Considerations for Hiring the Right Architect

Prairie style custom home

Congratulations, you’ve made the decision to build a custom home and you are ready to embark on an exciting and challenging journey.  One of the first steps in the process is to assemble a team to get the job done.  Following are some of the factors we feel are important when choosing an architect.

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Team Approach

Building a home is a team endeavor that includes the owner, builder, architect, and interior designer. Collaboration with these stake holders will be the key to the success of the project. Look for an architect that is an unselfish team player, fostering a supportive, cooperative atmosphere to bring out the best of all involved.


Open communication is vital to the success of a project. Make sure the architect of your choice is willing to open their ears and clearly understand your wishes and requirements. The key is to find someone who is willing to not only listen to your needs and desires, but has the ability to translate them into the design.


Design excellence creates value; creating dream homes that withstand the test of time for both livability and resale value.

Design Philosophy

Design philosophies vary greatly between architects; make sure you are comfortable with the fundamental approach of your design partner.  As an example, at kga, our design philosophy is deeply embedded in the belief that the best design is one that serves the client.  In particular, we design with the eye of an artist, and incorporate the practicality of a tradesman.


Choosing an architect that specializes in one particular architectural style only works in some cases. Typically, an architect that is versed in a wide range of styles will be capable providing the best design solutions for you. Versatility allows the architect to tailor the design to reflect your desires; the preferred design and style is one that delights you, the client.

Managing Budgets

Custom design is FUN! Making decisions to balance your dreams with the project’s economic reality can be challenging. The cost of a project is comprised of site, scope, structure and specifications. These variables are defined early on by the team of client, builder and architect. Make sure your architect can clearly explain how each variable affects the design and budget.


The architect is the steward of the project’s goals and the client’s wishes for their new home; check out the history of the architect and get to know who you will be working with.  Ask questions and get references.  Does the architect do a significant amount of repeat business? Is the foundation of their business based on professionalism, integrity and design excellence?


Confirm the architect of your choice is willing to devote substantial Principal time to each project and remains involved throughout the project, from start to completion (in the case of kga, a Principal is a partner in the firm who is also the lead designer translating your story into the home of your dreams). Also, having a project manager assigned specifically to your project creates an in-house team ensuring accessibility to the owner and contractor throughout the project duration (the project manager is the in-house individual who is responsible for the production of the construction documents).


Costs for design services vary greatly based on complexity, program, site, and timing. Fees are typically tailored to each project.  In general, you get what you pay for. We recommend discussing costs and expectations of what is included in the design services in the very early stages of the process.

Modern Farmhouse Remodel by KGA

The process of designing a custom home—your dream home—should be enjoyable. As when working with any professional, a positive relationship with your architect is essential to a smooth and successful project. You will be spending considerable time with your architect so confirm early on they have an agreeable personality; rapport matters. Make sure you feel free to open up and share your story.  The architect will then translate your story, your needs, desires, and dreams into a home that will live in accordance with your lifestyle. For more info on how to select your team, check out these 9 questions to ask when hiring an architect and this blog with questions to ask when hiring a homebuilder.

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