Starting a Project the Right Way

As an architect specializing in custom remodels on the Westside of Los Angeles, I agree with much in the July 18 article headlined "Buying to Add On."

However, it is project ignorance that must be addressed, and your article did not make this point.

I find that many homeowners walk into such projects with insufficient knowledge or preparation. By the time this is discovered, most of the stress, aggravation and abuse has already occurred.

The advice to use design professionals cannot be over-emphasized. Architects become not just designers and construction managers but also best-friend consultants, project therapists and even behavioral psychologists.

Elation, joy, stress, anger, pain, suffering" all are symptomatic of a renovation project and corresponding client experiences.

Most architects are worth their weight (and cost) in gold, as it is just as easy to build a $150-a-square-foot mistake as it is to design a curb-appealing masterpiece.

My initial client meetings sometimes reveal astonishment at my standard fee of 15% of estimated construction costs. But I have saved my clients much more in the preliminary design phase alone.

You always get what you pay for.


Pacific Palisades

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