Knowing that most people have never worked with an architect before, I find it helpful to describe how to get started and what to expect.
The Consultation: The first step is to set up a consultation: this initial meeting usually takes place at the client’s home (or the property the client is interested in renovating if not his/her main residence). I will visit with you to find out your wants and needs, take a small tour to get a feel for your existing space and I might take some preliminary measurements. We will talk over ideas and goals that you have for your home and I will provide you with advice and suggestions for your space. There is a fee of $125 for weekday consultations and a fee of $175 for weekend consultations and consultations outside of the City of Raleigh limits (fee is due at the time of consultation) .
The Design Proposal: Also included in my consultation fee: after our meeting, I will put together a Design Proposal that will include a summary of the work that needs to be done (a.k.a. “Project Description”) , a breakdown of the hours I believe it will take me to do the work, and a final (fixed) fee for my Design Services. Please refer to the Q&A section of this website to get an idea of what an architect charges.
*I like to note that the Consultation and Design Proposal are invaluable parts of the design process and are as much for the architect as for the client. Almost all design Agreements (Contracts) stipulate that the client must provide the architect with a “program” and it is during the Consultation that I can assist you in formulating your ideas into a cohesive path forward.
I have clients who hire me for the initial consultation only, finding that the advice I offer during this meeting and summarized in the Proposal are all they need to move forward on their own. But most clients decide to retain my services through to the Design Options and Construction Drawings (see below).
The Contract/Agreement for Design Services: If you agree to the Proposal, I write up a standard Contract/Agreement based on the Proposal for your review and signature. This Agreement spells out what you can expect from me throughout the design process. Once the Agreement is agreed upon, signed and the first payment made, I schedule a time to document your existing space in detail. This site visit usually takes 2-3 hours and involves measuring and photographing your home so that I can have an accurate record from which to draw from.
The Design Options: This is definitely my favorite part of any project! After studying your space and your program, I (generally) will present 3 different design options that all address your needs in different ways. One option is usually very straight forward, a second option might be a variation on the first, and the third option will usually be an “outside-the-box” design. All designs are considerate of your budget and elements from each design can be mixed-and-matched. *I should note that with my current project load, I am balancing 10-12 clients at any given time. Because of the nature of my practice, I am the sole designer and producer, so it may take 4-6 weeks (after my site visit) before you receive your Design Options.
After the client reviews and decides on his/her favorite elements from each option, I go “back to the drawing board” to formulate one, cohesive plan. This process involves client feedback and revisions and is not complete until you are wholly excited and happy with the final design.
The Construction Drawings: After we agree on a final design, I get to work on the “construction drawings”. This set is prepared with a contractor in mind and will have measurements, elevations, details and notes.
And Finally: Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions: I know most people have never worked with an architect before and it can feel overwhelming, but my job is to make it a fun and exciting time and relieve you of the headaches. I love questions and I love feedback. I want this project to be about your wants (not mine) and hope my expertise will guide you to a wonderful solution.