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In Praise of Architects


Before its major remodel, this 1921 Granada Hills home had virtually no discernable exterior style. That’s because the original house had been distorted in the 1950s with a boxy family room addition that went clear across the front, enclosing the front door and forcing the inhabitants to enter thereafter through a side door.

When owners Mike and Jill Tovey wanted to hire contractor Warren Kreis to remodel their home, he suggested they first talk with Los Angeles architect Kip Kelly of Nest Architecture. After some discussion, Kelly delivered one sheet of paper with the new design, which finally gave the couple a grand front entrance. When Mike Tovey saw the $3,000 design fee, he said: “Three thousand dollars for one piece of paper?”

But once the house was done and he and his wife, both schoolteachers, beheld their home’s Craftsman motif — with shingled siding, extensive stonework and tapered porch pillars — they were amazed at the transformation. Then, Mike said: “Those architects, they have vision.”

So the point is: if you can hire an architect or designer, do so. Even if you plan on being your own contractor, even if you plan on doing the work yourself, get some design help. With all the work you’ll do and all the money you’ll spend, you want your home to be graceful and not clunky.

Agree or disagree?

(Photo: Los Angeles Times)

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