Five Tips on How to Communicate with your Residential Architect

Longtime readers of this blog already know the premium every one of us at Morgante Wilson Architects place on communication with our clients. Along with frank conversations about budget and priorities, we welcome crazy ideas, Houzz-inspired wish lists, and yes, even an occasionally uncomfortable dialogue. Because here on Chicago’s North Shore, our clients have high expectations – and the only way to ensure we deliver on those expectations is to engage in  clear and open communication every step of the way. Here are five tips to enhance communication with your own residential architect.


Make time for the project.

Remodeling a house, or building a new one from the ground up, is a big commitment. You’ll want to dedicate serious time for it, rather than treating it as a to-do list item that gets squeezed in between other obligations. Likewise, make sure your architect understands your time is valuable. At Morgante Wilson, we insist clients to meet us at their job site once a week. It’s the best way we know to ensure a project progresses smoothly from start to finish.


Ask, “What’s your preferred method of communication?”

A residential architect who promises to email a response to your questions within 24 hours may be a poor communication fit if you expect to receive an immediate answer by text. Avoid frustration by  discussing your preferences upfront, and agreeing to expectations on both sides.


Embrace the breakdown.

 It may be uncomfortable, and it might make you unhappy, but in the long run the very breakdown that’s causing a hiccup in your project will eventually yield a breakthrough that solves the issue and gets the project back on track.  So go with it!


Demand a weekly schedule.

Ask your architect to come prepared to weekly site meetings with a weekly schedule – a written document that tracks every element of the project, and notes exactly who is accountable for its completion. Be wary of a residential architect who doesn’t work this way, as it can be a red flag for disorganization. Even very good architects can be very bad business people. You don’t want to work with someone who is unable to manage their staff, their finances,  their projects – or your home.


Tell us what you want.

Then let us figure out how to make it happen. Say you’re after a mudroom addition. It’s not necessary for you to stare at your kitchen, trying to decide which walls should come down to make room for that mudroom. Just tell us you want a mudroom, and we’ll think up myriad ways to give you one. Maybe one that even accommodates a pet shower or an extra washer and dryer – things that may never have crossed your mind, but will make your day-to-day a whole lot easier.   

Each of these ideas offers an easy, common sense approach to enhancing communication with your architect to ensure the most efficient – and enjoyable – experience possible. Want to learn more? Just give us a call!

Fred Wilson
Morgante-Wilson Architects
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Morgante-Wilson Architects provides residential architectural services in Chicago, Evanston, Winnetka, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Wilmette, Northbrook, Deerfield, Northfield, and Ravinia.

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