HOW SHOULD I BEGIN?
Planning and goal setting are always an essential part of any successful endeavor; this is especially true when constructing or renovating a building. We wrote PLANNING FOR A SUCCESSFUL PROJECT, above, as a guide to prepare yourself and find direction before you start. The best time to hire an architect is once you have answered most, if not all, of these questions and before any design is begun. An architect is your representative and guide through the process and getting one on-board will help get a project set up to proceed through design and construction as smoothly as possible.
WHY SHOULD I HIRE AN ARCHITECT VS. A BUILDING DESIGNER OR BUYING STOCK PLANS?
From the start, we bring years of experience in design, construction and permitting that help anticipate issues that are not readily apparent. We use our skills along with years of training and experience to develop well designed buildings that are site specific: taking the best advantage of positioning the building in terms of sun angles, predominant winds, views and other natural factors. The building is designed to fit your specific needs and desires. Architect designed buildings have a higher intrinsic and market value than those of an average design.
WHY SHOULD I HIRE PELLETIER + SCHAAR VS. ANOTHER ARCHITECT?
There are some key qualities that set us apart from other architects. We are vision based, meaning we collaborate with you on your vision; we will make proposals and suggestions based upon our experience and skills that align with your project goals. A project is based upon your vision and not predefined architect's ideals. We provide personal attention and service to your project's needs. We have 75 years of combined work experience on various projects: high-end custom homes, spec. homes, multi-family and senior housing; retail and offices; civic; mixed-use; school; master planning; and land-use permitting. Being based in Stanwood allows us to be more affordable than most firms based in or closer to Seattle.
ONCE I HIRE YOU, WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Our services are provided in a multi-step process that includes much more than just design. Here is a synopsis of the steps with their industry-standard terms:
1) Pre-Design (information gathering): Here we compile your needs and wish list, ascertain the bounds of the site and any existing structures, and determine the zoning and building code restrictions.
2) Schematic Design (conceptualizing): This is a back-and-forth process with you where we use our skills, training, and experience to bring together your ideas in ways that expose the cons and bring out the pros of a concept. Together, we're exploring and testing ideas until a final concept is selected.
3) Design Development (refinement: The selected concept is refined with details and coordination with consultants. Expanding ideas, minor changes often happen in getting all parts of a building to work together.
4) Permit / Construction Documents (documenting): At this stage, we are documenting the design through drawings and notations in preparation for a building official to review and issue permits. These drawings (documents) will also provide the information necessary for a contractor to construct the building. In the end, a set of drawings and all required documentation necessary for permitting the project, including specific client requests such as specifications, are created. We also offer our services to prepare and submit permit applications.
5) Construction Administration (construction): Although the design is finished, it still needs to be built. Our support and oversight during construction can ensure that the contractor correctly interprets the design and that your interests are met. You have spent a great deal of time, effort and investment to develop your vision; this is not the time to allow your builder to revise and cut corners, diminishing your dream.
HOW LONG SHOULD THIS PROECESS TAKE?
The length of the design and permitting process depends on several variables. Location, size, building type, existing conditions, design complexity are all part of determining the length of time it takes to design, engineer and permit any project. For instance, locations within or near critical areas, such as wetlands, shorelines or that are culturally sensitive may require site review by multiple agencies with varying timelines to complete their reviews and outline their specific requirements for your project. This can add months, sometimes years to the process. Aligning your expectations and your goals, wise planning, and maintaining patience and openness will help bring about a successful project and an enjoyable process. See our recent BLOG POST.
DO YOU DO INTERIOR DESIGN?
Yes, and clients tell us repeatedly the difference it makes in the final outcome of the project by having the cohesiveness of including interior design as part of the whole process. We offer many levels of service depending on the client’s request. It can vary from as little as color and materials consultations to custom designed furniture, artwork, bedding and draperies. We can assist with selection and purchase of all furnishings and even provide a turn-key home. Our skills and experience include residential and commercial interiors.
HOW DO I FIND A BUILDER, CAN YOU HELP?
Another key to a successful project is the contractor. We are happy to provide a list of contractors that we have worked with over the years but we encourage our clients to meet with the builders, see their work, contact referrals if desired, and most of all get a sense of how comfortable you feel about communicating with them. You will work closely with your contractor and his sub-trades, feeling good about how they listen, and answer questions is key to selecting the right one for you and your project. We also recommend that you retain your builder early in the process, so that they are a part of the team.
HOW MUCH DO YOUR SERVICES COST?
Our proposals are customized to your needs and the specific services that you've selected or are required to complete the project in the case of permit ready drawings. Our costs are based on the time estimated time needed to perform the services you have chosen and complete your project at our current billing rates.
WHY DO YOU HAVE AN IMAGE OF NATURE SO PROMINENTLY ON YOUR WEBSITE WHEN OTHER ARCHITECTS HAVE PICTURES OF HOMES OR BUILDINGS?
Images of nature set a mood that is similar to what we strive for in our design: spaces and structures that inspire, bring joy, restful when appropriate, and frame the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The images remind us not to take for granted the things that bring simple joy, whether it be quality architecture or the natural beauty around us. Philip Johnson, a well-known architect of the 20th century, once said, "All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts or stimulates the persons in that space."