Ask The Professional: The Architect



Most of you know that we’re remodeling our home right now; but what most of you don’t know is that decision didn’t come lightly. Patrick and I had spent the better part of a year looking around at new properties, trying to move into a larger and newer home. Mostly, those searches just left us pretty sad: the houses that we wanted were way out of our budget, or in a neighborhood that we felt didn’t fit out lifestyle.

One day, Patrick just casually brought up the idea of ditching the search all together, and just renovating our current home. Now, this house was built in the 1940s, in a time where building codes were less regulated, and with age and multiple earthquakes later, it wasn’t without it’s problems – so I was hesitant. And there was so much I wanted to change…would it be worth it?

I enlisted the help of my friend, Melissa (architect and designer) to talk about what we were getting into. Making a decision to remodel is a huge one, especially if you have children. Here are a couple of the questions I asked, when deciding if we should stay and renovate, or move…..I hope this helps you too, if you’re currently facing the same options.


How do I decide if I want to remodel my home, or just purchase another home?

Your home is not only one of the largest investments you’ll make, but its also where you live and grow your family. Other than financial considerations, the major factors to think about are what are some things you can’t change about your current home:

Neighborhood (character, walkability, etc)
Access (to work, markets, highways, etc)
School District
Yard size and layout

If you love the location and believe you can’t find anything better, remodeling may be the answer. However, moving would be a better option if there is another place you believe would be a better fit for your family.

I want to make sure that our remodel looks beautiful and yet, make it totally kid friendly. Is this even possible? What are some things to keep in mind?

Having kids myself, what I found most important is providing open and uncluttered space for them to play. If the space allows, consider providing lots of storage. Not everything has to be padded to be kid-friendly, but no sharp corners on tables, countertops, etc. That doesn’t mean rounded or oval, simply a slight chamfer. When picking out upholstery and drapery, you want to consider the durable and low maintenance fabrics, something that doesn’t show dirt at the surface.

Just remember that your kids won’t be “kids” forever. So, don’t make major design decisions that can’t easily be changed out solely for that reason!

At what point do I hire a designer, versus trying to do it myself?

For most small projects, like removing a wall or changing out the floors, the design and construction can be managed between you and contractor. When its a larger project, such as an addition or entire house renovation, hiring an architect or design professional will help bring your vision for the space together, while be assured the space will suit your family’s needs and be aesthetically pleasing.

What are some hidden costs of remodeling that we probably are not thinking about?

With renovations, there will always be hidden costs. You never know what you’ll find when you open up those walls (structural damage, mold, termites, etc…). It’s always smart to budget for some contingency.


I hope some of these questions and answers were able to help get you thinking about your options out there!



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