Here’s What it’s Really Like to Work With an Architect

Are you wondering whether to work with an architect on your next home project? To help you decide whether this is the right route for you, Houzz asked three separate homeowners to tell them what the process was like for them and what they learned from the experience.

Fiona Ormonde worked with 50.8 Architecture + Interiors on an extension and reconfiguration of her four-bedroom house.

“We extended the kitchen to include the dining room and a utility room, making what was the dining room into the sitting room,” she says. “Then we added two en suite bathrooms upstairs and a new family bathroom. So [the work was] reasonably extensive.”

Fiona knew from the outset that she wanted to work with an architect. “I had no idea how to approach the build, although I knew what I wanted to do with the house,” she says. “Also, I was really worried about how to employ a builder, and I didn’t want to get it wrong.”

“Angus drew up all our plans, helped us choose our builder and negotiated on our behalf,” Fiona says. “He was also able to speak ‘builder talk’, and having him project manage was brilliant, as it took all the stress off.”

“Angus came up every couple of weeks and, if he wasn’t here, he was at the end of the phone if we needed to talk to him,” Fiona says.

“The best thing was when Angus came back to us with five different choices of design, then said to use it like a pick and mix and choose the best bits,” Fiona enthuses. “I felt as if he’d really taken time to think about what choices we had and not just regurgitate what I’d suggested in the first place.”

“Having Angus took a lot of stress out of the process,” Fiona says. “I’d thoroughly recommend having an architect.”

Fiona was amazed at how involved her architect was in the project. “I wasn’t expecting him to help me find a builder, and that was the thing that worried me the most,” she says.

“Angus moved the project along and helped when we needed to make decisions about the kitchen and bathrooms and various builder-related things,” Fiona says. “I definitely think it would have taken much longer if we hadn’t had him.”