Comments on: The Architect The Intersection of Design & Motherhood Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:32:22 +0000 hourly 1 By: Felippe Felippe Mon, 02 Dec 2013 15:43:36 +0000 So lovely I would like to have a house as like that. In the forest, with birds, wild animals, hearing the water sound… ooh perferct!!

By: Kendra Kendra Tue, 02 Jul 2013 06:28:45 +0000 Also excited about the Oakland move! We’ll be in the same stake…you’ll be close to some yummy ice cream (fenton’s) awesome pizza (zachary’s) and a super fun cement slide (in berkeley). I guess this comment should go under the “oakland” tab. Anyway….lots to look forward too!

By: Jessica @ Sunday Loves Jessica @ Sunday Loves Tue, 02 Jul 2013 00:16:34 +0000 Goodness, his home is just beautiful. I cannot stop loving the entire structure. *swoon*

Lots of exciting things in your future!

By: nicole nicole Sun, 30 Jun 2013 04:57:52 +0000 oakland! that is great news! we will be neighbors. i hope we run into each other, or i see you at Makeshift. first recommendation is boot and show service. one of my favorite restauarants in the bay area.

By: Gia Gia Fri, 28 Jun 2013 23:35:25 +0000 Lovely to find the perfect fit. I can’t wait for the updates to begin. We lived with a retired architect for a while, in his back cottage, and he too only took on passion work. It was really inspiring to see him tackle these projects that he was so dedicated to. There was something very freeing about not having to do the work for money, but rather for passion.
Here’s hoping to a smooth process with a wonderful outcome!

By: Cory Cory Fri, 28 Jun 2013 21:47:15 +0000 Three cheers for finding a local design profession!!
Congrats on making “the connection”… all seems meant to be!

By: Miet Miet Fri, 28 Jun 2013 17:43:01 +0000 I am so excited for you (and a little jealous)! I’m really looking forward to reading all about your cottage renovations! Good luck!

By: rose@rockrosewine rose@rockrosewine Fri, 28 Jun 2013 14:37:13 +0000 I second Nori’s comment that it’s great you found a local guy. He will have the proper contacts/know-how to deal with the specific needs of your home.
We recently redid our roof in a 17th century townhouse in nearby Bayeux We couldn’t have done it with anyone but local contractors.
I will be very interested to see what he (and you) do with the cottage!

By: Emily Emily Fri, 28 Jun 2013 13:59:26 +0000 Oh this is so exciting! I cannot wait to travel along on both adventures!

By: Rachel Rachel Fri, 28 Jun 2013 12:40:11 +0000 I didn’t realize how many fellow architects read your wonderful blog until now! So impressed to see so many female architects!

My advice: you know those building you walk into that could have been spectacular but have odd design features, finishes, etc. that make it sort of just weird/ugly instead? The client likely had too much say. And what about the beautiful buildings you visit that just don’t work at all functionally? The client likely had too little. I think striking a balance between providing the kind of input only you can give and giving the architect creative freedom is an important challenge and the main source of tension between architects and their clients. Based on your other design projects, I don’t think you’ll have a problem striking this balance, but you may still want to keep this in mind if things ever start feeling overwhelming or out of your control.

I look forward to reading about your progress and hope the experience is a fantastic one for your entire family!

By: JoanieO JoanieO Fri, 28 Jun 2013 09:11:19 +0000 Another Architect here- and I agree that if you have ideas you are set on including, do your best to convey those (we want a space that looks like this picture, we want a living room with room enough for… – that kind of thing) images are great to ensure that you’re on the same page.
Think about the places you have lived in before – what worked, what didn’t, what would you replicate/do differently.
Then again you may that (almost unheard of) kind of client that gives their Architect free reign – which is a lot harder to do!

By: Sarah K Sarah K Fri, 28 Jun 2013 03:39:57 +0000 His home is fantastic, and it will be so fun to see your cottage come together! I think everyone speaking their native language in the conversation will be SO helpful during the process. I have a French friend that I tend to do that with, and I feel so much more comfortable and like I really express the nuances and finer details of what I want to say when I can speak English in response to his French. Though, to be honest, he understands me better when I fake a British accent because his language teachers have all either been British or learned their English from British teachers. It was fascinating and hilarious the first time I figured that out and tried to help him understand me better by faking the British accent. :) His eyes lit up and I saw the increased understanding in his eyes. It’s so interesting to me.

By: Valerie Valerie Thu, 27 Jun 2013 22:40:57 +0000 You mean because I found a CAD program online and drew my own plans, I am not an Architect? Yet another career to add to the list of internet “professionals”. I love (and would terribly miss) having the vast knowledge on the internet available at my fingertips .. but somehow we need to keep a perspective on the time, training, real experience and passion people invest in becoming a true professional (Architect and so many more) as well as in developing the creative and intellectual property so readily shared (and not always with permission) on the internet. Seeing and reading does not always translate to doing, well.

By: Shannon { A Mom's Year } Shannon { A Mom's Year } Thu, 27 Jun 2013 21:39:19 +0000 “Architect” was on my list of career choices, so I’m going to love following this process! My dad is a builder, and when I was a kid he would buy me a real estate magazine called Unique Homes that was full of mansions and gorgeous homes so I could draw what I imagined the floor plans to be! One of my best experiences was to design our house (with help from a draftsman) and then build it with my dad.

Anyway, I don’t know if this is really advice, but I know I irritated our draftsman because I thought I knew what I wanted the exterior of the house to look like, but it wasn’t until after I saw the finished drawing that I realized that wasn’t it at all! Luckily, I found a photo in a magazine of what I was envisioning and was able to show him.

