I am often asked “how much does it cost to work with an architect?”, and my response is always
“it depends”. For a custom design of a new home or a significant remodel, my fee in recent years
has ranged from under $10,000 to well over $50,000. Every project is unique and the services I
provide vary widely. With a little information about the scope of your project, usually obtained
during a short preliminary interview, I can better answer this question.
CRG works very hard to make each project a reflection of the client’s intentions and desires. In
my experience, a successful architectural design process requires building trust and “getting into
your head”. Projects begin with lots of questions, and then I guide you thru the maze of
possibilities, all the while trying to keep you from being overwhelmed. This process may require
compromising competing values, yet it inevitably leads to informed client decisions and ownership
of the design.
There are many variables that affect the fee for residential projects:
Initial planning and concept design are critical. Some folks come to me with an advanced
idea of the layout and its relationship to the site. Sometimes it works and is a good idea that
just needs tweaking, other times it doesn’t. Most often clients enter the process with an idea
that needs to be developed with respect to physical and financial reality.
Site. Flat is easy, slopes require varying degrees of design consideration and constraint.
Access from without, views and exposure, relationships and hierarchy of rooms all come into play when
locating and orienting a building on the property.
Complexity of the design. A rectangular building with a simple roof takes far less time to
design than a building with an irregular plan. More rooms and bigger areas tend to mean more issues
Scope of services. Sometimes I’m asked to provide a complete interior design, specifying
detailed finishes, fixtures and colors right down to cabinet knobs and custom-built furniture
(see $50,000+ fee). More often these detailed decisions are made by the owner in conjunction with
the builder, an interior designer, or product suppliers while I provide coordinating information
on the construction drawings.
Jurisdictional permitting authority may require considerable time. For instance, the city
of Corvallis is highly regulated, while Benton County is relatively lax. Everywhere, permit
requirements and the level of review seem to be more complex with each passing year!
Finally, successful architecture –aesthetically and functionally- is a matter of integration.
I don’t have a signature “style”; rather, I blend input from the client with my experience and
design abilities until we get it right. There are so many variables in even the simplest home design.
I find myself referring to the “idea” of each design. This “idea” encompasses every aspect of
the design, including style, siting, scale and form, intangibles of personality and context,
construction materials, interior volumes, and the systems and strategies that make it all work.
Regardless of size or budget, it all starts with the client and the site, and builds from there.