Why should I hire an Architect?

Why go into a building project with blind spots?  You might have design flair but do you know how to build it to meet code?  You might have technical skills but can you coordinate all of the elements to create a desirable space?  Sure the home center can lay out a kitchen for you but will they help you look and think beyond the kitchen walls and consider how the layout works with the rest of the house? 

We have years of training and experience in looking at all elements of your project.  There are reasons to make design moves that may not obvious to a layperson or someone accustomed to their own home.  And we have worked on several projects of all types for over 25 years, so we have likely worked with a situation similar to yours.  We do schools, churches, office buildings, and many other project types in addition to houses, and we can bring the technologies from various project types to your scope when applicable.

I’ve never worked with an architect before.  What is the process?

In our initial meeting we’ll walk you through our Design Process steps.  For longer distance projects we might start with a phone consultation.  You can also review our Design Process page on our website.  Your specific project may not involve all steps.  We can also bring a sample project to show you the “deliverables” or items produced for a similar endeavor so you have a good idea of what to expect.  We also maintain a list of references so you can hear experiences of past clients.  We know that folks who have worked with architects will find us to be great communicators of ideas, both verbally and graphically, be it with historical allusions, sketches, and computer 3d modeling.

Aren’t Architects Expensive?

Our houses and buildings are some of the largest investments most of us will make.  With that in mind can you afford not to hire someone who knows about design, code, structure, permitting, and the construction process?  Having a good plan before you build will help you understand costs, impacts of design decisions, and end product.  We don’t make a move until we’ve done a review of your local zoning codes so we know our parameters.  We also look at what you have to work with, and if we feel that what you want to do isn’t practical for what you have we’ll advise you before you spend a lot of money.

Okay so what do you charge?

It varies per project.  We will look at your project scope, meet with you to hear your ideas, give you a synopsis of the process, and then prepare a proposal of our fees and the services you can expect.  We know you want to know what to expect so we work to give you a fixed fee, or a not-to exceed fee.  We know some architects will charge a percentage of construction cost; we generally charge based on the labor we anticipate using and hourly rates.  We will look at the hour-based fee and see how it compares to a percentage of anticipated construction cost, just to see where our hourly rate falls in comparison since the percentage method is common in the industry. 

Are you willing to do my project?

Contact us and let’s talk about what you’re looking to do.  We do new construction, renovations, and additions; we do residential and commercial.  We do not do historic preservation projects; there are folks who specialize in those project types we can connect you with.  We prefer projects closer to Glen Ellyn, Illinois, but distance becomes less of an issue for larger commissions.  While we are located in the west Chicago suburbs yet we do a lot of work in Northwest Indiana thanks to our living and working in that area from 1990-2004.  We are licensed in the four states bordering Lake Michigan and three others.  We can procure licenses in other states if warranted by a potential project.

What sets you apart from other architects?

Several things!

  1. We have worked in firms and offices as small as three to as large as 1,000, four firms over 16 years before opening our own doors. 
  2. We pride ourselves in being astute listeners yet are not afraid to suggest alternatives if we think it will be better for your situation.
  3. We strive to be good detailers as well as designers.  We are required by most of our state licenses to get 12 hours of continuing education per year; over the past four years we’ve averaged 50.  We look to keep up with changes in technologies and methods to stay ahead of the curve.  Our office is located within 20 minutes of major carpentry and masonry training centers and we are close to many sources of hands-on information, not merely on line data.
  4. We treat it like a business, knowing that creative thinking and design needs to be supported with good customer service and good business practices.
  5. We love educating the public about our profession.  We have a 120-minute seminar we offer quarterly entitled “What An Architect Does and How You Benefit.”  We also have a 30-minute presentation on “The Design Process” for interested groups.
  6. We have had clients tell us that they are delighted that we can make ideas work that they don’t believe will.  We create the “box” by thinking outside of it!

So I’ve read all of this and I’m still not sure if I’m ready to meet with you.

That’s fine, feel free to browse our social media links to learn more about us.  Check out our testimonials on Houzz as well.  For some questions to ask yourself in planning a project, download our FREE Design Planning Guide below, which will give you several factors to consider before you start.  It will help you get prepared on some of what to expect.  Contact us with any questions that arise, and we look forward to hearing from you once you are ready. 

Useful Links

See Some of Our Projects
Read Our Client Reviews
FREE Design Planning Guide

Contact Us   630.534.6654