8 min read

How to Work with an Architect

Learn how to get the most out of your relationship with your architect.

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Studio Marlowe

Written by:

Christi Farrell, RA, Leed GA


November 8, 2022


Studio Marlowe

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Whether you're planning a home renovation or building a new home from scratch, working with an architect can be a great way to bring your vision to life. But what's the best way to work with an architect? In this blog post, we'll give you some tips on how to get the most out of your relationship with your architect.

Be Prepared to Make Decisions (A Lot of Them)

One reason why architects are so helpful to have on board on a project, aside from being required on some types of projects, is that they are experienced in making a lot of decisions quickly. 

This is a huge benefit as it can save you a lot of time and headache. That said, when you embark on a project of this size, your own ability to make decisions quickly will be tested. Some decisions can wait longer than others, but critical ones, like the form and layout of a house, will need to be made quickly so other important decisions can be made. 

A significant amount of cost on projects is attributed to slow decision making so the more prepared you are to engage and the more decisive you are, the more you’ll end up saving.

Have a key decision maker

Designing a home is a very emotional project as much as it is financial. If you’re making decisions with a partner, having conversations up front about how you’ll make decisions will be critical to the success of your project.

Without that clear understanding in place before starting a project you will quickly find yourself in situations where you might disagree about a design direction which could lead to frustration and slow the project down. 

Communication between you and your partner is as critical, if not more important, than how you communicate with your architect. 

Learn about the process before hand

The more informed you are about the design process, the better equipped you are to navigate decisions and ask the right questions. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand the design process in more detail. 

Set realistic expectations from the start

Once you understand the design process a bit better, setting realistic expectations for yourself, your partner and other stakeholders will help you make decisions along the way. This is especially true when working with an architect, as there are a lot of variables that can impact the outcome of your project. Before you even begin working with an architect, sit down and make a list of must-haves, nice-to-haves, and deal-breakers. This will help narrow down your search and make sure everyone is on the same page from the start.

Communicate Your Vision

This means being clear about what you want to accomplish and why. 

What are your goals for the project? 

What are your must-haves? 

What can you live without? 

The more specific you can be, the better. Your architect will use this information to develop a plan that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

Communicate openly and often

Another key to success when working with an architect is to be involved in the process. 

This means being available to answer questions, provide input, and give feedback at every stage of the project. 

The more involved you are, the more likely it is that the final product will reflect your vision. 

It's also important to remember that architects are licensed professionals, so trust their expertise and experience. 

If you're not sure about something, ask questions and get clarification. 

Be Willing to Compromise

While it's important to have a clear vision for your project, it's also important to be willing to compromise. 

No matter how well you communicate your vision or how involved you are in the process, there will always be elements of the project that are out of your control. 

Maybe the permits take longer than expected or the construction budget is tighter than anticipated. 

Whatever the case may be, be prepared to make adjustments and compromises along the way. The goal is to end up with a finished product that you're happy with, even if it's not exactly what you originally envisioned.


Working with an architect can be a great way to turn your homebuilding or renovation dreams into reality. 

By communicating your vision, being involved in the process, and being willing to compromise, you can work with an architect to create a space that's both beautiful and functional. And last but not least…enjoy the process! After all, this is YOUR home we’re talking about!

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Contributor / Co-Founder
Christi Farrell
Christi is a licensed architect and interior designer specializing in sustainability. She enjoys teaching design and bringing transparency to the impact that furniture has on our planet.
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