The decision between architect and designer, and who is best qualified to design your new home -- can lead to confusion for a prospective client. Both sides can present their positions positively. Briefly, we will outline the differences for you.

Generally, designers do not possess an architect's license. They are usually not allowed to work on commercial structures, while architects are. In fact, many architectural firms concentrate primarily on larger commercial, industrial, and institutional projects as well they should.

Architects can work as an advocate for their clients overseeing the construction of the project. This is a good way to insure that the customer maintains the integrity of the original design. Designers can do the same, but usually are not asked to do so. This is one of many reasons why fees can vary greatly for residential design service, and why Architects tend to be so expensive. A customer can definitely save money by hiring a designer, but he/she needs to be sure that all the pertinent insurances are carried no matter who they consider.
Creativity is key to good design and yet is the hardest to discern when picking an individual or company. View sample works, and judge for yourself, watch for the uncommon. If the collection of work appeals to you, one can consider that a positive step in the right direction.

Equally important is competency. Roofs, floors, essentially everything needs support. There must always be a path of support to the ground. Paths are also important for plumbing and heating, and need to be accounted for. Simple concepts I saw ignored all too often in my years as a carpenter.

Cost is an important criterion, but don't let it get in the way of competency. The cost of a missed support beam and a day’s wages for a construction crew, usually more than offsets the extra cost for competent design work. There is little substitute for experience and on the job training in determining expertise. With Kelly Design the principal designer's experience spans four decades.
Designer vs. Architect
Finding your Designer
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New Const.
If you decide to retain a designer, you'll find it's mainly a referral business. Good sources are recommendations from friends, associates, contractors, and real estate agents. Your best sources can come from local building departments and building supply stores. Interview your designer; don't be shy about asking for references. Again, review examples of available work. Remember you are establishing your comfort level with your designers' capabilities as described above.
A good designer should be able to work with builders and their subcontractors, as well as customers.

At Kelly Design it is our belief that a building contractor, possessing the commensurate experience in years of building, is qualified to construct your home without constant monitoring; moreover, we feel that a builder's input should be welcomed if not valued!

If your builder is new, or you are even considering doing your own construction - a good set of construction documents (house plans) is paramount. Fortunately, you can rely on the experience of our company's principle to ensure that is precisely what you receive, and we can provide that 2nd set of eyes to assist in construction if needed.
Getting along with Builders