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LottaLiving.com • Seeking SoCal (San Gabriel Valley) design-build
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Seeking SoCal (San Gabriel Valley) design-build

Posted: Tue May 18, 2010 11:04 am
by kismet
We are looking for a design-build firm to assist us with restoring and building a modest addition to a mid-century modern in Pasadena. If anyone has suggestions or personal experiences with local design-build firms, please let me know. We'll also eventually be looking for a landscape designer. Thanks!

Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 9:59 am
by Stephen
You may want to look into hiring a separate designer and builder. While there are some excellent mid-mod design build firms, they are incredibly expensive (ie: Marmol-Radziner). You might have better luck finding an architect you really like (many of them really need work right now) and a local builder you really trust.

I'll toss out an architect recommendation for you to start. He might not be the guy for your job, but he loves mid-century modern and has done several residential additions:

Shaunt Yemenjian
Spacio Design Studio
shaunt@spaciodesignstudio.com

He splits time between Fresno and Los Angeles and is a SCI-Arc graduate.

Posted: Wed May 19, 2010 6:35 pm
by Joe
if you can't find a design build team that fits your needs, consider an architect who can refer a contractor, or several of contractors to interview. architects usually run about 11% of project cost or have an hourly rate.

Posted: Thu May 20, 2010 12:59 am
by blinkbeforebeauty
Hi - My experience is that there are a lot of low-end residential design build firms that are mainly general contractors who employ a designer / cad person to draw up plans for the owner's review. Unfortunately most of these don't employ a licensed architect and may not have the design sensitivity required for a specialized mid century home.

There is another set of high-end design build contractors that can provide a lot of value to a high end / expensive renovation or addition. Unfortunately they come with a high price tag and depending on the budget for your project, may not be a good match either. How large is the addition you are planning?

I think a better option is to find a local licensed architect with a lot of residential experience. For an architect's fee, a general rule of thumb is 10% of the construction cost of the project, not the whole project cost. I am a licensed architect, and unfortunately it seems a lot of residential clients get sticker shock from our fees. BUT, there are so many architects without work right now, that you may be able to get an excellent fee due to the economic slowdown. You also may be able to limit the scope of work of the architect to help you save money.

Check the Pasadena & Foothill branch of the AIA and they can help you get in touch with a firm that is right for your project:
http://www.aiapf.org/

To be honest, many home owners don't feel like they get enough value from even a small fee (for a minor addition / renovation) to justify the expense. Unfortunately that is partly our fault as architects not being able to convince the public of the value of our professional services.

That said, right now is an excellent time to bid a project. Contractors are in general very hungry and prices should be good, at least for another few months as the economic recovery hopefully starts to speed up. Getting the help of a licensed architect that you are comfortable with is a great 1st step
Hope this helps.

Posted: Thu May 20, 2010 3:19 pm
by scowsa
Every year, Sunset mag runs a Best of West Houses, with many being modern, plus they regularly have articles om modern remodels and additions. They always mention who managed the build.

So if you have access to back copies, or a library that gets it, I would browse through those.

Posted: Fri May 21, 2010 9:27 am
by merritt
I recently went to Culver Architects (now known as C|Arc) in Venice, CA for the garage remodel, fence and landscape work I did on my Long Beach Cliff May. Their website is here:

They are a small firm, husband and wife architect and landscape architect team.

Here is the page on my place:

Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:53 pm
by kismet
Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions. We purchased the house and are moving forward with the project using some tips from these posts. We hope to be done in December, so I'll post feedback here once it's done.