine details, such as the carpeting, the flowers in the vase, the signage, and the comfortable chairs. Our job is to make the space look real before it’s real, we’re here to help you visualize the future essentially.


3d architectural rendering services

Part of communicating a space is viewing it from more than one angle, as we’ve done here. It’s important that you’re able to visualize all areas because all areas will exist. This allows the client to get a better understanding of the spatial quality of their design and will help them choose and change any fine details.

This view was created to help the bank see another side of the interior, allowing them to decide if their design was right for them. As with the exterior, we did a series of renderings for them to evaluate a couple of color palettes, and different stone and metal materials, and even helped them determine the size of the placement of the lights by seeing a few versions.



After Construction


A building project under construction

It’s going great!


While the construction isn’t finished just, we’re thrilled to see the work we’ve done start to come to fruition. We love seeing a project that we’ve contributed to finally being realized, even if it’s not fully complete just yet. And it’s always a kick seeing our work on a job site sign.

While we didn’t do the design per se, While we did not design the spaces or specify the materials, we did do our best to faithfully depict the architect and the designer’s designs to that the bank could evaluate their options up front, and then proceed with confidence that they are spending their funds and time as efficiently as possible.

We were thrilled when State Savings Bank used our images for promoting their project and for seeking necessary approvals. We hope that should they need anything in the future, they’ll know who to contact again. We were honored to help them visualize their project, and we can’t wait to see the final result as construction is completed.


Here you can watch a video rendering of the project!

Here at J Scott Smith Visual Designs, we take pride in every single project that we’re trusted with. Our team of skilled 3D artists is ready around the clock to help you visualize your designs, one small detail at a time.

We utilize the finest technology, and we’re always keeping our practices up to date to offer you the finest visualization services on the market. From banks to homes, and everything in between, we’re here to help you see it better with a 3D render.

Are you ready to see things clearly?

Contact us today to hear more about our many visualization services.


  1. Thom Greene, architect

    Well done architecture- 3 dimensional, base/ middle/ Prairie style cap overhang and details…. well done!
    In the past 20 years, Traverse City has never been known for good architecture… thanks!


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