Not too long ago, I found myself in the home of an individual who had recently completed a rather extensive home renovation. He gave me a tour of his beautifully designed Pasadena home, and after complimenting the homeowner on the detailing and finishes, I asked who his architect was. He didn’t want to tell me because he felt like the architect had abandoned him before the project was finished. He went on to show me the areas in his home where he had made design decisions on his own in order to complete the project. He commented that he felt comfortable making these design decisions because he considered himself a “careful thinker” and indicated that this was what contributed to the success of his home’s design.
That phrase “careful thinker” got me thinking. What did he mean by that? And how should I, as an architect, respond to “careful thinkers” in my own practice?
Based on my interaction with this gentleman, as well as with past clients like him, I believe a careful thinker is someone who has not only considered the overall design of their home, but also things like wall finishes, floor and ceiling treatments, and light fixtures. And they have thought about and explored the various available options before even calling an architect.
Advantages of Being (and Working with) a Careful Thinker
Careful thinkers tend to care about all of the details involved in a remodeling project, and because of this, they often become a trusted partner for our Long Beach architecture firm when we can’t be on site. For example, we have a project right now that is under construction for one of our careful thinker clients. He is doing a great job of moving his general contractor forward and keeping our architecture firm apprised of the progress. As a result, when we visit the site, we can anticipate most of the contractor’s questions, making our site visits very efficient.
Another great thing about careful thinkers is that a realistic budget is (generally) part of their careful thinking. They’ve done their research to know what things cost and what they’ll be able to afford (and what they can’t). They’ve thought a lot about what they want and what problems they want their remodel to address in their home. They come to our architecture firm with ideas, suggestions, or specific concerns that we can use as a great starting point for our design.
They also want to work very closely with their architect. By doing so, they get to see the project through the designer’s eyes, and therefore tend to be more understanding if adjustments need to be made during construction.
Pitfalls that Careful Thinkers Need to Avoid
If think you might fall into the category of “careful thinker,” you want to be careful that you don’t become an “over thinker.” Over thinkers have a tendency to spend too much of their time focusing on one or two particular aspects of a project and, by doing so, can completely derail the project’s timeline.
One of the first projects I ever worked on was for a client who wanted his residential remodel to include a sound room. He spent so much of his budget developing the details of that one room that, unfortunately, when the bids came back, he discovered he was no longer able to afford to do the remodel.
The ultimate careful thinker wants to have every detail dialed in before any construction begins. This is a huge undertaking when you consider how many details are involved in a residential remodel, but we have done it with a handful of our careful thinker clients over the years. Just know that it requires much more time upfront, and will impact your design costs, since it involves extra work for our architecture firm to prepare drawings and specifications in a way that answers all questions prior to submitting the drawings to the city.
A Long Beach Architect that Doesn’t Shy Away from Careful Thinkers
At our Long Beach architecture firm, we love working with careful thinkers. We aren’t daunted by their questions or their need to be involved in the design process. In fact, we prefer that our clients be heavily involved in the design of the space they’ll be living or working in, and we think that a tight collaboration between architect and client makes for a better end product.
If you’re looking for an architect in Long Beach for your residential or commercial remodel, we’d love to talk with you! Whether you’d consider yourself a careful thinker or not, we can design a space for you that meets your needs and maybe even exceeds your expectations! Contact us today to get started.