Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I Live For Comments Like These

It's true -- I've got an ego problem. For example, if someone compliments me, I go all soft and squishy inside and immediately look for ways to pay them back with interest. Further example: In my post from nearly a week ago, Don't Get Between An Architect and His Movietime, some anonymous soul decided to be really nice to me. This person wrote in the comments section:
I came to this blog via tbogg or some such place because I had an architect question. Why do they (architects) never call up a year or so later and say how is it working out? What do you like best. What is not working. etc. ect. Especially for public buildings. I feel much could be learned by these questions.

I got so charmed by your posts, I read them all. Very funny. I agree with you on everything. I had some friends who built a vanity house. Everything was custom. I am not sure how much it cost--it was in the early 90's. Their mortgage payment was $11,000 per mo. I do know that. They lived in it 8 months before they realized that they hated everything about it--the great room, the master suite, the kids wing. Fortunately they sold it before the dot com bubble burst. They built another house--nothing custom that was 2500 sq ft.-- and lived happily ever after. Keep up the wonderful posts sir.
Now wouldn't you consider a visit by someone who freely handed out those kinds of compliments a great reward for the six or seven weeks of work I've put into this blog? I do. And here is my response:
Those phone calls to past clients one or more years later are considered to be very instructive and valuable to architects (and to their clients, particularly if they work in the public realm). And yet as you say, architects do not take advantage of those learning opportunities as much as they should. Those post-mortems are actually called Post Occupancy Evaluations, and all architects know of them. But still they don't follow through often enough. I know I haven't.

In my practice as a custom home designer, Post Occupancy Evaluations would be especially helpful and even fun as reunions.

Although I started out designing everything commercial under the sun -- educational, ecclesiastical, commercial office and retail, large and small recreational, and lots of healthcare related work -- when I started my own firm, I consciously and intentionally chose to focus on custom residential because that's where my heart wanted to be since first deciding to become Architect.

With residential design, the number of decisions per dollar spent in construction increased ten-fold, the amount of my compensation per decision made dropped equivalently, and the emotion levels and the amount of hand-holding increased exponentially! And still I'm loving it. So far anyway.

Thank you for the kind words about my writing. I've always had a good feel for ways to charm and entertain readers, while also keeping my stories focused. I used to write news and sports copy for mediocre pay when I was much younger, and I enjoyed that work. Fortunately, I decided to get myself a real occupation and scrapped the newsie crap in time to save my soul.

An $11,000 per month mortage would be what one would expect with a $2 million house to be owned by someone making half-a-million a year, assuming they didn't inherit their wealth. I would love to design a house with a massive budget someday, but all my clients so far seem to like the idea of keeping their mortgages under $5,000 a month, which limits their construction costs to something at or under $1 million. For high-quality custom homes in our particular region of the country, this gives us a target of something around 3,000 square feet above ground, and a finished walk-out basement if the lot's characteristics cooperate. Still fairly modest (and comfortable) by some of the standards of Filthy Richness on public display.

One architecture professor once said -- I seem to be quoting a lot of professors on this blog -- an architect is fortunate if he/she has one client throughout his/her career who gives him/her total freedom to design to his/her heart's content. So far I'm still in training for that client.

Hope you keep in touch. Thanks again!
Yeah, I'm feeling the love tonight!


Blogger Jonathan Deus said...


11:04 PM, March 09, 2006  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

"Hello," I answer with trepidation in my gut but all-out fear in my heart.

12:01 AM, March 10, 2006  

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