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What is the difference between a designer and an architect?

The primary difference is in formal education and licensing. Designers are not licensed and have a wide array of training backgrounds which may not involve any formal training. Designers are limited to residential construction and generally work in conjunction with an engineer for structural concerns. Architects generally charge 2-10% of the final building costs, while designers charge a flat fee or square foot price. Architects may also offer more services during the actual construction process.

What does a home designer do?

I work with my clients to determine what their housing needs are, what they envision for their home, how much they are willing to spend for construction, and various other data. Then I assess the site or existing house for possibilities. Once this is done I begin with preliminary design ideas which are presented to the client in rough form. Once an idea is acceptible I proceed with a more detailed design and ultimately produce all the working drawings necessary to obtain permits and build the structure.

What makes Sue Rutherford design unique?

My background includes having some hands on experience with building through my own experiences as an owner builder. I feel that my background helps me to create plans that are functional as well as buildable. Builders find my plans are complete and executable. I understand the physics of building and use an engineering software package to make sure that all the structural beams are sized correctly. I usually also specify beams in several different types of wood products so your builder can use the most economical one at the time.

I also have a reasonable idea of the relative cost of various construction components. I try to design what you want in your house but also make it what you can afford. My track record seems to show that I can design with your budget in mind. I strive to listen to what you want in your house and incorporate it, but also must let you know when the reality of budget is going to make something out of the question.

My reward is not in designing a large and impressive structure but in designing one which meets your criteria as a home. My reward comes in your appreciation of the little ideas which will make day to day living in the house more enjoyable or efficient. That you say "I'm glad Sue suggested we put the door over here instead of our original idea" is my idea of a job well done.

What will design cost?

I charge by the hour at $65/hr. At our preliminary meeting I can usually give you an estimate of how many hours a design will take and it may not be as long as you would imagine. Average time for a remodel is about 15-25 hours.

What will I get?

Design services include all the blueprints necessary to obtain a building permit and construct the house. Also included are the calculations for sizing beams and structural elements. If additional engineering is required due to large retaining walls or other restrictions, I will arrange for the engineering. The actual cost of the engineer is additional. I will also meet with your contractor if you wish and will make at least one site visit to be sure the contractor understands the plans as drawn.

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