Ask the Architect

By Wellness360 Magazine

Joe Walker has been specializing in helping people create custom spaces that will allow them to do what they do better for 25 years. His areas of architecture expertise are higher education, advanced manufacturing, workplace solutions, healthcare and residential. 

What is the biggest trend right now in home design? 

Work from home options separate from their living space. Enhancing their living spaces to become their own personal oasis. 

What is the biggest mistake that new homeowners do when they start designing their dream home? 

Trying to mimic something they have seen without asking themselves if this is the kind of environment that supports the way they live and interact with their family and friends. 

What part of the house should people put their focus on when designing a home? 

In a home, every square foot is important, so think about how you live. Do you entertain a lot? Is your home your private sanctuary? Do you love to cook? Is a long hot bath something you look forward to at the end of the day? These questions help focus the design effort to ensure that a home supports the way you and your family want to live. 

What design styles are making a comeback? 

Mid Century Modern is really on trend right now. Simple, clean and purpose built and every detail matters.

How should someone hire the right architect for their house? 

Start with a conversation. There are typically two schools of thought in the design world; the Black Cape, and the Listener. Both have their place, but you have to know what you are wanting before you pick a design professional. 

The “Black Cape” architect is typically known for a particular style. If that’s what you want, they are a great match! The “Listener” is a designer who will start with a blank slate. Get to know you and your needs through questioning and dialogue, then offer solutions that bring those needs to life. 

What design style would you like to see go away? 

Stucco McMansions. The 90’s are in the past. 

Should I expect my architect to be a part of the whole house building project? 

Working with an architect is like a relationship. A full commitment to the entire process will get you the best results. The design process is really about answering a million questions. Some are big, many are small. A design professional can be a huge asset to validate decisions from beginning to end. 

How long does it typically take for an architect to complete home drawings? 

This varies widely on the level of service. A simple project with a clear vision on day one can be completed in a few weeks. More involved custom homes can have a design duration of a year or more! Setting your expectations early is important. 

When hiring an architect to work with, what are the 5 most important questions to ask?

1. What level of service are you looking for? Each level is a different amount of engagement and time. What do I really need? 

a. Level 1 – Drawings are a necessary means to an end and I know what I want. 

b. Level 2 – I have a good idea of what I want, but need help to make it a reality. 

c. Level 3 – Help me dream what is possible, then stay with me till the end while we work out every detail. 

2. How long will this process take? 

3. If I change my mind on the design, how will that affect my time and my pocket book? 

4. Do you offer services through construction? Or is our relationship complete once I get the permit drawings? 

5. Can I talk with some of your past clients and see the results of your work? 



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