questions and process
Are you a registered Architect?
No. I grew up in a family of builders and designers. My father was a builder who designed all of his plans, and my older brothers and I followed in his footsteps. While my brothers were more construction motivated, I enjoyed drawing pictures and took to designing homes like second nature.
Growing up designing, remodeling, and building new homes for our father and later with my brothers allowed me to understand structure like few will ever learn by just going to school for Architectural design and drawing. I have great respect for those who go to school, but I come from a much more practical relationship with most homeowners typically looking to save as much money as they can in the process of building or remodeling their home.
You will typically pay a much larger fee with a licensed Architect who will often spend more time creating many extra drawing sheets that are unnecessary (or unwanted by the common building contractor) to construct your home or addition. I charge about 0.6 percent of the building/project cost or about 5% to 10% of the average charge for residential architectural drawings. A licensed Architect may charge about $15,000 to $50,000+ for a $700,000.00 home, whereas, my cost would be around $5,500.00.
How do you know what we want?
Find some pictures from magazines or the Internet, photographs of exterior homes you like, or sketch something on a piece of paper, these are very helpful for me to understand your tastes. Your tastes on the exterior can play a big role in how I put the interior together. Equally important is what you want in your home, give some thought to the basic layout and flow, what side the garage is on, how many bedrooms and baths, etc.
Your budget is also going to play a role in the square foot and detail of your home. In this day and age, it’s hard to get everything we want, it’s also hard to get everything we need. I do my best to get all the things you need into the design and as many of the things you want. However, there are times when something needs to be compromised, so give some thought to the priority of the things you want and need in your new home.
On the exterior, think about what materials you want to use… brick, stone, vinyl, wood, or a combination of them, window trim… wood surround, shutters, flower boxes, etc. I do not get into the brands, I just need the ideas of materials used.
Is there a preliminary design we can change?
A preliminary plan is drawn first so you can see and verify that the floor layout(s) and exterior are what you’re looking for. The preliminary plan can be marked up as necessary before I continue on to the final drawings. Depending on the design and what we both understand about the ideas presented, I will spend the time necessary to make sure I am conveying these ideas into something presentable to make sure you understand the full picture.
When the preliminary plan is drawn, I will send you copies of the floor plans and often interior perspectives of the model. I also make a video and go through the house plan detail covering all the spacing and why things are laid out the way they are, or just to show you how your ideas come together in a functional plan.
At times I send out 1/4 scale plans on a PDF that you can print, and/or we can set up another in-office appointment or zoom meeting to go over the plans, whatever works best for you.
As far as timing, it can take from a few weeks to a few months to complete the plans.
When and How do we pay for our plans?
If you are a contractor, who would like to use our continual services you will receive an invoice for an estimated half the cost of the plan when the first layout or design phase (the preliminary plan) is started. The final cost will be due after the completion of the full set of construction-ready plans.
If you are a customer who is going to contract your own house or will have a contractor build your home, the cost will also be broken down typically into two parts. An estimated half the cost of the plan is due when we start the design phase (the preliminary plans). The final cost will be due upon the completion of the full set of construction-ready plans and before it will be emailed to you in a PDF file.
If the plan stays in the design phase because of design alternatives being explored, or extra time is needed for review, a second and third preliminary invoice may be issued and due upon receipt. If a plan is not completed for any reason, the Owner will be billed for any remaining hours and payment due upon receipt of the invoice.
The final payment will list the details and prices according to the price list found on the New Home Design page. The final payment is due upon receipt.
Do you charge for consultation time?
Included in the base cost of the plan are two free hours of consultation time. Usually, this will cover the time needed to do the complete plan. If more time is needed additional fees will be charged to the final plan costs. If additional office visits are made, or lengthy phone calls or zoom meetings are made by you or the contractor, the bill will show a list of the office visits, zoom meetings, or phone calls.
What do you charge for a custom design plan?
Plan costs vary depending on the detail and size of the house. Plans are priced as a basic and standard house design (a square and simple house). Any jogs, porches, angled walls, specially-designed roofs, dormers, bay windows, wall heights, etc. will be charged separately. See Estimated Design Costs for some examples.
Please refer to the IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT TIME AND COSTS for more detail
Do you use CAD to design homes?
I have been using a computer for over 30 years now to design and draw house plans. When designing on a computer there is no limit as to what can be achieved. The drawing objects can be moved or stretched in any configuration to obtain the perfect house plan design.
What’s included in my house plan?
Everything you need to get your building permit and to build your house. A smaller plan will include the main (and second) floor plan, the foundation, and all four elevations. It also includes a common section page of codes and notes to meet the Michigan State Codes. For larger homes, it will also include one or more cross-section views to help describe how the house will be constructed.