4 things you didn’t know about hiring an architect

i.s.m.architecten - LVDV

Good afternoon.
I want to renovate my apartment. I’m sending you a layout that I drew to show you what I want to do. I am open to your suggestions, but please be aware of the fact I want my apartment to be simple and functional.

Best regards,
– client.

Do you see the problem with this e-mail that was sent to our incredibly talented friend a few weeks ago? There’s this client who thought he had to “draw a layout” by himself before contacting her because he thinks that’s the only way to make sure that his apartment will be functional and simple.

People seem to think that working with architects is quite different then what we like to believe it is, so we decided to share few crucial things you might not know about hiring an architect.

1. You shouldn’t hire AN architect

You should hire THE architect. Think about it, if it never crossed your mind. And if it did, you’d be surprised how many people think that architect is an architect. There are, of course, good and bad architects. Nicer way to say this would be that there are architects who have a different sense of style than you do, but the truth is, some architects are not good at their jobs.

It is not easy to stumble upon good, small, local architectural office, but do your research. We went to dozens different hair stylists before we found our favorite (and yes, we go to the same hair stylist – don’t think it’s weird, she’s really the best) and everyone knows that hair grows back. We bet you did the same thing. So don’t settle for just any architect or interior designer you heard about.

Color in an interior: Lim+Lu - Happy Valley Residence, Hong Kong
Lim+LuHappy Valley Residence, Hong Kong // photo: © Nirut Benjabanpot
Color in an interior: Lim+Lu - Happy Valley Residence, Hong Kong
Lim+LuHappy Valley Residence, Hong Kong // photo: © Nirut Benjabanpot

2. Architects are not selling anything

These days, even furniture stores hire designers to help you with your home improvements – for free. But really, they are selling their products, in a very smart way.

Architects would never try to convince you to buy or to pay for anything that they are not sure would work for you, simply because they don’t get anything out of it. There’s an expression in Croatian, that, literally translated, goes like: “It doesn’t come from my pocket and it doesn’t go to my pocket”. Does this make any sense? It’s catchier in Croatian – “ni iz džepa ni u džep”!

How to design a shower: Eleanna Horiti - The White House
Eleanna Horiti – The White House // photo: © Vassilis Skopelitis
The ultimate guide to partition walls: i.s.m.architecten - LVDV: glass partition
i.s.m.architecten – LVDV // photo: © Luis Díaz Díaz *featured photo

What we want to do is to make your money’s worth: set priorities, balance your budget, explain what should cost more and what can cost less, design your apartment in a way it could be renovated in phases. Sure, to work with architects, you have to pay them, but they can really save you money.

3. They design layouts

If you read our blog, you probably read about amazing projects like Alan’s apartment renovation by EO arquitectura, La Carme apartment renovation by RÄS, TDH house by i.s.m architecten. They don’t look and feel the way they do because someone draws a layout – so much more work needed to be done. Yes, architects draw layouts, but they also design details, furniture, lighting. They create ambiance.

EO arquitectura - Alan's apartment renovation: bedroom
EO arquitecturaAlan’s Apartment Renovation // photo: © Adrià Goula
EO arquitectura - Alan's apartment renovation: bathroom door detail
EO arquitecturaAlan’s Apartment Renovation // photo: © Adrià Goula

 4. Architects don’t ignore your wishes – they upgrade them

You see, architects want to do what you want to do and they want to make sure your apartment will be functional for you. Unfortunately, sometimes those two things are in conflict.

If they insist on something, maybe it’s really what’s best for you – after all, they did dedicate their entire career to something you’re just starting to think about and they saw and studied hundreds of apartments that are similar to yours. But they will respect your wish.

Still, if you believe you can design your own apartment (and we know you can), hop over here to see what should you think about before hiring a contractor, once a designing process is finished. We created a free worksheet to guide you through. Don’t hesitate to ask us anything you’d like to know. After all, we’re here for you.

What to think about when hiring a contractor: PROJECT PLANNER worksheet

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