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)

2 Comments on In Praise of Architects

  1. Ned Londer

    My experiences with architects haven’t been too positive. I contacted two of them to talk about sprucing up the front of my house, maybe with a new kind of entrance and porch. Both of them wanted to blow my budget out of the water. I think it would have been dangerous to my financial future to continue talking with them.

  2. Sparlo Jones

    Makes sense to me. As far as I can tell it’s seems obvious that an architect is the person that’s most qualified to make design decisions and not the contractor (or the owner for that matter). The architect has (should have) the education, experience and the daily contact with design issues not to mention a license from the state of CA.
    I wouldn’t seek medical advice from a carpenter or ask my accountant to fix my watch for the same reason. The carpenter and the accountant would be out of their area of expertise.