The process begins….
When you first contact Studio Z Architecture, we will discuss your project on the phone or via email to determine the project goals, timeframe, and budget. The next step is typically a design consultation, which gives you an architect’s expertise for a limited time at a reasonable price. Whether you’re planning to build a new home or renovate your existing house, this is the best way to begin the process.
What to expect during a Design Consultation
Think of the design consultation as a house call (literally!). We will visit your home, discuss and sketch possibilities, and answer your questions about costs and construction alternatives. During this meeting, we can explore the design of some interior modifications, discuss the best location for an addition, redesign the façade of your home to add curb appeal, or discuss options for your new home. Obviously, anyone who will be making decisions about the design should be present at this meeting.
How to prepare
- Make a wish list. Assemble a list of must-haves, would-like-to-haves, and dreams for your project.
- Create an ideabook (or several) using Houzz (www.houzz.com) and send me a link to the ideabook. You can also do this the old-fashioned way, by tearing photos from magazines or marking your favorite photos in a book. No matter how you assemble your inspiration photos, spend a few minutes identifying what it is that you like about the image in the comments area on Houzz or on a sticky note.
- If you live or plan to build a new home in a subdivision, make a copy of the Homeowner Association’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, which describe any limitations on the materials that can be used on the exterior of your home as well as the approval process for any plans to renovate the outside of your home.
- For renovations only:
- Find and make copies of the floor plans of your home if possible. If you don’t have plans of your home, you can check with your local building department to see if they have any drawings in their files. If you have an older home that hasn’t been remodeled in many years, there probably won’t be any drawings available. In this case, you can either make a sketch of the plan yourself or I can sketch it quickly when I arrive.
- Make a copy your mortgage survey. If you have a mortgage, you would have received a mortgage survey – a drawing of the extents of your property and the location of your home and any outbuildings – when you closed. This drawing will help us determine what size addition you can add to your home given the zoning ordinance. If you do not have a mortgage, or cannot find your mortgage survey, we can discuss your options before we meet.
- If you plan to make changes to the exterior of your home, take photos of the front, sides, and back of your home, and print them as large as possible. These photos will often be used during the consultation as a basis for sketching additions or other exterior changes. Be sure to hold the camera perpendicular to the façade so that the perspective is natural. Stand as far away as possible and zoom in on the façade to compensate for distortion from the wide-angle lens that’s the default on many digital cameras.
- For new homes only:
- Hire a surveyor to measure your property and prepare a site plan, including the property boundaries, significant topography, trees, or bodies of water, and any easements.
- Make a list of any questions you may have about the design and construction process.
- A design consultation can take one to two hours (or more!), depending on the size of your project, so if you have young children, it might make sense to arrange for a babysitter to watch them during this time.
How much does it cost?
The fee for the design consultation is $500, which includes up to two hours for the meeting, travel to your home, and a brief summary of the discussion, including copies of any drawings that we might prepare during that meeting, which will be emailed to you after the design consultation. Additional consulting time can be negotiated if needed. Travel to your home within a 30-mile radius of Plymouth, Michigan, is free. For locations outside this area, travel charges will be negotiated in advance.
Although the design consultation is a “stand-alone” service, meaning that you are not obligated to contract with Studio Z for the duration of your project, it often leads to a longer-term relationship. If that is appropriate, we will prepare a detailed contract proposal for you including your scope of work (what you would like to have us do), an outline of the phases of our work, an estimate of the time it will take and the amount of money it will cost, and some legal language intended to make sure we both understand our roles and responsibilities to each other.
The design consultation fee will be credited back to you if you sign a contract for full architectural services within 60 days of the consultation.
Check out the video that Velux made for Studio Z!!, Aug 24, 2016