Find the right architect

Are you a gambler? How about we play a hand of Architect Poker? To quote the venerable Kenny Rogers, “you’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”  What are you hoping to be dealt?

The Bulldozer

Different Types of Architects, "the Bulldozer"

HOW IT GOES

The Bulldozer starts off big; he plans a fabulous Great Room for you, framed by huge windows and doors opening onto a porch and view beyond. All those central rooms of the house are fabulous. But once they are done, he quickly slams the rest of the house together, but somehow it just feels wrong. You ask him to make it better, but he insists there is no other way to make it work. So you figure that since he’s the expert he must be right, and you let him do it all his way.

HOW IT ENDS

Every day you wake up in the house swamped by regret. The dream you once had of that perfect, gracious legacy home where kids grow up, and family gathers for generations has been flattened by a bulldozer.

The Fuddy Duddy

Different Types of Architects, "the Fuddy Duddy"

HOW IT GOES

The architect’s website looks nice. It offers many home design options, and you opt for the one that is just the right size with the right number of bedrooms, and all at a fraction of the price of a new custom design. The boxes for all of your requirements have all been checked.

HOW IT ENDS

You feel stuck in a time warp; everything is so dated, from the oval jetted tub, set at 45° in your master bathroom, to the compact kitchen with the raised counter at the peninsula, completely separating the kitchen from the breakfast area. There is nowhere for your friends to hang out while you prepare the steaks for grilling, and the porch is too small to hold the gang that come over to watch a game. The jetted tub sits unused. You realize that the architect reached a creative peak long ago and hasn’t evolved a bit since then. It’s hard to live a contemporary life in a house that feels like it’s 1992 again!

The Introvert

Different Types of Architects, "the Introvert"

HOW IT GOES

Like many introverts, this architect is a lovely person; quiet and never opinionated or overbearing. What could possibly go wrong with an architect so diligently focused, with never an annoying question or opinion?

HOW IT ENDS

If only he had got to know you better; he didn’t know you would have loved a small porch facing the east so you could have coffee watching the sun rise – if only he had asked. He didn’t know you loved playing bridge; a dedicated location for your bridge table would have made every game day perfect. Nor did he know you love kayaking, and a perfectly planned storage rack would have gotten you onto the water more frequently – if only he had asked. Had he asked about all aspects of your lives and your priorities, you would be living in your dream house.

The Part Timer

Different Types of Architects, "the Part Timer"

HOW IT GOES

Finding an architect is hard, but you remember the son of your college roommate is an architect; someone you know, almost family. He is thrilled to land his first commission, moonlighting on the side of his regular job, and super-sure he can juggle it all. And since you know him already, he’ll always be a quick text message away.

HOW IT ENDS

Squeezing you into his daily schedule isn’t very easy at all: he is seldom available, he arrives at meetings late and harried, with just a bare minimum progress of the design. Everything slows right down because he never has time, but then you are suddenly rushed into making major design decisions as deadlines loom. During construction the inevitable questions for the architect arise but it takes ages for him to get back to you, while the builder is sitting idle. Now that you are living in your new house all the “if only…” questions pop up. If only your architect had given you the time of day.

The Star

Different Types of Architects, "the Star"

HOW IT GOES

You dream that one day that really famous architect you followed in design magazines will design your house and then, yes, it actually happens. He builds you a magnificent temple of high design. It is published in magazines, wins awards and receives wide acclaim and compliments. You have arrived!

HOW IT ENDS

Day-to-day life in the house is not what you expected. You squirm uncomfortably in the dining room chairs the Star Architect custom designed and insisted you have made. You give away your precious Christmas ornament collection because there is no storage space. You watch TV squashed into the smallest room in the house, a refugee from the exposure and cold of those soaring, glass-walled spaces. You realize that even though you got something glamorous and unusual, it just doesn’t feel like home.

Stylista

Different Types of Architects, "the Stylista"

HOW IT GOES

When you meet him you immediately know he’s a real architect; the Le Corbusier glasses, the black clothes and stylish shoes, and that almost-too-long haircut. He looks every inch what Hollywood told you an architect should look like. With someone who looks like that you were so sure you would get that perfect, special house with all the personal touches you dreamed of.

HOW IT ENDS

It turns out that your house reflects none of your personal touches you expected. Instead you find yourself living in a series clichés, and uninspired rooms. The kitchen, the fireplace, the mudroom; you’ve seen them all before in Houzz, in ads and catalogs; generic and bland. The style you got is no-style.

The Super Star

Different Types of Architects, "the Super Star"

HOW IT GOES

If architects could be super-heroes, they would all be Rachel, the Super-Listener! A super-listener hears more than just what is said; she hears what the client might have difficulty articulating – the super-power of hearing “between the lines.” She also uses her eyes and her sense of empathy to get a full understanding of the client’s needs and wishes. It’s never easy to articulate in words exactly how that dream house you have carried in your head looks, but a super-listener will draw it out and make that vision a reality. No idea is too big and no detail is too small for this super-listener.

HOW IT ENDS

Your dream house has perfectly thought-out spaces and a cohesive flow. There is superb integrity of spaces and materials. It feels almost as if the house organically grew around you, becoming the perfect vessel for your family to live and prosper.