This is a great time to acquire a vacation home. Whether the target home is to be built new or an existing home that will require extensive remodeling, it is always wise to employ a successful and professional architect. Just as with any other profession, architects can be competent, incompetent, or fall somewhere in the middle. Considering how much money (and future satisfaction) is at stake, it just makes sense to go with a top architecture firm with a stellar reputation. But what are the factors that make an architect successful?
When you want to hire the best architect, take these 5 things into consideration:
Successful architects have the habit of establishing a clear channel of communication from the beginning of the project and maintaining it until the end. During the initial home design consultation, the architect should interview the client and listen to what the client’s vision for the final outcome is. This will also involve asking questions to determine what architectural style they prefer, custom home features they’d like to include and offering suggestions to facilitate the process. Once enough details have been established the architect should provide sketches and solicit feedback from the client before drawing up the blueprints.
They are not afraid to think out of the box and take design risks. In many cases, vacation homes are not as pedestrian as the primary residence; rather they are structures designed for relaxation and should reflect the owner’s personalities in ways not represented in the primary residence. The architect must be able to intuit the client’s personality and make suggestions based on what they “read”.
It’s All About the Details
The best architects pay attention to detail. It’s one thing to design a new structure or makeover, but it is quite another thing to make design decisions that make everything work together no matter how minute the detail. A successful architect will not only understand the big picture, but will also be able to conceptualize the details that hold everything together. An unsuccessful architect will tend to subscribe to a “plug and play” mentality without considering the impact that details offer. Sourcing the proper materials might carry a higher price tag, but the benefits are enormous.
Designs for Living
Too many architects simply consider the visual aspect of their designs, without considering how use and feel factor into the enjoyment of the space. It is important to remember that regardless of what is pictured on the blueprint, the client will be living in a home that takes all the senses into consideration. Does the client desire to enjoy the smell of the sea or the sound of a bubbling brook? The successful architect will take these things into consideration and align the home, patio, deck, and windows to take advantage of these things within the constraints of the local building codes.
Your architect should employ a hands-on relationship with the general contractor and any subcontractors for the duration of the project. It is nice to imagine that once the blueprints are submitted and the building permits are pulled, the job is done. Not so in the real world. Circumstances change, client’s desires evolve based on current work progress, and unexpected problems that may be encountered along the way. Close day-to-day communication between the architect and the builders will go a long way towards a smooth project and harmonious finished product with minimal changes.
Finding a top architecture firm is one of the most important aspects of planning a vacation home; it forms the bedrock of creating a space that will fulfill your vision and enhance your enjoyment. If you’re reading to build a vacation home, or remodel an existing one, contact us for a consultation. At Stillwater Architecture, we believe every detail matters.