What Is The Process & How Long Does It Take?

Every homeowner about to embark on a home project wants to know what the process looks like. Keep in mind that every architect does things a little differently, but it is important to know (more or less) what you are getting yourself into. I’ve broken out the 6 phases of the process, so you know what to expect from your architect and yourself within each.

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How Much $ Should You Withhold Until Your Project Is Complete?

How much of the contract sum should you withhold from your contractor until your project is complete?

How do you get the leverage you need to ensure your project is finished per your contract?

In the contract with your contractor, you want to include a pre-determined amount of money to withhold (retainage) from the final payment, and here are the things you need to know to do that successfully…

5 minute read time... but worth every second!

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Can You Do a DADU?

Interested in your garage doubling as a shop, rental, or man cave? MANY people have gotten really excited about DETACHED ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS (DADUs). However, unless you are Daddy Warbucks, you should know this before you begin.

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How to protect yourself from crappy contractors

Everyone has heard a horror story (or seven) about some poor homeowner who got screwed over by a contractor in varying degrees of severity. First, let me say that most contractors are not bad apples. However, as a homeowner you need to step up to the plate, do your homework, and trust your gut. While I am not equipped to help you with your gut, I can give you a list of required homework assignments......

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Should you pay your contractor’s markup? (Yep.)

Contractors typically charge homeowners a 10-20% markup on their subcontractor’s (“subs” for short) work. If you think you might want to pay your contractor’s subs directly (like the plumber or electrician for example) to avoid your contractor’s markup, I want you to understand what you are getting and giving up by going that route.  

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I decided to stray from my typical blog post topics to have photographer Ed Sozinho with Sozhinho Imagery out for an interview and find out what goes on behind the scenes. He shared his geeky/techy side with me, and if you have any interest in knowing the painstaking details that make up those fancy photos you love so much on Houzz, Pinterest, etc., NOW’S YOUR CHANCE TO LEARN!

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Books to help inspire, answer questions and more!

Below are books that I recommend for various reasons. Some are useful, some are entertaining, some are both, and one isn’t even about architecture! Check back periodically, as I will try to update this list as I find books I think you will find useful and enjoy.

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If You Agree With Everything Your Architect Does, You May Be Doing Something Wrong

I’m not claiming your architect is inevitably flawed, that she doesn’t have great ideas and that each design move isn’t intricately and brilliantly tied to the one before. What I am saying is, if you don’t have questions and comments (indicated by only saying things like, “I love it!” or, “That’s perfect!” after each meeting without follow-up questions and comments) then frankly, you may not be picking up on what they’re putting down.... 

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Yes, you can add a second story!

To some of you, this topic might sound a bit random when compared to the other broader topics in my blogs. I select the subject matter based on the number of times I’m asked a particular question. I have not only heard this one over and over, but the fact that so many people are asking if they can add a second story means they don’t understand the process in the first place. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

4 minute read time

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Construction budget bewildered? Start here... save thousands

Nailing down your approximate budget and priorities will save you thousands of dollars in the long run. What I’m NOT going to do is tell you how much a second story addition costs. What I AM going to do is give you a means of making some estimates based on average costs per square foot. If you want to know if your foundation can hold a second story, yes, you should call an architect. If you want to be able to discuss with your partner if you can afford even to CONTEMPLATE adding a second story, keep reading.

Read time 6 minutes

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How to select your contractor


I’m sure you’ve found some random articles online like, “The 5 questions you need to ask contractors”, or “The 3 things you need to look out for when selecting a contractor”. If not, you should go find some, as there are millions of them, and most of them are helpful. I want to focus on something else here....

Read time: 4 minutes

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How To Select Your Architect

You always want to select short female architects who listen well, and have lots of advice of how to spend your millions of dollars. Kidding. Here are some REAL things you should consider.

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