Why go into a building project with blind spots? You might have design flair but do you know how to design it to meet code? You might have technical skills but can you coordinate all of the elements to create a desirable space? Sure the home center can lay out a kitchen for you but will they help you look and think beyond the kitchen walls and consider how the layout works with the rest of the house?
We have years of training and experience in looking at all elements of your project. There are reasons to make design moves that may not obvious to a layperson or someone accustomed to their own home. And we have worked on several projects of all types since 1990, so we have likely worked with a situation similar to yours. We do churches, schools, office buildings, and many other project types in addition to houses, and we can bring the technologies from various project types to your scope when we see an advantage in doing so.
In our initial meeting we’ll walk you through our Design Process steps. For longer distance projects we might start with a phone consultation. You can also review our Design Process page on our website. Your specific project may not involve all steps. We can also bring a sample project to show you the “deliverables” or items produced for a similar endeavor so you have a good idea of what to expect. We also maintain a list of references so you can hear experiences of past clients. We know that folks who have worked with architects will find us to be great communicators of ideas, both verbally and graphically, be it with historical allusions, sketches, and computer 3d modeling.
Our houses and buildings are some of the largest investments most of us will make. With that in mind can you afford not to hire someone who knows about design, code, structure, permitting, and the construction process? Having a good plan before you build will help you understand costs, impacts of design decisions, and end product. We don’t make a move until we’ve done a review of your local zoning codes so we know our parameters. We also look at what you have to work with, and if we feel that what you want to do isn’t practical for what you have we’ll advise you before you spend a lot of money.
We suggest to everyone doing new construction or an addition to have soil borings done to determine the structural bearing capacity. On a recent house project the soils were found to be very poor and that the client would have to spend several thousands of dollars to remove bad soil. He knew this as we were designing, where many find out at excavation. That client decided to proceed cognizant of the cost for soil remediation as we worked with the soil boring scientist and a civil engineer to determine what would have to be done. The client was able to make that decision early in the process, long before he spent the money on documents and permitting.
It varies per project. We will look at your project scope, meet with you to hear your ideas, give you a synopsis of the process, and then prepare a proposal of our fees and the services you can expect. We know you want to know up front what you expect to pay before you make the commitment, so we work to give you a fixed fee (delete comma) or a not-to exceed fee. Some architects will charge a percentage of construction cost; we generally charge based on the labor we anticipate using and per our hourly rates. We will look at the hour-based fee and see how it compares to a percentage of anticipated construction cost, just to see where our hourly rate falls in comparison since the percentage method is common in the industry.
Also our proposals/contracts are structured to where you only pay for the work we’ve done. It shows you our fees for each phase and it is not a commitment to pay us whether we do the work. We’ve had a couple of clients work with previous architects who they terminated only to find their contract committed them to paying their fee regardless. We had one client stop right after they signed our proposal because a medical emergency came up. No work was done and no fee was charged.
Contact us and let’s talk about what you’re looking to do. We do new construction, renovations, and additions; we do residential and commercial. We can connect you with specialty firms for projects we do not do, such as historic preservation. We prefer projects closer to Glen Ellyn, Illinois, but distance becomes less of an issue for larger commissions. We are located in the west Chicago suburbs yet we do a lot of work in Northwest Indiana thanks to our living and working in that area from 1990-2004, and maintaining our relationships in the area.
We also have a unique niche in commercial swimming pool permit and design. We work with two contractors on pools for hotels, swim schools, and any commercial facility in states where we are licensed. Illinois Department of Public Health requires all commercial pools “to be designed by a pre-qualified engineer or architect” and we hold this pre-qualification credential.
We have licenses in the four Lake Michigan states and three others. We can procure licenses in other states if warranted by a potential project.
- We have both worked in both small and large offices and we understand each pros and cons.
- We pride ourselves in being astute listeners yet are not afraid to suggest alternatives if we think it will be better for your situation.
- We strive to be good detailers as well as designers. We are required by most of our state licenses to get 12 hours of continuing education per year; over the past four years we’ve averaged 50. We look to keep up with changes in technologies and methods to stay ahead of the curve. Our office is located within 20 minutes of major carpentry and masonry training centers and we are close to many sources of hands-on information, not merely online data.
- We love educating the public about our profession. We have a 120-minute seminar we offer quarterly entitled “What An Architect Does and How You Benefit.” We also have a 30-minute presentation on “The Design Process” for interested groups.
- We strive put ourselves in the shoes of everyone we work with:
- Our clients and how they will use and experience the space.
- The contractor who has to build what we’ve designed.
- The structural engineer who has to determine the best support system.
- The mechanical engineer who has to get ductwork to work with those high ceilings.
- The plumber who charges by the lineal foot of pipe.
- We utilize CAD in 3d enabling cost-effective three-dimensional viewing of your project.
- We embrace technology such as an office server with a backup drive, and cloud servers to assure your data (and our archives) won’t be lost.
- We understand that our business is creative, but we also understand it’s still a business. We are committed to providing you with the best experience and service we can.
- We have had clients tell us that they are delighted we made an idea work they thought wouldn’t. We create the “box” by thinking outside of it!
That’s fine, feel free to browse our social media links to learn more about us. Check out our testimonials on Houzz as well as on the home page. For some questions to ask yourself in planning a project, download our FREE Design Planning Guide, which will give you several factors to consider before you start. It will help you get prepared on some of what to expect. Contact us below with any questions that arise, and we look forward to hearing from you once you are ready.