“Residential Architect? What exactly do you do?” I am often asked. Easy answer: I translate a homeowner’s dreams into drawings that can get their home built. Sounds easy enough but it takes design work to figure out the exact solution for a home that has been dreamt about for years. It is a give and take of ideas as we fine tune what they envision and want to have built, either a new home design or an existing home renovated. Thankfully everyone has a different idea of their own home. That is the fun part for me the residential architect. I act as a detective asking many questions to narrow it down to the right solution. I provide several plan solution sketches to start a dialogue of what works for the owner and what doesn’t. It is easy to rank ideas when there are several on the table. My goal is not have one idea be the “chosen one” but it is a combination of the best thoughts from the variety of solutions provided to create the new plan. That plan continues to be developed and enhanced until it is ready to be built.
It is tempting to want to start before the design is completely finished on paper. Let’s get started! There is excitement as the design becomes “real” on paper. It takes time to get the details and the drawings ready but it is worth the time.
“I understand what you do!” a contractor told me one day many months after we had started to build a client’s new home. “What?” I asked puzzled that he just realized what I the residential architect did. The prints he was holding he had for months! The home was almost ready to be painted inside and out!
He excitedly said “You help the owners make all the decisions BEFORE we start so we can build and stay on track and not rework!” This was the first home he had built with an architect. He was used to doing all the selections and options as it was being built! He was skeptical when we had first met what I would bring to the table but I brought him a plan drawings which is a game plan for getting it built smoothly!
Once the design is ready to go we don’t want changes. The owner and I have worked together to ensure we have looked at many, many design options. Before we start, often in early design if we know who the builder will be, we all sit down including the builder and go through everything to ensure that we have looked at everything. By taking the time and working together, we become confident that the right decisions have been made and look forward to seeing our (owner, builder and architect’s) solution built!