Craig O'Connell Architecture

FAQ

FAQ WITH CRAIG O'CONNELL

Why work with an architect? 

These days, there are a ton of great DIY tools available— everything from readymade plans on the internet to 3D modeling programs. With sites like Houzz, it’s easier than ever to learn about architecture and develop an understanding of the methods and techniques.

As in all things, real-world experience counts.

An architect can be your professional resource who can help you to avoid problems. You might be surprised to learn that many contractors will recommend that you work with an architect for this very reason. It’s great to have someone as your advocate through all steps of the process, working with budgets, contractors, and construction schedules. And most importantly, I can use my years of experience to help you create a well-designed home with proper detailing that is truly unique, and represents you. 


Why are you an architect? 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawing and building. I delight in the entire experience— from sketching ideas to building on-site. It’s a collaborative process, where design and construction work together seamlessly. I believe that well-designed spaces have the power to improve people’s lives.  


How does this process work? 

It starts with a conversation. I like to learn about your world and how this property fits into your lifestyle. Is it a vacation home? A major renovation of your primary residence? A ground-up design of a dream home? Maybe you’ve already developed a Pinterest board, or maybe you’ve never really thought about the options. 

I’m interested in the exchange of ideas, not dictating some vision from the top down. It’s my job to learn about what you’re looking for, and to help you design a living space that you love.

In our first meetings, I like to break out the drawing materials and start putting together some quick sketches. It’s a great feeling when we can start playing around with ideas on paper for the first time. During these first meetings, we can start developing the basic requirements of your project.

From there, I can take your ideas and develop them into a bunch of concepts that we can discuss. We start winnowing down the ideas, and from there we come up with a concept that is “priceable.” This means we can start figuring out how much construction would cost, what kinds of permits to expect, and what a schedule might look like.
From there, we move into final drawings and start planning the actual buildout. I’ve got deep experience with construction and permitting, and I like to take a hands-on approach. There are architects who create plans and then hand things off to a builder. I’m not like that. 


What is your style? 

I don’t try to impose a particular style on my work. If anything, I’m interested in bringing different styles together, as you would with music or cuisine. I can get excited about a rustic farmhouse or something sleek and modern. Often, we are working with a fusion of styles, old and new, and I enjoy the dialogue between the two. 


What kind of clients do you usually work with? 

In residential projects, maybe 30% of my clients have worked with an architect before. In civic and commercial projects, the number is higher. 


Why should I work with you? 

Building or remodeling a property is a huge investment, both financially and 

emotionally. A project will not be truly successful if it is simply on time and on budget. I want you to feel happy when you walk into the new space, like you are truly home. And throughout the entire process, you’ll know that you’re working with a trusted partner who will solve problems and consider your needs.

The highest compliments I’ve received have come from former clients who said that I truly listened to their concerns and helped them find a great solution. When you’re working on a project for nine months, these kinds of relationships are just as important as the finished project.