You, as the owner, want (and need) to have confidence in the architect you’ll be working with. Start by asking yourself what aspects about your project make you the most anxious? Those are key areas where you’ll want to feel most confident with your architect. Are you most concerned about: Aesthetics, finding the right products, construction cost control, schedule, contractor oversight, community approvals, technical know-how, or coordination of details? Interview several architects and compare how comfortable they make you feel when answering your concerns. Talk to their references, asking the same questions. Make sure that the person answering your questions is the one you’ll be working with day-to-day. Using this approach you’ll be evaluating and hiring an architect based on what matters most to you. That’s the best criteria to use.
We work exclusively on designing contemporary single-family homes directly with owners themselves. (In other words, we don’t do commercial work, “generic” developer projects, multi-family housing, or houses “in-the-style-of” historical periods.)
Within the overall category of “single-family homes”, we do:
- New Primary Residences — in rural, suburban and urban communities
- Vacation Houses – in coastal, lakefront, mountainside or forest environments
- Building Conversions to homes, from earlier uses for worship or business
- Additions – either vertically or horizontally to create more livable space
- Renovations – to re-vitalize homes for new owners or new stages of their lives
No. Although we’ve had considerable first-hand construction experience, as a company we strictly provide architectural design services. We work with a large number of different, independent contractors and do not require our clients to work with any one in particular. Our role is providing guidance and options for the owner’s ultimate choice of contractor.
Not really. Our smallest project was adding a full-height bay window to the side of a family room with a showerhead at the ceiling, floor drain and sculptural dead tree – to serve as an indoor “rainforest perch” for a tropical bird (in Philadelphia). To us, the most critical factor is not the size of a project, but rather how invested the owner is in achieving very particular results – instead of settling for generic solutions.
Without question we feel that continuing our involvement during construction makes for a smoother process and results in a far better end product. That having been said, although we advocate for full involvement during construction, ultimately it is the owner’s decision as to how much our services are utilized in that phase. We typically give owners a range of options for our level of involvement during the construction phase.
We are often called upon to assist prospective property buyers in deciding if a given site or existing building will lend itself to achieving their goals. Sometimes we are able to provide sufficient guidance on the basis of a simple walk-thru. Other times we will undertake a quick feasibility study to test the workability of options for renovations or additions. We welcome the opportunity to work at the earliest stages of your decision-making process.
We don’t have any standard formula to answer that question. Like our projects, our fees are thoughtfully worked out for each client and situation. Unlike many of our peers, in most cases we work to a fixed fee – rather than hourly or to a percentage of construction cost. We’d much rather focus on the project itself rather than watch the clock, and we’d rather have the client’s confidence that construction costs aren’t being inflated to increase our profits. In addition to providing the owner with a fixed fee, we also typically break our services into essential services and additional options (e.g. how involved we are during construction). This enables owners to engage us to the extent they feel provides the best value for their needs.
Typically our work scope ends with anything that’s “nailed down” – meaning that we design all of the interior finishes and built-in lighting and solar shading, but usually do not select final loose furniture and portable lamps . However, even though we may not be making final furniture choices, we typically do provide the space planning services to determine the extent of furnishings and their placement. We frequently select the paint color palettes with the owner, but not always.
An initial consultation with us is free. We find that having the opportunity to meet you face-to-face and visiting a property firsthand is well worth a few hours of our time invested. We’d welcome an inquiry from you about a project you might be considering undertaking.