What do I need to know before I call you to schedule an appointment?
We don’t require any information for you to reach out to us about your project. But during our first phone or email conversation we will ask you the following questions, so it will help if you have thought about these before you contact us.
- What are you looking for?
- Why do you want this?
- On a scale of 0-100 how motivated are you to finish the project?
- What is your budget for this project? Or do you need help determining what your budget should be?
- When do you want this project to be complete?
- Apart from you, who else is involved in the decision making process?
What’s the process of working with your firm?
Check out our detailed blog post on the process of working with Mottram Architecture HERE.
What if I don’t want to build a zero-energy home, will you still work with me?
Because we feel so strongly about energy efficiency and providing comfortable and healthy homes for our clients, we ask that you let us at least give you a little information on why it’s a good idea for you and your project. We’ve spent years developing techniques that not only save our clients money, but also improve the quality of their space. There are several ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home without getting costly. We call this cost offsetting. When you build a super insulated home we can reduce or completely eliminate the need for a typical central heating system. So of that can be done by simply orienting the house the correct direction, that wouldn’t add any extra cost the the project. Who doesn’t want to spend less in utility bills! Do you have to build zero energy? No, we’d never push you, but we do ask that you let us tell you about how we think we can make your project that much better.
Where do you work?
We are primarily based in Maine and we work anywhere in the state. We also have satellite offices in Rochester, NY and Lancaster, PA. Being a Maine based architect we think it’s important to travel all over the state to meet the needs of our clients. We aren’t adverse to doing work outside of the state of Maine and we often work for clients who are not local. With the advent of video conferencing we can work with you no matter where you are, even if you’re sitting on the beach in the Caribbean, as long as you have phone or internet access we can keep your project moving.
Is it expensive to hire an architect?
Every project, homeowner and budget is unique. But we think we add a lot of value to the process. We wrote this blog post several years ago on why we think people can’t afford not to hire an architect. We are uniquely trained to get the most out of your space and budget. We are happy to sit down with you and discuss how we might be able to help you in a cost effective and efficient way.
What size projects do you work on?
We will happily talk to a client with a project of any size. We’ve done small kitchen remodels to designing new construction homes. No project is too big or too small to us. It’s all about quality of space and building healthy, happy homes.
What types of projects do you do?
Residential, we only do residential. Less than 2% of the homes constructed in the US are designed by architects. An even smaller proportion of those homes that are, are designed by architects that specialize in residential construction. We think that architects tend to excel in one area, and we have chosen to make it our mission to excel in carefully crafted, durable, and beautiful residential design.
How important is it to select the right site?
We can’t stress enough how important selecting the right site will be. Simple things like orienting your home the correct direction on a site can significantly increase the efficiency of the home without adding any additional cost. We also take a lot of pride in selecting the right windows in the right location of the home so you can take advantage of the view. There is nothing worse then having the best view in the house be from the bathroom window. Or having a lot that overlooks the valley below, but has no windows that face the view. But it’s also important to look at things like soil conditions which can greatly affect septic designs. Or the overall site development costs, is one lot going to cost significantly more to build on? Or does it have poor drainage and will require constant moisture mitigation. There are many other issues to consider when you’re looking for a site to build on, but we will leave you with this last one. Privacy and Noise. We all want to feel safe and secure in our homes, you may want to come home at the end of a long day and relax, maybe you don’t want to hear the airplanes taking off overhead or the local country club having it’s 30th wedding of the season.
How long does it take to design and build a home?
There are so many factors involved in designing and building a home. Some of those include your schedule. In Maine they often post roads in the spring which doesn’t allow heavy trucks to access all the roads. This could keep a foundation from being poured for several weeks. During the design process, ability to make decisions quickly can shorten or lengthen a process. And there is always builder availability. We like you to bring a builder on during the design phase and have a truly integrated design process, but builders schedules fill up quickly, and some of my favorite builders can be out 6 weeks to 6 months. So getting on someone’s schedule early can be critical to getting your project completed on your timeline. But if you need a breakdown, we often estimate 4-6 months for design and 6-12 months for construction. So don’t wait till the weather gets nice to start designing your summer projects. And be prepared to wait several months to get a project started if you put it out to bid after the design process.
Do you recommend builders?
Yes, click here to see our partners page! We have found that our homeowners are more satisfied with the end product and the overall project when they select a contractor during the design phase. That doesn’t mean you have to work with one of the builders we have previously worked with, but we encourage you to interview builders early in the process. You will spend between 6-12 months with this builder, it should be someone you like and trust. We are happy to be a part of the builder selection process, we know what questions to ask and how to tell if a builder is willing to work with you on your budget and your timeline. There are lots of great builders out there, these are just a couple that we know, like and trust!