The journey of a thousand miles

begins with a single step

Are you curious or unsure about how to get started on your new home project? Here you will find home design resources to help answer your questions and concerns. What is involved in selecting an architect or contractor? What happens during the design process? There are many questions as one considers a significant construction project. I have developed the following guides to provide you with answers.

The most successful and rewarding projects result from a well-organized process, a well-worn path. I do the heavy lifting to enable you to enjoy the creative process and focus on the important decisions you will face. Get ready to have fun, designing your new home.



Not Sure How an Architect Helps?
Frequently Asked Questions

There’s a perception that architects provide a simple service –– drawings so the builder knows what to do. Most people think of “blueprints”, but that’s really only the last in a long list of things an architect does. Below are some of the questions that clients often ask; the answers will help you start on your journey toward having the home you desire.

There are a lot of options in selecting architects. Why would I select anyone but the cheapest?

The cheapest doesn’t always mean the best value. In fact, it rarely does. Your architect really leverages your investments of time and money to maximize the value of your home. The more you invest in proper planning, the better value you receive in the construction of your home.

There’s a limit, of course; if your investment is going to be a significant statement about how you live and how it performs for you, then you will likely invest more in a design. If what you seek is a simple shelter, then a simpler solution at a lower cost is appropriate. As your goals become more complex and nuanced, so grows your need for competent design talent.

What does an architect do anyway?

First and foremost, an architect develops an understanding of your needs, both physically as well as emotionally. The architect knows how to then create spaces that work together not only to support but also enhance your lifestyle.

Architecture refers to the exterior of the house and much more. Where the house sits on the site and how it is oriented can make a huge difference in your enjoyment of your home. Looking within the house, the architect assembles spaces in an elegant way for a beautiful home, keeping firmly in mind the important aspects of schedule and budget.

When needed, the architect helps clients navigate municipal requirements, permits, and the special privileges of variances.

Many people do not have the benefit of having done this frequently, but the architect does and you, in turn, can benefit from this experience.

Your architect is your partner and collaborator in getting your new home. Because we offer the experience of participating in the construction process and of developing and managing many projects similar in some ways to your own, you don’t have to go through the hardship of learning these lessons yourself.

Won't the whole project will cost more if I hire an architect?

The budget is controlled by the you, not the architect. In reality, the architect works with you to meet all of your goals, including design, budget and schedule to reveal the very best value.

Part of the design process is considering the budget and maximizing the value of the house to get the most house for your money. Somebody who’s considering designing their own home has particular needs that aren’t generally available through stock options with a builder. If what you’re looking for is customization for your lifestyle, then you need an architect.

Ultimately, an architect will help you get what you most want because the process is focused on you.

–– Mark

cran videos

custom residential architects network (a knowledge community of the American Institute of Architects)

Below is a series of resource videos, produced by CRAN (Custom Residential Architects Network – an AIA knowledge community), to help explain the residential design process for those considering architectural services. From important questions to ask while interviewing architects to getting organized in preparation before embarking on a design project, these videos are a great resource.

MEBA videos

needs & options review video

(click below to view)

building information modeling architects and contractors work together

useful links

You are cordially invited to take a test drive of some of the tools I have developed to aid in communicating design concepts and organizing project research materials. The BIMx Demo is a 3D exploration experience for your smart phone (iOS or Android.) Houzz Private Workshop is a sample Houzz Ideabook illustrating how images are collected and organized for use by the entire design team. Using these tools every team member stays on top of the most current project information.

BIMx Demo

(click here to check it out)

  1. click “Download Viewer”
  2. click “Download” to view the sample BIMx model

Learn more about BIMx

Houzz Private Workshop

resources houzz logo

(click here to check it out)

Publications & Websites


Fine Homebuilding


Luxe Interiors + Design

Not So Big House
Come find us in the “Not So Big Home Professionals Directory”

Residential Architect