Designing a home is no small feat. It requires careful detail and meticulous planning. Hiring the right architect for the job is crucial to getting a result that you’ll love. But all architects are not created equal. For a luxury home, you need an architect who specializes in this type of design. When searching for the right team, here are some top questions to ask your potential architect.
What is your design philosophy?
Your architect needs to be proficient in designing the style of home you’re envisioning. If you are picturing a modern home, you want to work with someone who is best suited to delivering a contemporary architecture design. If you are envisioning something more Victorian or Greek Revival, seek out an architect who is an expert in this kind of design.
How is your current workload?
When choosing an architect, you want to make sure they have the time and resources available to focus on your home. If they’re busy with many other projects, it could mean that they are popular in the industry and good at what they do. But it could also mean that your project may end up on the back burner. Find out what their workload looks like to get an accurate estimate on how much time they can spend on your project.
How much will you personally be involved in the process?
Large architecture firms employ dozens of designers to help their business run smoothly. This may mean that you always have someone to work with and contact with questions, but it may not always be the same person. If working one-on-one (or close to it) with the architect you choose is important to you, then you may want to consider smaller firms. When you make a connection with an architect and feel that they understand your vision, it is understandable that you’d want them to be as involved as possible in the process.
Will your team put together all parties in the project?
Find out what you can expect from the team you choose. Will they handle all of the different departments required for a successful design project or is that up to you? Who manages the builder or the subcontractors? If you don’t have the time or desire to manage this part of the project, find an architectural team that does.
How will ideas and drawings be presented? 3D?
An architect has the uncanny ability to see a project in completion with very little concrete details upfront. Not everyone has this ability, which is why having drawings and ideas presented visually is critical to your confidence and understanding of the project. Some firms use 3D models that help give clients a better understanding of the design elements at hand. One important question to ask before designing a home is how ideas, examples, and progressions will be presented so that you can be confident in the design.
Will your design team complete the total budget and monitor during the project?
How involved will your architect and team be in the managing of the budget? Asking these questions will help you understand your role when it comes to financing your dream. How often will you get updates about the budget and from whom will you get them? Discussing who is responsible for what when it comes to spending money will help to prevent any surprises down the line.
As you need decisions, how will you communicate them?
There are many decisions to make when designing your dream home. When it comes to providing your input in how things should go, there should be a process in which your architect and team can contact you for a quick response. Make sure you’re all on the same page with how progress and decisions will be communicated throughout the project.
What do you expect your architect to provide? And when?
An experienced architect will be able to provide an extensive list of what they can and will bring to the table. They should be able to give you a detailed timeline of what to expect and when. For instance, you may want to ask if your architect will provide or work closely with landscape architects or interior designers to ensure a holistic design approach. Ask about the measures they have in place to ensure you stick to a predetermined schedule as well.
What does the project team look like?
A professional architect has a team of experts working with them to ensure the project is completed successfully. Ask who you can expect to communicate with and a list of people working on the design of your home. Who is the PA (project architect) and what other team members can you expect to encounter during this experience?
How will you work to learn about our needs and goals?
Before designing a home that’s best suited to you, your architect will need to understand your goals. What will your architect and the team do to ensure they understand your vision? Constant and transparent communication with you during the process of your design does not happen on accident. Discuss the steps that will be put in place to ensure everyone is on the same page.
What are the steps in the design process?
When you feel like you’ve found the right firm, the next thing you’ll want to discuss is what to expect when it comes to the design process. Every firm is different, but a practical design plan usually includes a personal consultation, design presentation(s), and collaboration of trusted contractors.
What is your track record of completing a project within the original budget?
The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Asking to see an architect’s portfolio is one way to see what they’ve done and what they’re capable of. But seeing what they’ve done is only half of it. You also need to know if they’ve been able to deliver designs while sticking to a deadline and a budget. If they’ve got a rock-solid track record of completing a project while adhering to predetermined guidelines, chances are they’ll be able to do the same for your project.
The Anderson Studio Has The Answers
We hope that this list of questions to ask before designing a home has helped you better understand the factors involved in building a new home. A successful custom home design is a result of many important decisions and complex processes. An expert team with extensive experience and passion can help to make the process easy.
The Anderson Studio of Architecture and Design has over 20 years of experience in designing custom luxury homes. If you’re ready to build your dream home, get in touch. Let’s start the conversation.