How To Design Your Dream Home – Hiring An Architect

Designing a new home or significantly remodeling or expanding an existing home is a process of inquiry and discovery. We believe that designing a home is a technique of making a place that feels both new and old: new, in that it is a fresh response to the existing conditions; and old, in that it contains deep and familiar qualities that make a place a home.


The facets of an architect’s role are as varied and fascinating as their work.  They are trained and licensed professionals who lead the process of creating functional spaces, from concept and design to a full realization of those designs.  NSPJ works with each client to discover the place’s essence and the family for which it is intended.  NSPJ Architects was founded in 1961 spanning 4 generations. We continue to create timeless designs with distinctive detail and proportion.  Our work is inspired, holistic and innovative with unmatched expertise in residential focused environments.


Every building is different. Every project is different.  We would like to provide this helpful guide for anyone thinking about pursuing their dream home.


Your Checklist Before You Call

Before you call/email for an initial introduction, what are you thinking about for your new home?  Here are some examples of questions you will be asked when calling NSPJ:

  • Do you already have a lot for a new build or are you looking to remodel an existing home?
  • What will be the size of your new home or home you want to remodel?
  • How many bedrooms, bathrooms, or specialty rooms would you like?
  • Do you have an idea of a layout for living spaces and other rooms you would like to have?
  • What is your preferred architectural style? i.e. Tudor, Mediterranean, Modern, Traditional, etc.
  • What energy-efficient plans can we develop and implement for you?
  • What are your visions for the aesthetics of the landscaping?
  • Timing? When would you like to live in the new, beautiful space?

Schedule a Meeting

After your initial conversation, the next logical step is to set up a meeting.  At NSPJ we prefer to either meet in person or via video conference.  We find having a personal meeting allows the ideas and vision to come forward in the design process. We take the time to listen carefully to your dreams and preferences and try our best to understand your ultimate vision.


Next Step

In the actual meeting, this is where the ideas start to come to life! We will want to get a better idea of the style you are exploring and the size of the home either by square footage or by a list of rooms. We recommend bringing photos of the design styles of rooms or homes that inspire you. What materials, colors, textures are you considering? The more detail you can provide room by room the better. This helps us interpret what you have in mind and to recognize your favorite ideas to ensure they are included in the design.


We will then craft a room-by-room plan and take notes about any special details that need to be considered during design.  A small detail can influence a single room or an entire project and this is where it happens.  Here is an example of a single-family home project:


  • Living room: Will it have bookcases, a fireplace, room for 2 large sofas and side chairs? What about a vaulted ceiling?
  • Will the layout of the kitchen have an island, pantry, etc.? Any appliances you have been dreaming about that need to be accommodated?
  • Will there be a dining room or just space for a table? How many people and chairs are needed for the table? Any additional information is very helpful.
  • Considering a home office or study?  What is the ideal location for this to be?  Any views to see out a window while working or is a private, quiet space needed?
  • Garage, mudroom, and laundry will be reviewed down to the number of cubbies.  Where should these be in relation to the rest of the rooms?
  • Will there be a master suite with a walk-in closet and an en suite bathroom? Will the owner suite be adjacent to other bedrooms or on the other side of the home for privacy? How many other bedrooms are needed? What are the desires for the closets in each?
  • What about entertainment/game rooms and their special requirements?  Will there be a pool table, bar and a golf simulator? These plans will be discussed to allow for required space allotment in design.
  • Exterior spaces such as an entry porch, screen porches, terraces and a pool will be reviewed to understand your outside needs and how you want to experience the great outdoors. Will you be grilling on a beautiful deck or a covered patio?

The collaboration between you and the architect is key to creating your dream home.  At NSPJ Architects, we will help guide you through the process.  We recommend visiting, Pinterest NSPJ or Houzz NSPJ Architects to see our other custom designs and to find inspiration for your own home.


Contact our architects in our Prairie Village Kansas or Nashville Tennessee offices to start designing your custom new home today.  



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