Should You Work With An Architect?

This is a question that people often skip when starting a project. It’s worth a read before you run off to select your architect. You’ll want to consider your project scope, your available time, your sophistication in building / design-related issues, as well as your approach to larger projects.

PART 1: What’s involved in your project? 

Ask yourself:
Are you building a new house?
Are you moving any walls?
Are you changing the sizes of any windows or exterior doors?
Are you adding on?

You Answered “Yes
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, consulting with an architect right away will get your project going on the right direction. You don’t want to leave it up to your contractor to guide you through a project of this scale unless you’re already an expert in building design and construction. If you do, you will give up control over your project outcome, budget, and schedule.

At Klopf Architecture, we’re not only experts in warm, modern design. We also know how to make your outcome, budget, and schedule more predictable.

You Answered “Yes” – but can You still Squeak by without an Architect? 
That depends.
Are you going to be satisfied with a non-professional design?
Are you ready to watch your budget increase during construction because you’re working off of a budget instead of a bid?
Are you ready to face all the other risks of design and construction without guidance?

For Eichler and mid-century modern homeowners considering this we recommend a paid on-site consultation to discuss the specifics of your situation and to go over your design ideas. Doing this right at the beginning of your project offers plenty of return on a small investment.

If you hire Klopf Architecture for this initial service, we will help you come up with new ideas, make sketches for you, get you going in the right direction, and share our experiences of what other clients with similar projects did and what the results were. We’ll warn you of all the dangers in person; you can decide how to face them.

There is no obligation to hire us for anything beyond the initial consultation. People who have asked us for this service in the past have usually said how worthwhile it was for them before the end of the meeting.

You Answered “No” but are still Interested in Talking to an Architect 
Good for you! Please feel free to call. We have worked with some clients on projects where an architect is not technically required, but where having an architect on board has meant a better outcome. Klopf Architecture offers value as your advisor, designer, and go-between with the contractor… Many mid-century modern / Eichler homeowners ask us to advise them on projects just to make sure that the work is done in an appropriate style, and the way we work helps reduce risks and make projects more predictable, too.

PART 2: What’s your approach?

Do you want professionals on your team to help you successfully develop and pull off your project? If you’re this type of person, you already know that you can avoid lots of risks and come out ahead overall by getting the best help in the planning stage as well as during construction. You will get a lot from working with us.


Are you thinking about architecture as a commodity… “plans” you need to “buy” to get your building permit? If so, you may want to design the project yourself or work with a design/build contractor instead. You may also want to hire a drafting service to draw up your plans. Architecture is a professional service not a product, so what you’re buying when you work with an architect is a colalborative design and implementation process, not a drawing (although part of the process is to draw drawings). At Klopf Architecture, we listen to your ideas and challenges, work with you to develop your goals, come up with designs that may do more for you than you expected, and only then do we start to draw up the “plans.” And we do more as well. If you already know your goals and design and want to skip straight to drawing some plans, you might not want to work with an architect. But…

Be forewarned: you should read about the risks of construction projects and your budget first to see if you change your mind. And…

Some localities will require you to have an architect’s or engineer’s stamp (or both) on your drawings in order to issue your building permit. So you may want to call your building department to find this out before you decide. Klopf Architecture offers a range of services for people who just need some early design input or services up through building permit. But bear in mind that these scaled-down services are only appropriate for smaller projects, and that Klopf Architecture only offers scaled-down services for mid-century modern / Eichler home projects (or to people who want their homes to have that warm, modern feeling).