Our phone has started ringing again, hooray! During the past three years we would occasionally call ourselves to make sure that the darn thing was still working. In the initial conversation with potential clients a common question is "I have never worked with an architect or built a house; where do I start?" The American Institute of Architects is a great resource for homeowners. Their web page How Design Works http://howdesignworks.aia.org/ describes how to select an architect, typical services, negotiating the agreement and keeping track of the project. Finding the right architect is critical for the success of your project. Considering that the typical custom house takes 6 to 9 months to design and 12 to 14 months to build, your architect is someone that you will work closely with for quite a while. The AIA has a database of AIA Architects to help you find an architect. http://architectfinder.aia.org/
Another great resource is www.houzz.com. It is a huge database of architects, interior designers and builders who have uploaded photos of their projects. Homeowners can peruse the photos by region, style, and room and create idea books of rooms and elements that they like. The homeowner can find architects that they want to interview at Houzz.com. We find it very helpful to see client's idea books to get a sense of their likes and dislikes.
We have written a booklet on Building Your House in the South that covers how we work and the particulars to building in a hot, humid climate. If you would like a copy email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email you a copy. In a future post I will cover how an architect makes your life easier and building a house fun!