Drawings by David Benton, AIA

Why Hire an Architect?

Undertaking a home renovation or a new home project can be daunting, but with the early involvement of an experienced architect we can ease the mystery and confusion. We are your advocate throughout the design and construction process, investigating and understanding your personal needs and how you live to knit your home's design into your life, property, neighborhood and community.   I bring a lifetime of knowledge and experience to maximize the quality and value of your home.

Although each project is unique the basic steps are the same. Below is a summary of the phases typical of any renovation, addition, or new home project and how an Architect is there to help you navigate the process.



Before beginning any design work for changes to an existing home your home needs to be well documented.  Detailed measurements are taken and your house is input into our 3D modeling program.  This is also the time we obtain information regarding zoning requirements or special building restrictions in your area. It is key to investigate these requirements early so we are aware of and address any design limitations.


Schematic Design Phase

In the schematic design phase we define the scope, features, layout, constraints, required functions and design of your home.  In our initial kick-off meeting we go into great detail of how you live and your wishes for your dream home.  Using this information we develop various preliminary visions for your project that is tailored to fit your needs and budget. As a team we work together to develop one realistic scheme that addresses your list of goals. Sketches, drawings, and a three-dimensional computer model provide you with the tools to visualize and feel comfortable with the proposed design.

We then submit these preliminary drawings along with detailed specifications to trusted and qualified general contractors to obtain competitive preliminary pricing. Together we review the preliminary proposals from the contractors and you will meet with and typically select one that we feel best suits your needs. They then become part of our team.  With our experience and extensive use of computer modeling we get real pricing early in the process; an important factor in moving forward with a realistic project.

Up to this point our fees are hourly based with a strong estimate given to you up front.  After this schematic design phase we understand the total scope of the project and are able to fix our fee moving forward.  This fixed fee is generally based a percentage of the overall construction cost as well as taking into account the complexity of the project.


Design Development

During the design development phase we advance the vision for your project considering comments from you and the contractor that we brought on-board in the previous phase. We study all this information and make any necessary changes to the scope, details, or sequencing of the project. This phase ends with your approval of the final scope and design that the construction documents describe in detail.


Construction Documents

During the construction document phase we prepare the working drawings to inform the contractor and any consultants (e.g. structural and civil engineers, landscape architects etc.)  of how to build every detail of your home. The drawings are also used to receive a final contract price with your general contractor and to obtain the required permits.  In this phase we select and coordinate final building materials, fixtures, finishes and systems as well as develop interior and exterior details, and review final project costs.


Construction Administration

As your advocate, I personally oversee the contractor’s work and field any questions to ensure that the construction proceeds in accord with the construction documents and our vision of your home. The Architect's involvement is critical to ensure that the finished work meets our agreed upon objectives as well as allowing us to review and accept or decline any contractor-proposed substitutions and changes to the design.  We are also responsible for reviewing payment requests from the contractor to you the home owner. 



The final phase is for you to.....

Enjoy your new home!