Five Questions to Ask Yourself before Hiring a Residential Architect

As experienced residential architects, at Morgante-Wilson we know how it goes: you’re frustrated by your house. Maybe you dream of a larger kitchen. A sorely needed mudroom. Space to stash the kids’ smelly sports gear/your grandmother’s china/that summer-weekends convertible your husband couldn’t pass up. Or maybe your fantasy is an altogether new house – an entertaining-ready, perfectly organized, beautifully personalized reflection of your family’s lifestyle. To ensure your dreams become reality, we suggest five questions to ask yourself before you hire a residential architect:

1. What don’t I like about my house?

Whether you plan to renovate or build new, think about what’s not working now. Don’t try and solve the problems – we’ll do that for you. Just identify them. At Morgante-Wilson Architects, if we know you need more storage space (and really, who doesn’t?) we’ll find  ways to deliver it.


2. Do I have a file ready with photos of spaces I like?

Scour magazines. Pinterest. Houzz. All are terrific sources of inspiration (and terrific time-eaters, too, so watch out!).  Collect images that appeal to you. It’s not necessary to figure out why you like them – a good architect will be able to identify their commonalities. Have your spouse prepare a file, too. It might look different than yours, but a talented architect will thrive on the challenge of marrying your visions. Morgante- Wilson Architects recently completed this residential project in Winnetka, Illinois, for clients who assumed the contemporary style they both wanted would never work in their 1800s house.


3. What’s my budget?  

Tell us what you can afford, and we’ll tell you how to get the most for your money. But first, know your comfort level.


4. How involved do I want to be?

Do you prefer to help craft solutions as an integral part of a problem-solving team? Or would you rather be presented with options to choose from? At Morgante-Wilson, we find some clients like to be very involved. Still others don’t want to spend the time – or may not have the patience – to mull over every design decision. Be honest with yourself, because your answer may influence which architect you ultimately choose. Some are more flexible than others when it comes to client involvement.


5. How much do I know about the differences between residential architectural firms and design-builders?

If the answer is “not much,” educate yourself by reading articles on the subject . Though both can design a house for you, residential architects and design-builders approach the process very differently. Recognize those differences, and you’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision when the time comes.

Taking the time upfront to answer a few key questions such as these will ensure you’re fully prepared to begin interviewing residential architects. Know what problems you’d like to solve. Have a few photos ready of spaces that appeal to you. Be realistic about your budget, and clear about how involved you’d like to be. And finally, understand the differences between residential architects and home builders.

To learn more, give Morgante-Wilson Architects a call. Or click here for more information. Maybe – just maybe – we’ll be the residential architects who turn your dreams into reality. 

Comments? Questions? We’d love to hear from you!

Fred Wilson
Morgante-Wilson Architects
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Read other related posts on hiring a residential architect for your home:
Hiring a Residential Architect to Design a Home to Fit Your Lifestyle
Comparing Services of a Residential Architectural Firm to a Design-Build Company


Morgante-Wilson Architects provides residential architectural services in Chicago, Evanston, Winnetka, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Northbrook, Deerfield, Northfield, and Ravinia.

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