An example of a home not done by a residential architect.


People are typically confused about who exactly they need to hire to draft their custom home floor plans. Should they Google for a local residential architect or plan drafting company or a home designer? I know because nearly half of my business comes from Google searches and so I am aware of the words and phrases typed into the search bar to find someone, like myself, who offers residential architect services.

You need a residential architect only if you own lots of very expensive cars and boats and need a home to match. It takes an architect many years of graduate school, costing thousands upon thousands, and so they need to command a fee that repays and justifies their great effort and expenditure.

While architects reign supreme in all other areas of construction, the residential architect is a rare bird, at least in eastern Washinton state. I have an architect friend who returned to Spokane after several successful years specializing in residential kitchen design in the San Francisco.

Unable to make the living he required no matter how willing he was to do all forms of residential architecture, my friend returned to California in a few years. In no time he was back to his former tax bracket designing only kitchens in the bay area where there are many, many more rich and famous people.

It is not that the residential architect is not worth their fees for custom home floor plans, it is that they are overqualified and must draft blueprints far more detailed and involved than is required to build the vast majority of new homes in eastern Washington state.

I have another residential architect friend who spent the time and money to earn his master’s degree in architecture but declined to take the test required to obtain his license. He told me that the level of detail and information a licensed architect is required by the Board of Architecture to include in a set of custom home floor plans would require him to charge too much.

In other words, he would be trying to sell his Ferrari house blueprints to people who only needed and could afford Dodge home blueprints to move the home in their dreams down the road in time a little to where it is the home of their life. In the overall scheme of our lives, the actual building of a custom home is a short though often bumpy road. It is a straight road, however, and one that builders and tradesman know very well.

For example, earlier this month one of my custom home builder clients brought in two his client that needed custom home floor plans so that he could build them a new home. He told us that he was currently building a custom home for a couple who hired a residential architect to draft their custom house blueprints.

“By the time they found me, it was too late to send them to you, Craig,” he said, shaking his head and rolling his eyes. “The plans are 24 pages thick and this is not an amazing house.”

“I could have saved them thousands of dollars and myself a major pain in the ass,” he added after a dramatic sigh and another quick but emphatic half shake of the head.

As a home draftsman/designer with years and years of experience as a craftsman/builder, I will be able save these more fortunate new clients of his clients as much as 80% on the cost of their custom home floor plans and my friend on the time and frustration required to navigate through my much lighter 5-page set of custom home floor plans.