The American Dream: OWNING YOUR OWN HOUSE may be slipping away for more people these days. What to do? A competent residential architect can design your house to cost less than many “builder” houses, can be stronger, be worth more, be more durable, require less maintenance and in a nutshell: give you more bang for your buck.
A residential architect knows how to plan your new house to be simpler, and deliver more square feet for less cost. That is, if your house architect happens to be Rand Soellner, AIA. He makes a religion out of creating affordable house designs that feel larger than they are, and cost less to build.
Soellner is the first to say: “Sure, any builder can decrease the cost of any project by cheapening the structure, using weaker concrete, thinner walls, less steel connectors, cheaper insulation, shoddier construction. It takes the architect to know the line to walk between durability, cost and durability. Minimum building code does not make a good house.” Soellner is one of the World’s leading open space house architects, having learned lessons about open space planning from one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s main apprentices. “Why do so many “builder” houses blow down in high winds and during earthquakes,” asks Soellner. “That’s how Building Codes are gradually improved over the decades: one catastrophe after another, until the loss of life is so outrageous that the public demands Code improvement to hopefully prevent it from happening again.”
What Soellner does to cut costs while improving his houses’ strength and durability are things like using economical steel strapping to tie together his floor and roof joists to beams and walls. “It’s the joints that have to be surgically reinforced with economical means like this,” said Soellner, ” but these little strips of steel cost only pennies each, and put the nails into shear rather than pull-out, and their shear capability is far greater than wood fibers’ ability to hold the shaft of the nails by mere friction.” It is this intelligent use of materials that allows this residential architect to help offer better houses for less, understanding that some builders may resist these simple techniques under the pressure of some homeowners who want to cut their costs at any means, even throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
There is a zone of compromise that yields the Best house for the most reasonable cost and that’s the zone that Soellner strives for in his projects.
Insulation types and techniques is another category in which Soellner excels at improving “R” values for minimal additional cost. Soellner is also adept in Super-Efficient space planning, not wasting a square inch. There usually aren’t many “hallways” in Soellner designs, unless clients request them, because Soellner considers them wasteful of client dollars. He tries to use every square foot for useful purposes, rather than squandering them on mere dedicated circulation. More on these subjects in future posts.
If the American Dream is something you still want for your family, call: Rand Soellner Architect at 1 . 828 . 269 . 9046 Rand@HomeArchitects.com
Soellner also mentions that people who want their American Dream but on a budget, need to take responsibility for their desires. They need to realize that wanting their house large makes it more expensive. That wanting certain materials and spaces can make it more expensive. People need to understand that they probably will need to compromise on size, materials and several other things in order to arrive at a designed and built solution that works best for them, including their budget.