Should I create an addition, backyard cottage, or remodel?

New Avenue starts every project with our 30 questions. You can skim these questions and answer a few of them in five minutes or you can spend an hour.  We recommend you spend about 15 minutes.

These questions are based on thousands of past client meetings. We also collect feedback during construction changes and figure out what we have to ask early on in the process so we can avoid making the same costly mistakes in the future.

A client recently contacted us with some questions about what to do with their home. They are in their 60s and want to make a long term plan for how to use their home.

Here are a few of our questions and their answers.  Their full design proposal is below too:

Q: What do you want to do?

A: We would like to add a rental unit to our existing two story & 5 bedroom & 3.5 bath home.  We really do not know if we should do an addition or add a cottage/tiny house to the backyard, so we need help.

Q: What are you using this new space for?

A: We would like to rent it out either as a sublet or airbnb for extra income.

Q: If applicable, what is the 25-50 year plan for your project? For example, you may be renting out an inlaw unit and will eventually move in later.

A: We are not really sure. We could move into the new unit eventually.   We are in our 60’s so we hope it’s a 50 year plan. (:-)).

After reviewing all of the answers and questions they submitted in their Goals & Ideas questionnaire on www.newavenuehomes.com, one of our local designers met with them and provide this Design Proposal.

We’re excited that they quickly approved the proposal and design is beginning this summer.

To get this project started the owners:

  1. Filled out the Goals & Ideas survey on Newavenuehomes.com
  2. Set up a call with a New Avenue project admin to review the design/build process
  3. Paid $250 to have a Design Session with a vetted New Avenue designer
  4. Met with the designer
  5. Received a Design Proposal and clicked approve.

You can read or download the Design Proposal here: Cost of Oakland Basement Conversion to Accessory Dwelling Desig

 

Cost of a guest house in Atherton California

New Avenue shares design proposals, construction bids and actual costs so that you – as an owner – can be informed as you begin a project.

We try to educate owners, architects and contractors about the costs of comparable projects so that it is easier for you to manage your projects and create the addition, remodel, custom home of your dreams.

You can view or download the budget to design and permit a guest house in Atherton here: Cost to design and permit a guest house in Atherton

You can view and download the construction bid for this guest house there: Construction Bid Guest House Atherton CA

The plans for the home follow:Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.53.03 PM Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.53.16 PM Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.53.40 PM Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.53.46 PM Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.53.53 PM Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.53.58 PM Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.54.07 PM Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.54.11 PM

You can sign up and use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call, just click here and tell us when to call you.

Jacob Bek, a New York City Architect discusses a Hamptons summer house and the cost of firing the architect

Let me tell you a quick story about a recent client of mine, what not to do, and the serious impacts their early decisions had on their dream home.  These clients, let’s call them Jack and Jill (obviously not their real names), purchased a new summer home in an exclusive neighborhood about an hour east of New York City (The Hamptons). The house needed serious work, but the property and location were great (minutes to town and the beach). “Jack and Jill,” both very successful professionals, and at no fault of their own, had never experienced a building project and didn’t understand the process or role of their architect.

“Jack and Jill” first hired a “design architect” to “design” their home renovation project. I put “design architect” in quotations because this individual misrepresented him/herself as an “architect,” was unlicensed, and therefore illegally practicing architecture. Saying nothing to the design, a professional may had advised the clients that they would be happier, and it would be more cost effective, to simply rebuild the home. Regardless, they continued through the design stage with this individual, and then were forced to hire a second “licensed architect” for the limited purpose of permitting. This second architecture firm was not invested in the project and only preformed their limited scope of obtaining the required municipality approvals.

Then with very poor drawings and documentation the project was bid to three contractors. When the bids came back, the lowest was just over one million dollars, and the highest nearly three. This disparity alone tells you there was something very wrong. Without a professional architect guiding the project, controlling the budget and very poor documentation, there was no possible way any contractor could accurately bid on the job. The lowest bid was chosen and the “design architect” claimed he/she could handle overseeing the construction. Needless to say the “design architect” was not qualified and unable to do so; and half way through construction, the entire job site nearly stopped. The first “design architect” disappeared, the second architect only performed the work he/she was contracted to, and the contractor did not know how to proceed. At this point it was nearly two years into the design and construction process. This was when I was called, architect number three.

Constrained by the previous design and the work already preformed onsite, we halted all pertinent site work, quickly triaged the project and design, and were able to get the site moving again in a few weeks. It took a few more months to truly get the project back on track. The cost (emotionally, monetarily and in time) of not having a professional architect guiding the process was high. The project ended up costing nearly twice the initial bid and was delivered over a year late. On the upside, we were still able to work with the contractor and our clients to deliver a home they absolutely love and will continue to enjoy for many years.

Yes, part of why I tell this story is to demonstrate the importance and eventual savings (time, money and headache) an architect can provide throughout the entirety of your project. However, the main reason why I tell this story is to display the role and importance of your architect as an expert, organizer and professional leading your project, regardless of his or her skill as a designer. Of course it is essential to hire an architect based on his or her past work and design sensibility, but it is equally, if not more, important for your architect to be a professional and person you trust. You’re entrusting your architect to not only design your project and oversee the construction team, budget and schedule, but work closely with you to realize your dream. My personal view is that a very good architect will do just that, but a great architect will allow you to discover and deliver a project far beyond what you could ever have envisioned.

Jacob Bek, R.A. LEED AP
jba collective

www.jbacollective.com
info@jbacollective.com

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