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! Read More
Join the Small Practice and Residential Committee (SPARC) for an information packed overview of the design and construction process including budget and schedule, tips for hiring the right team, and how you and your architect can work together to make the most of any project.
https://www.aiaseattle.org/askanarchitect/ Read More
Speak now or forever hold your peace! This is REALLY EASY! Read this, follow my advice, and save money. Read More
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. Read More
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...... Read More
Many homeowners believe that once they have their building permit that they are locked into exactly what is shown on the drawings, but that isn’t the case and here’s why…. Read More
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. Read More
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! Read 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. Read More
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.... Read More
If you don’t have a road map of ALL of the projects you hope to accomplish, you could be headed for major pitfalls. This road map is your Master Plan, and every home owner with home improvement projects on the brain should have one. Read More
This instrumental piece of fabric was in a shop window. I was a young lass and a trifle under dressed for this establishment, but I had to go in! This is my story. Your experiences will unveil the story of your new home. Have confidence in your ability to help shape that story. Read More
How do you know which of the things you like will make for good archi-candy? If you have an affinity for baseball and baby back ribs, does that mean you should build a home around those things? Does that mean your house would be a big round ball smothered in sauce? Read More
I am going to talk to you about two couples that called me to design custom homes, how they got their priorities across (nailed it), and saved thousands doing it. You can too.
Read Time 5 minutes Read More
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 Read More
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 Read More
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 Read More
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. Read More
Nothing Says Fun Like Building Permits! Do you even need one? Unless you are building a fence, changing out your front door, or painting your house, you will need one of these two types of permits. However, I wouldn’t let the possibility of needing a full building permit deter you from doing the remodel that you want.
read time 4 minutes Read More
Your architectural drawings are your contract with your contractor. They are actually appropriately called Contract Documents. It is SO very important that you are able to read your drawings, but it isn’t easy to do! As a result, many home owners progress into the middle of their construction projects without fully understanding these important pieces of paper. Check these links out for more info! Read More