How to Prepare for A Meeting with an Architect
The architect is an extremely important component in your new build or whole home renovation. They are the ones bringing your vision to life, they create the plans from which the builder will work and they ensure that everything flows correctly, is structurally sounds and adheres to building codes. The architect is in many ways the orchestra conductor ensuring that the various sections all keep time and harmonize beautifully together in order to create the most amazing symphony ever heard. Except in this case, that symphony is of course your house!
Meeting with the architect the first time may be a bit nerve wracking, after all, you need to figure out exactly how to get across your wants, needs, budget and style preferences and somehow help them to realize your inner vision. As architects generally aren’t mind readers—though some get pretty darn close—you want to be prepared when meeting with your project architect. So here are a few tips to consider as you get ready for that initial consultation.
Have Your Ideas Organized and Ready to Go!
Before you meet with your architect, spend some time thinking about what your priorities are for your home renovation. Many clients with whom we’ve worked often have a scrapbook, flash drive or some other such file which includes all of the images and ideas that inspire them. Regardless of whether it’s new construction or a major home remodel, you’re obviously going to be drawn to certain elements, certain design style and layouts. Figure out a way to collect and save all of these, and then you can present them to your architect during that first meeting. Their job is to get a sense of “you” and your overall tastes, and so you want to help them along as they try to fill in the blanks
Seek Input – They Know Stuff
You’re working with an architect because of course they have experience when it comes to drawing workable, fluid plans. To that end, trust them. Many people have a single minded view when it comes to their home, and that view is most definitely important. But you don’t want to have such tunnel vision that you don’t take the valuable advice and insights offered by your design professional. If you’re working with a reputable company, then most likely they’ve done hundreds of these types of plans. They could offer some great tips on everything from optimal window placement, to the number of lights needed, to potential furniture layout even.
Be Upfront About Your Budget
Your architect may have some terrific ideas, but if these don’t fall within your budget, then it’s simply a waste of time. The more forthcoming you are about your budget and where you’d like to end up once all is said and done, the easier and more effective the architect meeting will be. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to stay within your budget, so don’t hesitate to ask for alternative solutions if something seems a bit exorbitant given your financial picture in regard to the project.
Ask Questions – They Won’t Bite
People often shy from asking their architects very pertinent questions because they’re either too nervous or perhaps hesitant about sounding like they don’t know what’s going on. You’ve probably not been around a set of blueprints—at least not nearly as often as the person responsible for designing said prints, so ask for clarification whenever you don’t understand something. A good architect will walk you through the process and the plans so that you come away from the meeting better informed and thus feeling good about the project.
Ask About Past Projects
At this point you’ve probably already hired him/her, so this is not intended from a referral point of view but more from a referential point of view; meaning, perhaps they’ve done houses that are similar to yours, that bear similar elements, or feature a parallel style. They could pull out some plans that they’ve previously worked on which may give you even greater inspiration and thereby a new and more clearly defined direction for your own project.
There is a lot of planning that has to take place when you prepare for a major home renovation. CHI is a design-build firm, this means that we take care of everything in house. So when you meet with your architect/designer, you are in actuality meeting with a member of our team. As such, he has close ties with the builder, the tradesmen and all members of the CHI family. When looking to build new or have a whole home renovation done, often this is the best route to go. Firms with in-house designers/architects enable you to take care of everything right there and often, especially when it comes to the architectural portion, at a more affordable price.