Roadmap to Project Success: Top Information to Share With Your Architect

The open-concept kitchen and dining room features white oak cabinetry, open shelving, custom terrazzo flooring, white quartz countertops, and panel-ready appliances.

Creating custom spaces takes a lot of effort, but it’s like going on a trip; you need a roadmap to ensure success and that you’re not wandering around lost. Some initial planning is essential to get started. We’ve worked on many successful projects, and the following list is what we believe is critical information to share with your architect to ensure we start off your modern project heading toward success.

#1. Budget

The budget! This is the most critical of all, but you may not yet know what your budget is. Or you may think you know your budget based on some internet reading or a show you’ve watched on HGTV. Let’s get in front of that immediately! Remember that HGTV and similar style shows exist for views, not necessarily education. They have a financial incentive (sponsors!) to get more views.

As your trusted advisor, we need to know your budget to raise the flag if we spot a budgetary issue. Frequently, folks aren’t aware of the actual construction cost, but they’ve seen DIY examples that make everything seem attainable. We prefer to have the budget conversation up-front so expectations can be adjusted and we can right-the-course towards success.

Why are custom designs more expensive than a DIY solution? Custom designs are tailored precisely to your needs. A good example is cabinetry. If you utilize a less expensive option from a big box store, it will only be limited sizes and basic hardware options. A more expensive solution is custom cabinetry, where each cabinet can be sized as needed to fit your kitchen perfectly, and the cabinetry can come with accent lighting, soft close doors and drawers, and bespoke built-ins.

Kitchen Pantry goes traditional with blue cabinets, wood butcher block top, and back & white floor tile - Modern Villa Urban Home, Old Northside, Indianapolis

#2. Timeline

In our conversation about the budget, we should also discuss your desired timeline. Are you trying to have a custom home designed and built from the ground up in nine months? Depending on goals, the design process alone could be that long. New custom home construction typically lasts 12-14 months but could be shorter in some unique circumstances.

If you’re doing a renovation or addition, it could be like new construction or shorter, but we want to be sure we’re aware of your constraints. Maybe you are expecting a child and want your kitchen renovated before their arrival, or perhaps you are planning a party for a special milestone. Knowing these constraints allows us to adjust expectations accordingly to ensure project success.

We collaborate with trades and vendors daily and understand the construction industry’s current state. While we can’t control trade contractor or material availability, we are on-the-pulse and understand how to tailor a project schedule appropriately to overlap with and achieve your timeline goals.

#3. Location

Do you have a property or location in mind? In the digital era, the location matters less in terms of the architect’s ability to visit the site. Although not required in today’s process, to achieve optimal design solutions, it’s beneficial that we are able to visit the site in-person early in the design process.

Many locations have zoning restrictions; we can look those up if we have the property’s address. The zoning restrictions may limit some possibilities and inspire other more unexpected ones.

If you haven’t yet acquired a property, we can assist you in this process!

Historic Adams Township Map - Client Land Plot - Back40House - Markleville, IN - HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles, Christopher Short, Indianapolis Architect - WERK | Building Modern, Paul Reynolds, Construction Manager

#4. Existing Documentation

If you have already acquired a property or home, you’ll want to share as much existing documentation as possible.

A site survey is one of the most essential pieces of documentation because it accurately shows the boundaries of the property and all the significant structures. Any history or original drawings are also great to have! Once we are digging into the design, these items all help guide us and show us where the limitations may be.

Original drawings may indicate the size and orientation of the framing members, which could help us understand how invasive moving or removing a wall will be if we are renovating an existing space. Or perhaps you would like to build an extension but aren’t aware of an existing site boundary that limits the length of the addition. These are just a couple of examples of why existing documentation is helpful for your modern home.

#5. Previous Experiences

The last of the helpful items to share with your architect is if you have a previous history working with an architect.

This helps us tailor our process to your level of knowledge. If you’re a seasoned veteran, portions of our process may be shortened. We have a process that can be adjusted according to the experience level.

Modern Lakehouse - Studio Cabinet Meeting - HAUS + WERK Studio - Christopher Short, Architect, Indianapolis, HAUS Architecture - Derek Mills, Paul Reynolds, John Hartman, Judith Laibe

Let’s engage in a comprehensive discussion to kickstart your modern project on the right path. Begin by addressing the critical factor – your budget. It’s essential to understand your financial constraints to set realistic expectations. Alongside budget discussions, let’s delve into your desired timeline, property or location restrictions, existing documentation, and any past experiences with architects. By collaborating on these aspects, we can tailor our approach to ensure a seamless and successful journey in bringing your custom space vision to life.

Just like a well-prepared roadmap ensures a successful trip, the initial steps in the planning process are crucial for the success of your modern project. With our wealth of experience in handling successful projects, we’ve identified key elements that are pivotal in steering your project toward triumph. Contact us today to embark on this exciting venture together!

Written by Paul Reynolds.