Residential Design

VOL3 2019

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Page 39 of 95

home. Third, finding this result unsatisfactory, and believ- ing it was the plans that were the issue, engage a drafting service to draft what they want for the builder to follow. Fourth, frustrated once again but determined to "get it right," throw in the towel, bite the expense bullet, and final- ly hire an architect. The time, frustration, and the expense of acquisition costs for each version seem like such a waste—that is, unless you are in either real estate or mortgage lending. Imagine the market for custom residential services if homeowners realized earlier in the process they could redirect that time and those funds toward creating their forever home. Developing Content Drawing on 30 years of client interviews, a few basic ques- tions provided a wealth of information and direction. "What led you to hire an architect?"; "Why did you want to leave your current home?"; "What were your biggest worries about the process?"; "What were you hoping to achieve?" Organizing the answers into the relevant issues of physical restraints, process education, and addressing homeowner fears quickly formed an outline where I could present, in digestible fragments, a version of navigating the process that would be relevant for all stages of the homeowner's evolution. I had arrived at my message. The Zero-Sum Game I believe that for our profession to be a success, we need to turn up the volume and share what we do, who we are, and how the results of our efforts benefit the built environment. The AIA Custom Residential Architects Network began and continues to grow based on this very premise. I also had no interest in perpetuating the zero-sum game notion that I somehow lose and my competition wins by learning my "secrets." I'm on the other side of middle age now. I can attest that there are very few, if any, secrets. What we do as architects is difficult, but saying what we do is easy. Yet, actually making it a point to get the word out takes real work. Gatekeepers But who was I to be writing a book such as "The Forever Home"? I was not a "starchitect," nor has anyone anoint- ed me as spokesperson for the profession. There are others equally qualified, those with more financial success or larger practices. But here's the secret: The only gatekeeper was star- ing back at me in the mirror. Each of us is a knowledge gatekeeper. And I had a message based on over three decades of practice. I decided to publish. Traditional Publishing Options Traditional publishing likely originated with stone tablets and chisels. The message gatekeepers were the educated and their rulers. The invention of pen and paper introduced writ- ten message mobility. Message gatekeepers included lords, landed gentry, and monks. Gutenberg's movable type reduced the number of gatekeepers to anyone with access to a printing press. Publishing houses emerged to manage this business of publishing and became the gatekeepers of the message as controllers of its distribution. So, while self-publishing has always been an option, ready access to distribution was a challenge. With the rise of the internet, anyone can play the role of message gatekeeper, post their own blog, and wait for readers to follow. Hybrid Publishing Options Today there are publishing houses that are a hybrid, bridging the benefits between self-publishing and searching for a pub- lishing house to accept your manuscript. A publishing house has the inside connections for economical printing along with direct access to distribution networks. Hybrid publishers share their benefits for a negotiated percentage on costs and royalties. I chose this option, as a cost-benefit analysis re- vealed that this was not only viable, but the preferable, option. Publishing Cost vs. Client Value I understand that many balk at the cost of publishing. I mean, look at the cost. My response, however, is to look at the Left to right: Meticulously researched and executed proportions and details lend richness and depth to the firm's work. 40 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM VOL. 3, 2019 AIA CRAN

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