How To Get The Most From Your Architect

The architect-client relationship is based off trust, respect, and communication. Architects want to create their clients’ dream homes, but sometimes a lack of communication or a poor relationship results in an unsuccessful design. Here are 7 ways to ensure you get the most from your architect, and how to have a successful collaborative relationship with them:

1) Choose the Right Architect for Your Home- Working with an architect with a local knowledge is useful. It may save time and money in the planning phase of the design; they will be familiar with local codes and zoning, as well as local contractors that may be right for your project. This is a long-term business relationship, so make sure you like your architect, and can see this working for the whole design process.

2) Do your Homework- Look online at reviews and recommendations of the architecture firm you’re thinking of working with. If you want green residential design, does that architecture firm’s website show a few examples that you like? Come to meetings with your architect well prepared, and bring in magazine clippings, Pinterest pages, or ideas from Houzz that inspire you and your own design process. Make sure your architect understands your big idea, and is willing to incorporate your concepts into the design.

3) Be Open Minded- Your architect has knowledge on new ideas and designs that might apply well to your home. Allow your architect to have space to input their own ideas and knowledge to add upon your own. They may come up with strategies that you may have never thought of. Their job is to design based on parameters, and their strategies may be effective and innovative, so keep an open mind and hear their ideas. If you don’t like their idea, tell them and they can revise their plans.

4) Communicate! – Architects expect their clients to ask questions. The design process is collaborative. Feel free to come in with many different ideas, and allow the professionals to digest these ideas and create an overall design. This is a process, and may take more than one iteration. Be patient, but be involved. This is your home, not the architects, so don’t be passive.

5) Allow your Architect to have a Say in the Contractor- Do your research on local contractors. If there are a few contractors you’ve heard great things about, let your architect know. They’re likely to suggest a few, in consideration of your budget and goals, and they’ve worked with many contractors and will know if they are appropriate for your project. Your contractor will also form a relationship with you, just as your architect has, so you’ll want a highly recommended one that is dependable and can create your vision.

6) Allow your Architect to Assist in Interior Finish Selections- Since your architect has been a part of the whole design process, they’ll probably have suggestions for interior finishes such as lighting, cabinetry and tilework. Your architect can add these features into their modeling software and show you how it will look before you go out and purchase these fixtures. Architects and builders often have a discount as well to large warehouses with appliances, plumbing fixtures, etc.

7) Ask your Architect to Plan for the Future- If you don’t finish your basement, or use cheaper materials for a room that you plan on upgrading later, ask your architect to determine how those areas can be later designed. By planning for a future space, such as creating the plumbing and electrical runs in the future basement guest bedroom and bathroom, you will not have to pay to go back in later to install these. Designing for the future will save you money and time when you want to remodel or redesign a certain area of your home.

At Fänas Architecture, we would love to collaborate with you and design your custom home. Contact us at 303.444.5380 or