Hello out there, and welcome to my blog. I am Paul Hatem, an architect in Arlington, Massachusetts, specializing in design of homes. New homes, additions, renovations, all interest me.
So, with all of the home design stores and websites and resources out there, why would you hire a residential architect?
It doesn’t have to be one or the other. By all means, look at all the resources available, get together as many ideas and photos and examples of things you like as you can. These will help the process.
What an architect can do is help you put it all together. Design of a home (or an addition, or a renovation, or a room) involves countless decisions. You might feel like you’re thinking about a million things all at once.
Architects are trained to organize the decisions. Usually we start with the largest scale issues first, for example, where does the sun come from, where are the views, where does the driveway go, where is the house, how are the rooms arranged within the house, what are the possibilities, etc. Thoughts about window sizes, or colors or furniture (for example) – though they might occur to us at any time – they can wait until later. In other words, we will help you decide what to think about now, what to think about next, and what can wait until much later.
Architects think about space. We think in three dimensions. It’s not only about how wide and how long a room should be, but also how high. We think about the human body and how it will feel to be inside that room – or on that deck, or in that outdoor space.
Architects think about things you don’t see. The heating and air conditioning systems. The plumbing and electrical systems. These will cost money, and will greatly influence how you experience your house. They have to be factored into the design in graceful ways.
Architects think about construction costs. If our designs can’t be built, then the effort is wasted. Knowledge of your budget is crucial. At some point we will consult with builders for cost estimates. Maybe you don’t know how much money you need; an architect can help you figure out a reasonable budget.
Architects think about aesthetics. The look and feel of the materials, the colors, the lighting, the size and shape of the space, the view, daylight and fresh air; these are critical aspects of the world we live in. They should not be afterthoughts in the design of our homes.
After looking at all the resources that are available to you, you probably have many great ideas about what you want in your home. We architects think about buildings (especially homes, in my case) all the time. There’s a good chance we will have some ideas you haven’t thought of.
Many architects, including me, will sit down with you for an initial conversation at no charge. This helps you both get a sense of whether you could benefit from working together, and you’re likely to come away from it with some good ideas. Why not meet with your neighborhood residential architect today?