Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hiring an architect

We closed on our Suncadia lot on Friday. On Monday, we hired an architect. Never let it be said that we “sat on our lot”!

Actually, I was living in two distinct worlds when the email came through on Wednesday, prompting us to wire money and sign documents for a Friday closing. I was in Ashland, Oregon dealing with the aftermath of my father’s death which shook our world last February (something I will write about soon… many posts have been started, but none completed). I had to quickly switch gears to manage an on-time closing, with Tom and I in different locations and no available printer or scanner, an endeavor which rivaled the craziness of my years as a Senior Project Manager at Microsoft!

But we did close, and now we own TWO properties at Suncadia! (Want one?)

Working back from our goal of celebrating Thanksgiving, 2018 with family in our new home, we knew that we’d have to hire an architect very soon after closing, so we interviewed three of them while we were in escrow.

If you drive around Suncadia or Tumble Creek, you’ll see these signs in front of any home being built.

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On these signs, you’ll see the selected builder, architect, and landscape architect. We noticed the names of three architects over and over: Nash and Associates, Page and Beard Architects, and Rick Jones and Associates. (There are others, but these three seemed to be the most prominent.) We interviewed all three. And we really liked all three! Of course they were all completely familiar with the building process at Suncadia, and all of them showed us beautiful homes and floor plans of Suncadia homes they had designed. While there are no restrictions on which architect or builder owners use to build at Suncadia, we certainly didn’t want to hire someone who had not built there before. Why re-invent the wheel? So we confined our consideration to what seemed to be the three most prominent architects at Suncadia.

In the end, our decision came down to three factors: 1.) the architects enthusiasm (or lack thereof) for working in consort with Tom (a frustrated and creative architect wannabe) and his ideas, 2.) price and pricing structure, and 3.) sheer gut feeling.

All three were quite willing to work with Tom and were open to his creative ideas and input. But one was enthusiastic about it and in the interview seemed to mesh really well, taking each others ideas and building on them together. In terms of pricing structure, two architects charge per square foot and complexity of plan, while one has a flat fee. And in terms of gut feeling – well, after each interview (we did one per week), we left feeling really good about the architect himself, liked everything he presented to us, and concluded that we could very easily and happily work with him.

In the end, we hired Rick Jones. In the interview, Rick and Tom exchanged creative ideas easily and at one point, after Tom shared his idea of a two-tired rear patio with a water structure flowing from the fire pit down to a lower patio, Rick put down his pen, and said to Tom, “I want to work with you!” Then, as Rick presented his idea of a small bunk room off the upstairs hall, with individual closets and a barn door, Tom and I both individually thought, “I want to work with him!’ Rick’s pricing structure is a flat fee, which appeals to me since I hate nickel and diming a process like this or holding back for fear of a new charge.

I am very sure that we would be very happy with any of the three main Suncadia architects. Our decision was a subjective one that felt right for us, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any architect who regularly designs Suncadia homes and who is highly regarded by the real estate team and preferred Suncadia builders – which is a very good place to begin!

Next: the property survey!  That should take place within the next three weeks. Stay tuned…

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1 comment:

Tonya said...

So exciting! I'm going to really enjoy reading about all of your progress. It's quite an experience, I know!!

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