I guess what I’m saying is that I agree with Tara, the architect who commented above: if you know what you want, try to be as specific as possible. Or be prepared to cause irritation if you’re like me and need to see something before you know it’s wrong!

By: Nori Whisenand, architect Nori Whisenand, architect Thu, 27 Jun 2013 18:18:20 +0000 Hi Gabrielle,
I’ve been following along on the search for an architect…looks like you have a winner… local. speaks French fluently, will know the best local craftspeople for the job.
As an architect myself, I find my best client relationships and design outcomes are with clients who are really prepared, can show me pictures of rooms/exteriors/kitchens/baths they love (Houzz,com is a great resource for images), can make decisions, . also helps if you and Ben work out your major differences if any (regarding design choices) between yourselves.
Be clear with your architect on what his services will be vs. your design input …ie are you choosing all the hardware, plumbing fixtures etc. yourselves or is he?

In architecture school we learn that the three words to guide a project are..
Program: exactly what it is you are trying to achieve with the design…your wish list
Budget: What is the realistic amount of money you have available to spend, and remember there will be surprises, so have a reserve planned.
Schedule: What is your time frame for completion, what are the milestones that need to be reached in order to stay on schedule…..of course I’m not sure if that is the French way?:)
Its going to be really fun following along as you embark on this wonderful project.
All the best,

By: Melissa L Melissa L Thu, 27 Jun 2013 18:11:57 +0000 Congratulations on finding an architect. From our many building projects, I would say the #1 piece of advice I could give, is to make sure the general contractor and architect meet, and know each others phone numbers. There will be a time when the two will have different ideas about construction related issues, and as the home owner you will be stuck in the middle. Having good communication between the parties helps. For example, our architect had drawn a beam in the ceiling where a wall was coming down, but the GC suggested a different approach to give us a fully flat ceiling, and with the help of a structural engineer, we were able to adjust the plans and easily change the permit. The general contractor who is actually doing the physical labor with his crew, can often times be over looked for their expertise. Also, don’t skimp on paint! It can save you years of grief and aggravation, if you put the money into quality paint.

By: Claire Claire Thu, 27 Jun 2013 17:46:52 +0000 Congratulations on the lovely cottage and the move! I think the most important thing with any big life project is finding someone with expertise, whom you totally trust, who totally “gets” who you are, and whom you communicate well. So I think you are on the right track!! After striking out with many many professionals who did not see the charm or potential of our fixer upper, and who offered what felt like “canned” solutions, badly adapted to our individual space, we worked with the same master carpenter on several different renovations to our Cincinnati city house. He was able to translate our “big picture” hopes and dreams into tangible spaces and brilliant design decisions perfect for the kinds of gatherings we wanted to have, the way we wanted meals to feel, the kinds of shared spaces and private ones we hoped for. With his help and vision, we transformed a run down 19th c “railroad” layout city house broken into apartments, with a tiny yard — into a welcoming family home. Now we are in the process of moving to N California also (Davis, not Oakland), and we had the same experience with our realtor — she understood exactly who we were as a family and that turned out to be the most important thing. One house she suggested we look at was the exact opposite of everything on our lists, but it was love at first sight for all four of us and I know we will be happy and feel at home there. I suggest brain storming as a family the kinds of things you like to do together or apart so your architect can help you create spaces that will correspond well to how you work as a family. Sometimes the “features” you think you really want do not exactly fit the bill for the way you want your spaces to work. Good luck and enjoy. Can’t wait to read about both Normandie and Oakland. If you reconsider and look at houses anywhere in Yolo County, work with JAMIE MADISON, the very very best realtor in the world, and also one of the world’s loveliest people.

By: Sandra Sandra Thu, 27 Jun 2013 17:26:06 +0000 I’ve worked with an architect on two projects – one a mid century center hall red brick home and one an 1870′s Victorian. The same one too. It was such a fab experience that we used him again.

Like Tara, I think it’s critical to work with an architect. The contractor executes the design (you need a good one!) but an architect is the master of the design in the first place. Neither can do the other’s job.

There will be times when what looked great on paper in 2 dimensions won’t be realizable in real life – that’s when the contractor, the architect and you will come up with solutions.
Renovations are really all about problem solving. You have space x and needs y and then a plan to marry the two. And along the way things will come up requiring tweaking.

You’ll spend more than you expect. And you should be ready to spend “well” on the “non-sexy” behind-the-scenes things. Don’t get seduced by the finishings alone. It’ll be earrings on a monkey if the structure and other aren’t well done.

Communicate often. Make decisions promptly. Know that that you’ll never be able to find the PERFECT tile or paint color but that’s okay – good enough is good enough. You’ll drive yourself crazy looking for the perfect knob or drawer pull.

Make a list of what you want and narrow it down to the “must haves”. Then be flexible on the rest.

Have fun and I can’t WAIT to read all about it over the next year. I’ll happily renovate again.

By: Jenni Bailey Jenni Bailey Thu, 27 Jun 2013 17:21:46 +0000 Such a dream! Your French experience has been so wonderful to follow and I’m so happy for you that it is continuing in such a beautiful way.

By: Tara Tara Thu, 27 Jun 2013 17:15:44 +0000 I am an Architect and I enjoyed reading your post. The best thing you can bring to your relationship with your Architect is an open mind. I commend you! You are one of the few people in our population who believe that working with an Architect will assist in realizing your dream. So many people think that they can do it themselves… and well they end up with a project that looks that way! Keep you mind open and give your Architect as many details as possible about your goals and needs for the project. Also make sure to keep a close watch on the cost implications of your design decisions. You are in for quite a ride. Working with as Architect to designing your home will be exciting and fun but also frustrating with communication being the most important and sometimes hardest asset to maintain! Keep these things in mind and you will end up with so much more than you ever hoped for. Best of luck!