design

Renovating Without Plans? What DIY-ers Should Know!

Renovating Without Plans? What DIY-ers Should Know!

Design intent can be tough to convey; it is comprised of any number of ideas and goals, and all of the implications of achieving them successfully.  It can be tough for owners to express what your intent is if you’re not fluent in the language of building - and why should they be?  I can’t speak the language of medicine, or astronomy, and no one is expecting me to.

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Detail Hacks- The Shower Niche

A friend recently sent me a picture of this niche (shown below) and asked how the edges are generally resolved. I thought our conversation would make for a great blog post series called "Detail Hacks" since not everyone building their dream home has years of experience as an architect or builder. 

The shower niche is a great detail when executed properly but unless you are a designer, architect or builder, you may overlook a couple of small things that could change the overall appearance. I will give you a few solutions and you can decide which one looks appropriate in your house!

You probably didn't think about the raw edges of the tile when you were in the tile store trying to make a decision!

You probably didn't think about the raw edges of the tile when you were in the tile store trying to make a decision!

Solution 1: the Schluter strip

The addition of metal gives the bathroom a contemporary vibe. The Schluter strip is essentially a transition strip that captures the raw edge of the tile. 

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Solution 2: Finished edge or bullnose edge

Some tile offer finished or bullnose edges that give the niche a clean look. This detail is great for traditional or modern residential projects. 

Solution 3: Marble 

Let's pretend you selected a subway tile that doesn't offer finished or bullnose edges, what do you do now? One solution is to use marble or quartz as the inset material. It adds a nice contrast and its likely you have this material left over from the counter top fabrication. 

There you have it! Three solution to finishing out your shower niche! Good Luck and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more architecture inspiration! 

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What Do Design Services Mean to You?

What Do Design Services Mean to You?

One challenge we encounter is learning how to adapt to a particular project's needs without sacrificing great design and service in order to satisfy our client's project goals.  We do that by honing in on where exactly the client is seeking to add value, asking the deceptively simple question:

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Three Advantages of Hiring an Architect

We live in a Do-It-Yourself culture these days. Especially when it comes to saving money. More often in the construction process, many people will cut design services to save money. While we understand the need for saving, cutting design services can actually cost you in the long run. I will briefly touch on the top three financial advantages of hiring an architect for your next construction project. 

1. Information is Everything! 

Imagine you ask your neighbor for a quote to put together a dresser from Ikea and when they ask for the installation manual, you say "I don't have one". That person is more likely to give you a quote for more labor hours than if you were to send him the installation manual to review. This is obviously a small scale example but architecture works in the same way. Design is one part inspiration and one part information. Too little information often yields inaccurate bids. Furthermore, architectural drawings help contractors identify the client's design goals, whether it be an emphasis on integrated mechanical systems or custom cabinetry or clean lines and open spaces. 

You wouldn't build Billy without a manual, would you? Photo credit: Ikea-usa.com

You wouldn't build Billy without a manual, would you? Photo credit: Ikea-usa.com

2. Don't Put the Negotiator & Decision Maker in the Same Room!

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I had a client tell me this once and I thought it was pretty smart. As an Architect, I am usually the negotiator between the contractor and the owner. The advantage here is that as a design professional, I can offer third party expertise in controlling budgets and costs. Building a home is sort of like buying a car, but continuously for 3, 6, sometimes 9 months. If the contractor needs to make changes, you may feel pressure to increase your budget, the same way you sometimes feel pressure to add a sunroof or leather seats. Now imagine yourself in this situation with a third party who can creatively address challenges without the need to increase your budget. Sorry - contractors - you aren't all car salesmen! 

3. Small Budgets can have the Most Unique Design Solutions! 

Some of the most inspiring projects are often the ones with small budgets. Doing a lot with a little is the root of what we do as design professionals. If given the opportunity, Architects can transform your modest idea into a powerful one without increasing your budget. Our holistic approach to design solutions can you save you money because we think about how project behaves and operates in the early stages of design, eliminating the need for costly adjustments half way through construction. We recently saved a client over $20,000 in construction costs by assisting in materials research. Our fee for the entire project was less than that amount we saved her. Smart planning will always save you money.    

Architects are trained to think about solutions holistically and differently. Photo credits to DesignBoom.com

Architects are trained to think about solutions holistically and differently. Photo credits to DesignBoom.com

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