I still don't think I like our architects drawing...

farmhousegirlApril 21, 2012

We are on designer #2. The first guy was horrible. He had no sense of style and just could not understand what I was trying to relay no matter how many photos I showed him.

We are now on architect number two. He did a sketch plans of first and second floors and exterior. It's not really what we'd hoped for. We are 5K into this, and I feel like nobody gets us. I've drawn several sketches, provided photos, and it keeps coming back looking different than I'd hoped for.

I'm ready to just throw in the towel and pick a pre-drawn plan from a book and be done with it.

Honestly I think this process is a rip off. I feel like we should be able to do some basic sketches to be sure we are on the same page before they go forward and do tons of work. Both designers lectured us about how it doesn't work this way. I feel like we've paid all this money for nothing and have gotten nowhere.

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Given your dissatisfaction and experience with the design process, the best approach for you may be to do exactly that: pick a pre-drawn plan and go with that. Or pick a pre-drawn plan and have an architect make modest adjustments to it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:25AM
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I don't remember seeing a plan or elevation of the designs your architects have proposed or any of the photos of houses you like so I can't offer any advice other than to say a Vermont farmhouse should not be difficult to design.

A farmhouse is not a style but a building type. The style of it has varied greatly by region and era. In VT most of the beautiful ones are Greek Revival which is a very formal style that is easy to emulate and modify.

Show us what you like and what hasn't worked.

Here is a link that might be useful: some examples of VT farmhouses

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 8:50AM
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Our architect drew everything on paper until we got where we wanted to be floor plan wise. He is old school, I guess - he would arrive with his hand drawn plan and tracing paper and we would sit at the kitchen table and move things around until we liked them. We would then get another hand drawn plan with all the changes.

Once the plan was finalized, we started on the exterior. Our architect didn't get us either at first - I kept saying . . . make it simpler. We switched from a hipped roof to a gable, got rid of double windows on the front upstairs, etc. We ended up with something that is traditional, simple and something we love (and would be approved by the ARB). It took forever though!

I finally told him I wanted something that looked like it was built in the 1920s and fluffed over the years. We painted our brick (the picture is not an accurate representation - it is lighter and more grey/greige than taupe) which gave it instant age. When I told him all that, we got much closer. The first elevation was half stone, half brick and entirely too trendy for my taste!!!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 7:04PM
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@Athens - I LOVE your house!!!! We've struggled to get things right, too and we got so dejected that I think we started to settle. I just recently started to clarify again and try to get back to my original thoughts thanks to critique on here.

@Farm - I feel you. But, you'll probably struggle with a pre-done plan, too. We looked for two years to find one we liked on the inside and never could work it out (I have strange taste). I found lots of beauties on the outside but never on the inside and then rearranging the boxes on the inside never worked either. It's tough to translate your vision to another person, I know! So you've paid your second designer $$ to get this far... do you need to pay him more to get revisions? Maybe post your plan and explain what you don't like and then the brilliant minds here could help you?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Athensmom--your house is just gorgeous. I don't even know what to say. You have achieved what you wanted to--it looks like it has been around for a long time. I love it.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 5:48PM
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Not sure if this helps.....I made a list of things I liked and didn't like for our designer. I also noted "must haves" as well as "please don't even think of including this" items. We walked through each of them so he knew WHY I liked it or didn't like something. I also had a draft floor plan of what we were thinking conceptually so he didn't add extra rooms or not include some key things we wanted to have. I think going through WHY I did/didn't like something helped the most. Once he knew why, he came up with other ideas that I never even thought of...and likewise noted things he thought of that he knew we probably wouldn't like either. I didn't do my lists to just tell him what to do..I wanted his experience/knowledge to help with everything....I did it so he'd "get us" and come up with other relevant ideas. Overall, we are very happy with the final product.

Can you post something for us to review?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:59AM
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just a thought or two - but did you research your planners pretty good? we thought we did - but apparently didnt. we got lured in by the fancy smancy computer drawings and when we met with the fella - he wanted to do everything by email, no face to face time. we convinced him to meet with us several times, but he had very little input into our actual design as far as giving assitance, if we had said we wanted a wall to be 10.37546 inches - he would have drawn it that way - instead of telling us what is more practical from a builders standpoint while keeping our ideas in mind.

we ended up with a nice plan - but we did every bit of it and all he did was put it in his program. $3k. hindsight.

we probably could have selected a default plan and had the company modify it for less.

lesson learned.

you have to remember - the way they are viewing it is the planner/architect is drawing out only what you express to them. if there is a breakdown in communication - that is where people go -- "what tha ....?"

lady i work with is designing one and just got her plans back and she was griping left and right about nothing was right about the plan - when we asked her if she told the designer if that is what she wanted - she said no, "she figured she knew what she was trying to build..."

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 9:08AM
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Athens! Your house is fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing it. So glad you finally got what you wanted.

Thank you all for the thoughts on dealing with this situation. I really like the exterior of the Kinsley plan posted by Dutty. That is very much what we have been trying to translate to our designer all along...although the floorplan would not work for us. Here is the link:


Do you think it would be better to have the Southern Living people revise the floorplan rather than dealing with the local architect? Has anyone gone this route? Thanks very much!!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 10:19AM
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That's a URL. If you put it in the "Optional Link URL" box it becomes a Link.

Here is a link that might be useful: hypertext link

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 10:28AM
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My advice. Get a good architect and one that is dedicated and focused on the project. We hired someone who already had a full time job so we were her last priority. Plan changes would take weeks and a home we were hoping to start in the Fall is just now being started. Plus, we had negotiated a better price. You get what you pay for. Now, we are dealing with mistakes that tradesmen are pointing out (i.e. window that is 8 foot tall in a 9 foot tall room with tray ceiling.) Not sure that would ever work. SOme of you warned me about this based on all my back and forth and struggles with getting the right layout...Gardenweb ended up being a much bigger help than the architect. In the end, we told the architect what to do and she did it, with never highlighting the pros and cons of the decision. I think a good architect should always point out why something may not work, even if the homeowner is the one asking for it. We would get plans back and seeing it on paper, the change would not make sense. I think a good architect would have known before making the changes to point out why something may not look right. Now I just have to hope there are no big mistakes that will not be caught which may in the end cost me a lot more money...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 6:52AM
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The Kinsley plan seems like it belongs on a rather long narrow lot. Not sure if it would look appropriate on a larger acreage. I would check out the side elevations and make sure it will looks like it was added onto as you would like to see.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:50AM
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That's a nice plan! I like the big kitchen table and all the shelves, in the family room. The craft room is great, too...although I don't know if I'd want to walk through it to get to the dining room. Of course, if you didn't use the dining room very often, or used it as a more formal seating area, it wouldn't be a problem.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 12:35PM
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Farmhouse girl, when working with our designer, his first couple of attempts were no good, until I found an example house that had a lot of features I really liked. When I shared that with him, the design improved hugely.
You might give your guy one last shot, showing him the Kinsley plan or others you like, since you have invested so much already. But it still may not work. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Sorry to intrude in your topic OP but I think it's falls in the same subject matter.

How many revisions are included in your $5K design fee?

It seems to me that hasn't been stated by your architects.
So why would it cost potentially more $ unless are lazy - in which case fire them.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 1:17PM
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