How to find an architect, landscape architect or interior designer near you
You've always wanted that modern kitchen…
The updated master suite you've pinned to your Pinterest board…
The clean, streamlined house you fell in love with in last month's Dwell magazine…
But you're not sure how to start?
More importantly, you’re not sure WHO TO CALL to help you get there?
Don’t worry, there are lots of places to find great design professionals in your area. Here’s a video of the best ones:
Don’t want to take the time to watch the video just yet? An outline of those places follows below:
The first and best place to start your search is, like for pretty much everything else in life, online.
Houzz.com is a great resource for design ideas with millions of high-quality photos of residential projects from around the world. They also have an extensive list of design & construction professionals in your area. You can search by zip codes to pull contacts from. Then you'll scroll through to see what images and descriptions catch your eye, and either make a call or send a private message.
They also have a Project Match feature, where you input the services, scope and budget you're working with, and the site matches you up with professionals that have submitted company details that could be a match for you.
A 3rd way to use Houzz for this is to search project photos by location, then refine by style, budget etc. You're limited to larger metro areas and cities with this method, but if you see photos you like in your area, the designer's information is always listed.
Dwell.com and their 'Pros' listing is another resource. Not quite as extensive of a directory as Houzz, but certainly very aligned with a modern aesthetic that the magazine has come to be known for.
Good ol' Google. You can start as simply as entering "landscape architect near me" and reach out to the top local listings that come up, or really dial in what you're looking for in your search terms: scope of work, style, features etc...
Nextdoor.com is an online platform for referrals, news and events specific to your city or neighborhood. It's not specific to design & construction by any means, but a good site to visit.
AIA.org's 'Firm Directory' lists architecture firms by zip code (especially important if your city or state requires that a licensed Architect prepare your permit drawings).
The AIA’s CRAN (Custom Residential Architect's Network) has local chapters of architects, designers and construction professionals dedicated specifically to residential projects..
ASLA.org 'Firm Finder' allows you to find Landscape Architects, and sort by project type.
APLD.org ‘Find a Designer’ helps you find a Landscape Designer nearby.
ASID.org 'Find a Pro' lists Interior Designers in your area.
Yes, I said it.
Those yard signs you see stuck in the ground are certainly prevalent for painters, landscapers and general contractors, but…
If you see a new house going up that you like, or one of your neighbors is starting a renovation, take note of the signs in the yard for the designer’s info. If a particular design firm’s signs are prevalent in your neighborhood, they should be specifically in tune with local home values and your city/county permitting process, and could potentially be a source for good local contractors when it comes time to build.
Neighbors, co-workers and friends can all be great sources for recommending design professionals, especially if they’ve recently gone through a home construction project themselves.
For more “neighborly” referrals online, I’d visit Nextdoor.com. You can ask your entire neighborhood or city (at least those that have signed up for the website) the very same question.
As you start to ask for referrals, be ready to ask for more than just a name.
Though a "here, call this guy" is good, you should take the time to ask your neighbors and friends questions like:
"what was the best part about working with him or her?"
"what could have been better?"
"did they give the right details to your contractor?"
"did they work well with the contractor?"
Don't be afraid to ask about the design fees they paid. They may not want to share that information, or they may give you a vague range. But it never hurts to ask!
Similarly, once you've found a few architects or designers you'd like to interview, you'll want to ask for recent client referrals of their own. Those referrals can bring you the best insights into working with a particular professional.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
positive reviews online and/or positive reviews from referrals
time in business
size of firm
is it a sole-proprietor, where you'll have a very personal relationship with one architect that will handle all details of your project start to finish? Or are you comfortable with an 8- 15-, or 20- person firm where you might have a design leader, then draftsmen executing the drawings, then a separate professional working with you through construction?
style of design
photos of built work
does their website or interviewee explain their process?
The search for the right architect, landscape architect or interior designer in your area can be overwhelming, but by knowing the right places to look, you’re off to a good start on your next successful home construction project.