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Business Profile: Homes by Architects

By Lavender July 17, 2009

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My father designed the house I spent most of my childhood in. I remember him sitting at the table with my mother, trying to figure out how to incorporate certain features: a hinged laundry hamper that swung between our bathroom and theirs; a wood storage bin that opened to both the garage and the living room, so it always would be dry and available in the winter; and a main entrance that took advantage of the quirky landscape. Growing up in a home with a floor plan specifically designed for our family’s needs, I became almost too accustomed to it. Now in my own space in Minneapolis—which leaves much to be desired—I miss the more intuitive structure. I’m more than homesick—I’m design-sick.
Though I’m asking her to preach to the proverbial choir, I nevertheless have requested that Jennifer Gilhoi, Communications Director of AIA Minnesota, explain the feeling of living in a home so designed. It’s a difficult task to put it into words, and almost impossible to get across in the two-dimensional portfolios most clients would have access to.

So, members of AIA Minnesota felt that the best way to showcase their designs was in 3D, full scale, inside and out, with the Homes by Architects Tour. Now in its second year, the tour opens 20 stylistically diverse homes to potential clients. Best of all, the architects and design teams are onsite to answer any questions a homeowner may have about the process. The tour helps prospective clients imagine what a residential architect could offer them, and also addresses some misconceptions they might have.

Gilhoi says, “I think the biggest one is that they add cost to the project, and if you use an architect correctly, it’s the opposite.”
Not only can a good design add more value to your home, but also residential architects facilitate the whole process, acting as liaisons between the contractor and the homeowner. Most importantly, they can catch any missteps instantly, and adjust for setbacks.

Last year’s tour attracted more than 1,600 people—some visited around 15 homes of the available 29, while others focused on the work of just one or two architects.

This year’s tour (September 19-20) features different homes, including both remodels and new construction. Visiting just one home is $10, and a ticket for all 20 homes is just $25. More information about the tour is available at www.homesbyarchitects.org or (612) 338-6763.

Name of Company: AIA (American Institute of Architects) Minnesota
Year Founded: 1892
President/CEO: Renee Cheng
Number of Employees: 9 local staff; 2,200 members of Minnesota AIA
Phone: (612) 338-6763
Web Site: www.homesbyarchitects.org

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