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Do I Need an Architect?

Updated: May 20

If you are thinking of remodeling your home, here are four reasons that you may need or want to hire an architect: 


Structural changes: Are you moving, removing, or adding structural walls inside your home, or possibly adding on to your home? These are all great reasons to involve an architect. 

Significant floorplan changes: Are you rearranging your home's floor plan? Are you adding a new bathroom or moving the kitchen to the opposite side of the living space? An architect can help plan for adequate room sizes, passage space, storage, workspace, door and window sizes, and fire and safety issues. They can also incorporate ADA (Americans with Disability Act) standards if you have someone in your family with special needs or plan to grow old in your home. 

Management of sub-consultants: Your project may also require the involvement of other consultants, such as a structural engineer, civil engineer, or geotechnical engineer. An architect can recommend and manage these sub-consultants. 


Materials: An architect's guidance on roofing, siding, windows, and doors might help you make the best decisions for your home. In addition, you may learn about more cutting-edge materials for foundations, framing, insulation, sheathing, and water diversion.  

Building Methodology: If you are building a unique structure, your architect can help you creatively solve problems related to structural engineering, sight lines, natural light, glazing, privacy, and interior volumes. 

Building Systems: If you are completely replacing your electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling system, you may benefit from the expertise of an architect who is familiar with the latest technology, knows how to plan these systems for maximum efficiency, and can coordinate them so they don't conflict with one another.  


Permits for smaller items like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, fences, and decks can often be handled by the subcontractor performing that work. However, for more complex permitting issues, you will likely need the guidance of an architect and the documents they will provide. Here are some examples: 

Building Permits: If you are making significant changes to your home's structure, adding on to it, or building a structure from scratch, you will need an architect to create and compile all the drawings and specifications required by your jurisdiction. 

Energy Code Compliance: Your insulation, wall materials, windows, and doors all work together to keep warm air inside and cool air outside, or vice versa. Your jurisdiction likely has rules about how effective these materials are and how they work together. Your architect can help complete these calculations and ensure they comply with local codes. 

Zoning Regulations: If you are adding on to your home, building a deck, or adding a new building on your property, you will likely need to comply with jurisdictional rules about how much of your lot can be covered, how close your buildings can be to property lines, and whether you can remove trees. 

Specialty Use Compliance: Are you planning to use your home for anything unique? Jurisdictions often have special rules for running a business on your property, which could include things like hosting events, education activities, factory/industrial activities, working with or storing hazardous materials, storage units, rental units, lodging units, retail and service activities, parking, animal-related activities, agricultural activities, and institutional or health care activities. Your architect can help ensure that your home or building will comply with all applicable regulations. 


Historic Restoration or Recreation: Does your home have a historically significant architectural style? If so, you may want the guidance of an architect with expertise in this area. 

Specific Aesthetic: Are you trying to match or create a particular architectural style? You may seek an architect with a portfolio of past projects that demonstrate your desired aesthetic. 


When you're ready, I would love to help you remodel or build your dream home! Here are 5 ways we can work together:


  1. Grab my free Kitchen and Bath Design Checklist which will get you on my newsletter.

  2. My free Live Material Board Workshop is a great place to start! In just one hour, you will have the design for your dream home materializing on paper!

  3. My new Remodel Jumpstart Workbook is packed with 100 pages of valuable information and worksheets to help you create a plan for your design, budget, and team!

  4. Save yourself hours of research with my Remodel Resource Guide! I have compiled all my favorite suppliers for things like flooring, countertops, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, cabinets, and hardware...

  5. When you're serious about starting your remodel or new home, come spend six weeks with me, and I will walk you through the interior design of your project using my signature interior design program!



Let's chat about designing your dream home.

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