Unusual small house plans?
So I just got this book on urban small houses, Japanese style:
The book was very inspirational. Most designs are multi-level, and are between 900 and 1100 feet. They show houses I actually would want to live in. :) And most of them are claimed to have been built on a budget. I got numerous neat ideas for my own house which I hopefully will build some day. The designs I saw in the book reflect very closely what I have in mind.
The problem is, the floorplans and construction materials for floorplans that I find attractive are *very* different from traditional floorplans offerred in the US.
How does go tackle this problem? Should I hire an architect and give her/him the list of key features that I want to see in my house, e.g. extensive use of metal, glass, and composite materials? Or can I do the design myself? Has anyone in this group successfully built their own small house per unusual architectural blueprints? What exactly architects do? Was it a big pain having an unusual architectural plan approved by the county ? Any comments will be appreciated.