Whether you’re building your dream custom home or remodeling your current home, the process should be fun! Will it be hard work? Of course. But it should also be enjoyable. Depending on the size of your project, odds are good that you’ll be working with an architect. Here are our top tips for a successful project:
Assemble Your Team Early
Home building is a team sport. We recommend assembling your team at the beginning, so everyone can be involved and get on the same page from the start. This generally means selecting the architect, builder and interior designer. Depending on your interests and priorities, it could also mean selecting a home technology professional, energy rater, landscape architect, or other specialized consultants.
Involving everyone from the beginning allows you to incorporate everyone’s ideas from the start, instead of having to back track later when a new team member is brought on board midway through the design process. In short, it helps save time and money.
Be Up Front About Budget
It’s important to be up front and realistic with your team about your budget from the start. A design you love is useless if you can’t afford to build it. Honest, open communication about budget will help your architect design a home that fits into your budget.
Spend Plenty of Time in Programming and Design
Changes on paper are much easier (and cheaper!) than changes made during construction. Spend plenty of time during the programming and design phases to make sure you’re happy with the design of your home. Spend time with it at home over coffee or a glass of wine, imagining what it will be like to live there. Taking the time to get the design right in the beginning is an investment that will pay off for years to come.
The Importance of Making Decisions in a Timely Manner
Starting your project with a realistic schedule is important, but it isn’t enough. Long lead times, busy schedules and a scarcity of subcontractors mean making decisions in a timely manner is a key factor in staying on schedule. We’re not saying you should rush through decisions without thinking things through. Simply that it is important to keep in mind that staying on schedule is a team effort, and your decision-making process can play an important role.
Furniture and Art
Let your architect know about important pieces of art or furniture that you plan to bring to your new home. Whether it’s a grand piano, your modern art collection, or heirloom furniture, be sure to tell your architect about it during programming. The last thing you want is to get through design, and realize there isn’t enough room in your living room for your piano, or you don’t have a place to display your favorite sculpture.
Involve Your Home Automation Pro During the Architectural Design Process
Home technology has evolved to the point where it’s practically a must-have, especially in new custom homes. If you know you want to work with a home automation professional, we highly recommend engaging them in the architectural design process from the beginning. Knowing what smart home features and technology will be in your home allows your architect to integrate them seamlessly into the design of your home. Whether it’s a TV, shading system, projector, or getting rid of that bank of switches in your kitchen, integrating technology at this phase is key to blending them into the design. Whatever it means for you, involving your home technology specialist in the design process will ensure your tech is integrated and not just controlled.
Communication is Key
The common thread throughout most of these tips comes down to one thing – communication is key. Open communication is vital to the success of a project. Make sure your architect is willing to open their ears and clearly understand your wishes and requirements. The key is to find someone who is willing to not only listen to your needs and desires, but also has the ability to translate them into the design.
About the Author
Andrea Thomas is the Marketing Director for KGA Studio Architects, a residential architecture firm with over 40 years of experience designing award-winning custom homes and remodels. At KGA she combines her experience in web, graphic design, and marketing with her passion for architecture to create and produce thoughtful content for anyone considering working with an architect. Originally from Seattle, Andrea lived in Honolulu and Madrid before moving to Denver in 2012.