How to Find an Architect

How to Find an Architect

Finding a residential architect that can design a home to fit your personality, style, and functionality goals is essential to the home building process. In fact, it’s the first step in bringing your dream home to life. Your architect should bridge the gap between your home design vision and your builder. A good architect will help to ensure even the smallest details are thought through, thus preventing costly oversights and mistakes.
Big Sky architects designed home in Whitefish Montana by Stillwater Architecture

Stillwater Architecture in Big Sky, Montana, is highly experienced in designing large-scale, luxury homes and is named a top architect by Mountain Living Magazine, year after year.

Tips on How to Find an Architect

  1. If you have friends or coworkers who have built a house, ask them if they were happy with their architect. If they were, ask for a referral.
  2. Interview at least 3 residential architects. A referral doesn’t mean you’ll like the architect as much as the person from whom you received the referral. It’s possible the architect won’t share your vision, or your personalities might not mesh.Even if the first interview goes great, interview at least two more architects. Often, those conversations garner you some valuable information or insights so it’s never a waste of time.
  3. Review each architect’s building portfolio. Tip 2 mentions residential architects for a reason. Make sure the architect you hire specializes in residential designs, not commercial or industrial.Finding an architect that is knowledgeable about construction, like those at Stillwater Architecture, is an added bonus. They provide an extra eye checking the quality of the project throughout the build.
  4. As you view architectural designs, note whether you connect with the architect’s style. If their past projects don’t appeal to you, you probably don’t want to hire them to design your home.
  5. Go over your budget with the architect before hiring them. While you won’t be able to get an exact figure, your potential architect should be able to offer some insights. Bring up any luxury home design features you might want to include. Ask how their fee structure is set up.
  6. Ask pointed questions, like how much the architect you are interviewing will actually be involved in your project. A good architect will be personally involved throughout. For example, at Stillwater Architecture, owner architects, Michael and Bob are involved in every step of the build.Other questions to ask an architect might be:
    • How long will this project take from design, to getting building permits and completing construction?
    • Do you have any referrals?
    • What are some obstacles on this type of project?
    • Has our conversation raised any red flags that might hinder success?
  7. Get estimates but don’t make your decision based solely on price. You will likely live in this house for years, so choose a top architect who will deliver a home design you’ll love.
  8. If you received a referral list, actually check it. When you contact the person, ask if the build was completed on time and, if not, why. Find out if there were any conflicts or things they were not happy with, and if they would work with the architect again in the future.
modern architecture designed by big sky architects stillwater architecture

When hiring an architect, factors like referrals, interviews and their portfolio will play a large part in your decision making process. However, don’t dismiss your feelings about the architect themselves or their designs. Choosing an architect with a fabulous portfolio means nothing if they don’t communicate well with you or share your design vision.

About Stillwater Architecture

Based in Big Sky, Montana, Stillwater Architecture is an approved Yellowstone Club architecture firm. Owners, Robert Gilbert and Michael Donohue have a combined 60 years architectural experience and have set themselves apart as top architects. Their policy of involvement from the first consultation, to designing the home, to the build’s completion gives clients peace of mind through the sometimes stressful process. The team is licensed in multiple states and specialize in designing luxury mountain homes. Their architecture portfolio displays a variety of architectural styles built in several localities across the U.S.
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