Tim Rhodes, RA., AIA
Tips for Communicating Your Architectural Style
Updated: Apr 14
At Rhodes Architecture, we value the relationship we have with our clients and one of our favorite aspects of the design process is getting to know you and your architectural preferences. To build on this relationship, it’s imperative to develop clear lines of communication.
A great place to start is by thinking about your taste and style and how you see it coming together in a finished project. To help start this process, we want to explore some of the key architecture considerations that emerge during the design process. This will also give you some places to look for design ideas and inspiration to help make your dream home come to fruition.
First, begin by telling your Architect exactly what it is you like. This helps your Architect know what you want represented in the design. By getting a feel for who you are, your design team can make suggestions and recommendations that you may have never considered on your own, but that are a true reflection of who you are as an individual.
Some of our clients have an extensive knowledge of architectural styles. Others aren’t quite as certain what they prefer. If the latter describes you, begin by doing some research. Read about architectural styles and how they differ from materials, finishes, and design type. If there’s a particular house that you admire, find out what type of architectural style was used in its design. You can also browse several architectural books and magazines. Bookmark images that you like and share this information to your design team so that they can use it as a frame of reference when working on your project. We focus on your interests and the images you respond positively to, not on the names of architectural styles.
One resource that we enjoy sharing with many of our clients is houzz.com. Focused on providing home design inspiration, the site features an array of ideas. You can even check out the discussion boards or the research section to learn more about the latest home design trends. Using sites like this one will provide a visual aid for your design team and give us a better understanding of what you desire in your home.
Of course, it’s not enough to simply collect and share the images that you’ve gathered. You also have to communicate your preferences. It’s important for your Architect to understand what it is about a particular style that you like. Similarly, if you’re not fond of a style or some of its design elements, convey to your Architect what it is that you dislike. It’s through this communication that we’re able to truly understand what you want your finished project to embody.
Style guides are a great place to learn more about architectural styles. They’ll provide you a foundational understanding of different styles, as well as some of the commonly associated details. For instance, certain types of roof overhangs, porches, areas of glass, and exposed framing may all relate to a particular architectural style. If it is important to you to relate specific style attributes we recommend reviewing A Field Guide to American Houses to familiarize yourself.
It’s also important to remember that there are many elements chosen in a thorough design process. While you may like the attributes of a particular architectural style, you can also consider and communicate other features like materials and finishes, light, space, and the connections between spaces.
Prior to selecting a specific style, explain what you like about it to your Architect. This will help us to understand whether it’s the actual style you prefer or maybe it’s the materials and aesthetics instead. For instance, explain whether there are shapes, finishes, windows/doors, roof forms, colors, and textures that you love or don’t love. This will help us create a truly unique design that will match what you envision.
Reviewing and discussing your personal desires in your home is a great forum in which to identify those aspects that are important to you and those aspects that may create dialogue, even disagreement, with your spouse, partner, and family. Creating and facilitating dialogue around the design elements and spaces of your home is what Rhodes Architecture + Light excels at. Space, and the materials, textures, and colors of your house, are personal and often important yet very subjective. Your family and its comfort in your house are our Architect’s focus.
In addition to your own personal taste, you’ll also want to understand the context surrounding your home. For example, how will the architectural style you prefer meld into its surrounding environment? Does it complement existing houses or natural surroundings? If not, is there a way in which we can we introduce elements that will make your home fit more naturally within your neighborhood or its environmental context.
While your house should be a representation of you and your style, you’ll want it to build on, not detract from, the community in which you reside. Consistency of the surrounding environment is an important factor to consider in your home’s design. At Rhodes Architecture + Light, we’ll discuss this with you and find the best solutions to execute your vision while providing continuity and consistency in your environmental surroundings.
There is much to consider when designing a home; we work to ensure that no detail is overlooked. We pride ourselves on developing a close relationship with our clients. By taking such a deep interest, we can ensure the final project fulfills your desires, as well as your needs.
So, how exactly do we accomplish this? For starters, we’ll begin with a client survey to help us identify your needs and expectations. From there, we’ll discuss key architecture questions so that we know the exact size and scope of the renovation or residence you desire.
Throughout the design process, we’ll continue to be available to answer questions and make sure everything is unfolding according to plan. You home should be an expression of you. Working collaboratively, we’ll make sure the result is a reflection of your personal taste and style. Our goal is to take your dreams and build upon them so that we can develop a beautiful home together.