I’m often asked what I think makes a successful architect. For me, successful design projects are always collaborative. My success in creating the right program for you depends enormously on how we communicate. I need to understand what is important to you. How do you convey your vision to an architect? Here are my top five ways.
Have a wish list.
I want to know all the things you are interested in accomplishing. I don’t want you to edit it; I really want to hear what your dreams are. Some of the things you think are not feasible are very doable. Some of them are very doable if you combine them with another thing in a shared space for example.
Have a budget in mind.
Start with a comfortable budget, one that if you heard your project was going to cost you this amount of money you’d say in a heartbeat ‘let’s do it’. Then consider your pain threshold, where you’d say this can’t cost me a penny more or I’m afraid I can’t do it. Those are the two good working numbers I like to have going into the project. Then priorities can be ranked to accommodate as much of your wish list as possible.
Share your values.
Is it important that you don’t overbuild for your neighborhood? Are you looking to get as much in resale out of your project as you put into it? Do you want a project that reflects your style no matter the resale value? Are there features you may not get all your money out of but will really enhance your lifestyle or business? There are no right or wrong answers here. But once you decide what’s important to you it’s easier to interpret your vision.
Show and tell.
Some people are unintentionally vague when asked what they want in a design. They say things like “I want something nice” or “I want it to look cool.” Well what to you is nice? What to you is cool? Creating a scrapbook, a board on Pinterest, an Idea Book on Houzz can help you illustrate and share what it is you like. Be it photos from a magazine, pictures you took while out walking, a piece of writing, a favorite movie scene — I want to see it. This will help me ask pointed questions about your taste. This gives me bits of data to refer to as I design your project.
Most people, being good shoppers, are going to compare one or two architects before making their decision. I’m fine with that. Go to my website, look at examples of my work, and then go to a competitor's website and look at their work. Do you see a difference? Do you appreciate the difference? Is it important to you that you see a difference? If not, then go with the least expensive option. If you see what I put into my work and you say ‘wow that’s really cool, he’s the only one that can give me that,’ understand it may cost you a little bit more because I put more time into my projects and make your decision on that.