5 Things to Look for in a Residential Architecture Firm

Interested in building a new custom home? It can be difficult to choose the right residential architecture firm for your project. Here are five qualities to assess when choosing to work with a residential architecture firm to build the home of your dreams.

1. Good Compatibility

One thing to consider when looking for a residential architecture firm is whether there is a good style compatibility. Some design firms will specialize in select architectural styles, showcasing an expertise that won’t lend itself well to other styles. You don’t want to waste time with an architecture designer whose style just doesn’t align with yours.

However, you may not be sure what your ideal style is, or you may be interested in several styles and need help fitting them together. Look for a design firm that takes a more design-agnostic, client-focused approach, freely incorporating design elements from several styles to match the preferences of their clients. Boutique architecture firms are often open to a variety of architectural styles and are willing to push the envelope by trying unique ideas.

2. Robust Portfolio

When looking for a residential designer, be sure to check their portfolio. A portfolio will showcase the residential designer’s capabilities, stylistic tendencies, and strengths.

Look through your designer’s portfolio with a keen eye toward project types, styles, sizes, and locations. Consider the size of the portfolio against any dates listed. A small portfolio can still be informative and impressive if the project dates are recent and there is evidence that the portfolio is being continuously updated.

3. Strong Communication Skills

Your home is possibly the most personal space you have, so being comfortable with the designer at your residential architecture firm is critical.  Most people aren’t comfortable sharing the details about how they live if they don’t feel like the designer is listening. It is so important to have open lines of communication and create a collaborative environment, especially when it comes to brainstorming in the initial design stage. The ideas need to be free-flowing!

At 42º North, we want to take the time to get to know you and really hear your wants and needs. How you live your life makes such a difference in our final designs. That’s why our process includes time to get to know you—the end results are much more personalized, and our clients are happier.

4. Lots of Questions

It takes time to get to know people and really learn their style, how they live, what they want in a residential architecture firm, and what their expectations are for their next home. The only way the designer at a residential architecture firm can learn these things is by asking you questions!

Be wary of designers who, upon hearing a simple brief of what you’re looking for, take out their sketchbook and start drawing up plans. This showmanship can appear impressive, but ultimately, it puts the focus back on the designer instead of where it should be: the client. If an architect whips out a design in front of you at the first meeting, it’s a sign they aren’t listening to what you want; instead, they’d rather be showy and tell you what they think you want to hear. Choose a designer that is more interested in you than they are in showing off.

5. Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews are a great indicator of the experience that you will have and of the work the firm will do. Prioritize reading testimonials from trusted third-party review sites, like Google and Houzz. References are also helpful when choosing a residential architecture firm because those people are willing to put their name on the line for the firm they’ve recommended.

You can trust the team at 42º North, but don’t just take our word for it. Our reviews speak for themselves!

Choose Us as a Residential Designer Near You

Are you ready to design your next home and need a residential designer near you who is capable, consultative, and communicative? Look no further than 42º North for your residential architecture designer. Contact us today to get started on your dream home!