Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. I always advise potential clients to interview several architects because a connection about how they are and what they need is so vital to this type of relationship. Finding a good match personally and stylistically is critical to success.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. I'm often asked what the difference is between someone, often a design-build company or contractor offering "architectural design" and an Architect offering design services. It's all in the degree of education, training, experience, licensing and regulation by each state.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. The first thing to have is a dream of what you wish you had! This can be delivered in the form of photos, a list of room needs, a description of what doesn't work, a narrative of how you'd like each day to play out - often it's a combination of all of these.
A copy of the house location plans will guide us to keep within the Zoning Ordinance boundaries for size, height and location on the property. Any Home Owners Association regulations relating to the exterior of the house are also necessary to know in advance.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. We are good listeners and create designs that are unique to the individual client. With almost 20 years in residential design, Craver Architects offers a wealth of experience to our clients to help them meet their particular needs with customized, creative solutions.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. We like helping people live happily in their home, whether it's a busy family that needs efficiency, a physically challenged person who needs more accessability, or an older couple downsizing. Making a difference in someone's daily life is our greatest satisfaction.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. The most common question is "How much do we charge?"
Our fees vary based on the size, scope and complexity of each project. We use a combination of Lump Sum fees and Time Basis rates to relate to each specific service. In certain instances where we don't know what the final design is at the onset, we will estimate a cost range for that piece to help our clients budget.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. My favorite story is from a client who contacted me about renovating their vacation home a few years after we had revamped their main home in Alexandria. They were looking for a similar blend and flexible arrangement of private spaces and gathering spaces for the beach house. At the end of the conversation, they talked about the design work we had done for them and said, "The design was good for the house but it was really good for our marriage."
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. The realization that architecture is what captivates me occurred at 16, as an exchange student, who opted for soaking up the buildings of Rome, Italy while all my other friends were off to the art and sculpture galleries.
After obtaining my Bachelor of Architecture degree, I worked for several companies on project types ranging from maximum security prisons, adult day care centers, a Formula One racetrack complex and Americans with Disability (ADA) facility compliance surveys for the United States Postal Service. However, the most fulfilling projects for me were always the residential designs that impacted people in really meaningful ways. I've chosen to focus my practice on those types of clients.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. Yes, as a licensed and registered architect, I am required to complete continuing education credits for both the Commonwealth of Virginia and The District of Columbia (where I currently hold licenses), and to maintain my membership in the American Institute of Architects.
Smart growth, Green Design and Construction and Susatinable Design have been my most recent areaas of study.