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Design Rx for Your Home Remodel: An Interview with Alex Guthrie of Alex Guthrie Construction

By Alex Guthrie

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you provide.

I have been working independently as a general contractor since the early 1980s. I specialize in high-end remodeling for projects from 50 to 300k. We work closely with our clients from design through finish. Our projects can range from small single-room upgrades to large additions and whole house remodels.

How common is it to for homeowners to hire an architect for a remodeling project? What are the benefits of this compared with some of the other options?

Most cities require some sort of elevation or basic plan before they will issue a building permit. I often recommend that my clients put together a design team that would typically include a designer, architect, and contractor. This team will take the vision of the owner and help guide them through the often intimidating process. The architect is the central figure of the process and can save the owner money and time with a well thought-out plan. The rule here is: it's much cheaper to move a line on paper then a wall.

What are some important questions to ask an architect before beginning the design process?

Is this a project that fits their normal design parameters? In other words, if you want a traditional design you may want to ask the architect if this is comfortable for them. Some architects specialize in contemporary and some specialize in traditional. What is their workload? Can they meet your schedule? Make sure you have a clear understanding of their fee structure. Does the initial estimate include some time for revisions (they will happen) and how much time will the architect actually spend drawing and reviewing the plans directly? Make sure you like them personally as they are going to spend a lot of time with you and the rest of the team.

How do you suggest that people approach the remodeling process so they'll end up with a home they love?

Be realistic about the process. The fun part is before the project begins, let the professionals you've hired do their jobs. Make sure your finances are in order and you're comfortable with the projected cost. Most importantly be prepared to accept delays, cost overruns, and a workman waking you at 7 in the morning.

What are some of the biggest issues that architects and homeowners face when it comes to remodeling a house?

Remodeling is a challenging and time-consuming endeavor; making a house conform to changes in its original design is rarely easy. Patience is mandatory, things rarely happen as fast as we want , the only realistic guarantee is that things will change.

What advice do you have for homeowners to help make sure their remodel goes as smoothly as possible?

Plan for time away from the house and mess. Take the kids out to the movies and plan to eat out. Don't forget the pets, their small world is about to be invaded by strange people, loud noises, and weird smells. Let the neighbors know what you're about to do, it will affect them as well with things like parking, noise, and possibly some inconveniences.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

alex@alexguthrie.net / www.alexguthrie.net / 469-446-8508

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About The Author

Alex Guthrie is a native Dallasite. Specializing in high-end remodeling and...

Phone: 469-446-8508

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