Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve got questions; we have answers. If you don’t see your concern listed here, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I have completed over 1,000 projects during my 21 years in business. Initially, as a sole proprietor, I took on 10-12 projects a year, but now with six employees, I complete 50 – 60 projects throughout the course of the year. Of these, 65% are residential projects and 35% are restaurant, retail and commercial projects.
So glad you asked! Read more about our process.
Our rates are hourly and tiered, based on the staffing required for the different phases of the project. Hourly rates are highest for my time, as senior architect, and my hours are concentrated at the outset of the project on the layout and floor plan. From that point, my designers progress the design and prepare all the permit and construction documentation and assist clients with specifications for everything from doors and windows to tiles, all at a lower hourly rate. At a more limited number of hours, I remain involved in every step of the process, ensuring quality control from the beginning to the end. At the outset of a project, you will receive a complete estimate of expected fees, based on other similar projects. We typically stay below the estimated amount.
Services are unique and specific to every project, but typical services include: site verification for existing conditions, code research, schematic designs, detailed floor plans, 3D modeling, permit and construction drawings, and assistance with specifications for all materials that are “fixed” to the structure. We issue plans for permit and follow the process through until permits are issued. Full construction administration, contractor coordination and engineering services are included. We do not specify window treatments or residential furniture, typically, or provide interior design services for rugs, accessories or art. We refer to other professionals for structural engineering, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering, as well as for construction and general contracting work. We also refer out for landscape design.
The design portion of a project is typically a six-month process from the initial meeting until we have a full permit set ready to submit. (Much of this timing depends on how quickly the client is able to make decisions). The length of time to obtain a permit depends on the City in which the plans are being reviewed and the complexity of the project. Our relationships with permit offices in Oakland and Berkeley usually result in a smoother, speedier permitting process.
Yes, we have a list of experienced and talented contractors with whom we have done projects in the past and enjoy referring to our clients. We will do our best to pair a contractor to a specific area where we know they like to work, or with a certain architectural style that we know they do well. We also take care to connect clients with contractors whose personality we feel would be a good fit. And we are open to introductions to new contractors when they come highly recommended by our client.
Definitely! We have a list of client references that we keep updated and send out with our Estimated Fee Proposal.
The best results on projects come from a healthy relationship between client and architect. We appreciate clients who communicate their goals and desires for a remodel or addition, and who trust us to apply our expertise to achieve a design they will love for years to come, within the agreed-upon budget. (We take care to explore all options with our clients before finalizing design because changes of heart after decisions have been made can result in significant delays and cost overruns.) To ensure the seamless progress of our projects, we prefer to serve as the point of contact between owner and contractor. By scheduling regular meetings with our client and their contractor throughout the project, we ensure that the work is completed on time and within the budget. Home construction can be stressful. Our clients also find that having us involved through construction in this way makes life much easier.