Why Using An Architect On A Home Renovation Makes Sense

The Advantages Of Using an Architect On A Home Renovation

Planning a home renovation is an exciting process, full of ideas and inspiration. But how to do you turn all those ideas into a reality? For many homeowners, contacting a professional architect is the first step in transforming their home. Yet working with an architect is a process that’s foreign to many of us.

Hiroko Lindsey, founder of Lindsey Architects, has worked on hundreds of home renovations since entering the architecture world in 2004. She wants to demystify the process of working with a professional architect on your renovation,  whether it’s an addition, restoration, remodel, or facelift – and show you why more homeowners than ever are choosing to work with professional architects.

Contacting an Architect

When you first reach out to an architect for your home renovation project, the first thing that they will do is to come out and see the space to be renovated. When Hiroko begins a new renovation project, she meets with the client in their home to discuss their vision. These are what she calls the “dream conversations” because she works with the client to visualize their dream for their renovation.

“This is my favorite part of the process,” Hiroko admits. “Because it goes from being something abstract to something my client can visualize.”

However, it is an architect’s job not just to visualize the dream, but to make it a reality. The years of training and experience a professional architect brings to this process is invaluable. As part of the initial meeting at the client’s home, Hiroko will carefully measure everything in the existing space, and then create a computer-aided model. Having a good understanding of the existing structure is key to a successful renovation, says Hiroko.

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“It can be tricky – it’s pretty much unknown conditions when I first enter,” she says. “Luckily I’ve worked on architecture a long time, and can usually make a good judgement about how things are. Sometimes we find things during a renovation that aren’t up to code or needs to be fixed. My expertise as an architect, combined with a good understanding of the existing structural home, helps me identify those things early. It’s my job to unite the process from the very beginning.”

Working with an Architect

The design and drawing process for a home renovation is highly-interactive and customized to every client. Hiroko says that she may spend 100 hours on even minor renovations, going through three drawing phases.

The first phase is the design drawings, where the client’s vision is realized. Hiroko may go back and forth several times with the design drawing, making sure it’s absolutely perfect. It’s a lot easier to make significant changes to your home renovation at this stage than it is half-way through construction, after all!

The next phases are the construction drawing – a suitably detailed draft to allow contractors to make bids on a project – and a permitting drawing.

The permitting drawing is a specially detailed drawing designed for presentation to permitting authorities. A good drawing can help the permitting process go easier and more quickly. Hiroko’s in-depth knowledge of building codes throughout Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts where she works helps ensure a successful renovation. Coding and permitting requirements can be daunting, especially for waterfront properties, which Hiroko considers to be her specialty.

These drawing stages are also where the materials for a home are chosen. An architect can ensure that the materials used in a renovation are not only durable and safe, but also stylish and beautiful for many years to come.

Hiroko often works with clients after the design has been completed, aiding them in selecting and negotiating with a contractor, and serving as an advisor and advocate throughout the construction process.

“When it’s time for construction, my clients find it’s helpful to have someone who’s on ‘their side’ throughout the process,” says Hiroko. “I make sure the design is realized exactly as they envisioned it.”

Why choose an architect for your home renovation?

Architects solve problems; they examine the space to be renovated, listen to your dreams and needs, and then provide solutions that work for both. They add professionalism and polish to every project, maximizing its effect and value.

Because a more accurate design plan helps contractors give more accurate quotes (and stick to them), architects can even save you money overall. Hiroko’s years of experience help her to get creative with space and materials in a way that complements the flow and aesthetic of your home.

“Good planning makes for the best outcomes,” says Hiroko. “If it’s your dream renovation, it’s worth the time to get it right.”

Lindsey Architects specializes in residential and commercial design in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. We design homes that are tailored to the needs of our clients and create custom buildings that fully reflects their lifestyle. To learn more about our services, contact Hiroko Lindsey at 207-641-9739 or hiroko@lindseyarchitects.com.