Summer 2022

Design for a Dream

Working with an architect can save time and money by making your new space more functional, comfortable and efficient.

In Partnership with the AIA Kansas City  |  Photo by Mike Sinclair


ou’ve got a piece of land and a dream home in your head. How do you translate that into a workable plan? A special collaboration with an architect. This seemingly mysterious process can be successful and even fun with the right professional.

But first, consider these primer questions.

  • Do you have ideas on the spaces you want to include and square footage you need to accommodate them?
  • Do you have a site? Or will this also be a subject of discussion with the architect?
  • Have you decided upon a schedule and budget?
  • What are your overall aspirations for the project—aesthetic and emotional as well as practical?
  • Where will the resources come from?
  • Are you willing to pay extra up front on systems that will save energy and payback over time?
  • If you have previous experience with design and construction, in what ways were you successful, and was the experience in any way disappointing?

Then talk to other people whose projects you admire—whether similar to your own or not—and find out who designed them. The local chapter of AIA can also help you identify firms appropriate to your situation and budget. Visit 

Interview a few firms to find the best chemistry. Then, as early as possible, bring the architect into the picture. Architects can help you define your project in every respect and may also offer additional services such as site studies, assisting in securing planning and zoning approvals, operational programming, warranty reviews and design/build services. 

A good architect will listen closely to you, help you solidify your goals and desires, and translate them into the home you’ve always wanted. 

Click the image for a guide for a fuller perspective on this topic, including negotiating, compensation and timelines.

Flint Hills Farmstead

Honoree of the 2018 AIA Kansas City Project of the Year, architecture firm
el dorado sensitively modified the primary structure of an 1893 homestead (seen above) for contemporary use, adding a new building that both compliments the character of the historic structure and connects a new interior experience with a profound landscape. 

The project illustrates the power and continued usefulness of historic structures, extending the value of embodied energy already present in material and craftsmanship. New construction is a combination of locally harvested, repurposed and durable/low-maintenance materials. 

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