Keri Murray Architecture - Awarded Best Of Houzz 2019!

January 24, 2019 – Keri Murray Architecture of Sharon, MA has won “Best Of Customer Service on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 2.1 million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including a pro's overall rating on Houzz and client reviews submitted in 2018. A “Best Of Houzz 2019” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

"Best of Houzz is a true badge of honor as it is awarded by our community of homeowners, those who are hiring design, remodeling and other home improvement professionals for their projects,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “We are excited to celebrate the 2019 winners chosen by our community as their favorites for home design and customer experience, and to highlight those winners on the Houzz website and app."

About Keri Murray Architecture - KMA is a practice that specializes in Architecture & Interior Design services for small and large scale residential projects. Delivering thoughtful and timeless design solutions that are responsive to the needs of today's lifestyles. Keri Murray's design philosophy revolves around creative and cost sensitive design solutions, while rigorously providing a unique and cohesive design vision. Keri is committed to transforming the client’s desires into reality, and brings high levels of design sensitivity, technical expertise, and management experience to every project regardless of scale. Keri enjoys working with clients to problem solve and finds the adventure of taking a client from design through construction very exciting.

About Houzz - Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

Deciding on an Architect

You have been thinking about a new build, addition, or renovation project for a long time and you have finally decided to hire an Architect. This major decision can bring about a variety of emotions. The first emotion might be that of relief; you finally decided the timing is right to proceed through the process of reaching out to Architects. The next feeling you are experiencing is that of excitement, you have met with a few local professionals and started to share your needs and desires. Another emotion that may soon follow is that of fear. Fear is a reasonable response during this process. You are going to spend a lot of money with people you hopefully can trust, trust to meet your expectations and deliver a project you are happy with. So there's the initial fear of choosing an Architect you can trust. The solution is to select an Architect that will meet this fear with assurance. You want to feel assured and confident that the job will be well done and the experience will be positive, and if things go awry, you have confidence that the Architect will be able to work things out. It is also important to trust that the Architect will work well with the many other professionals that will come on board throughout the process, such as the Contractor, various sub-contractors, Kitchen Vendor, Building Inspector, etc. While pretty pictures of past projects are great to discuss, during the interview process, focus on understanding how the Architect will guide you through the design process, manage the project, address budget issues, and address challenges that come up along the way - in both the design and construction phases. Gain an understanding of the design techniques that will be used throughout the process and how a timeline for deliverables is set. Also, what is expected of you, the Client, throughout the process? While your project is unique, the design process itself is defined and consistent with proven successful outcomes. Deciding on an Architect should be an exciting process, and the best Architect for your project is someone you connect with and who provides a clear explanation of the process and offers assurance that the job will be well done.

Keri Murray Architecture - Awarded Best Of Houzz 2018!

January 17, 2018 – Keri Murray Architecture of Sharon, MA has won “Best Of Customer Service on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2017. A “Best Of Houzz 2018” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

"The Houzz community selected a phenomenal group of Best of Houzz 2018 award winners, so this year's recipients should be very proud,” said Liza Hausman, Vice President of Industry Marketing at Houzz. “Best of Houzz winners represent some of the most talented and customer-focused professionals in our industry, and we are extremely pleased to give them both this recognition and a platform on which to showcase their expertise."

About Keri Murray Architecture - KMA is a practice that specializes in Architecture & Interior Design services for small and large scale residential projects. Delivering thoughtful and timeless design solutions that are responsive to the needs of today's lifestyles. Keri Murray's design philosophy revolves around creative and cost sensitive design solutions, while rigorously providing a unique and cohesive design vision. Keri is committed to transforming the client’s desires into reality, and brings high levels of design sensitivity, technical expertise, and management experience to every project regardless of scale. Keri enjoys working with clients to problem solve and finds the adventure of taking a client from design through construction very exciting.

About Houzz - Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

Cost of Construction

As someone that directs and designs building projects, clients often assume that I will be able to provide them an accurate and up front price to have their project built. However, it's not always easy to estimate - project price is affected by any number of factors and the combined matrix of these factors determine the ultimate cost, the primary being that I ultimately don't build the project, contractors do! In general, there are a few givens that will always affect the price of a project:

  • Location - different geographies, building codes, and economies affect costs

  • Size and complexity - will a contractor need multiple subs? is the scale and shape of the design complex? will new construction marry up to old construction?

  • Quality - is time important? materials? etc.

Architects may have an idea of a range of Construction Cost, but no rule of thumb can determine actually cost.  There is however one certainty about construction costs: owner(s) don't accurately anticipate the true cost of construction and are often surprised that their project is going to cost what the number(s) come in at.  Owners planning on building a custom house, building an addition, or renovating their existing home in New England should expect estimates to be an average of $250+ SF; and it can be upwards of $350 SF depending on location, topography, desired features, materials, size, etc.

In my previous blog:  A Fee Based Expertise, I wrote about the way in which an Architect structures their compensation. This blog elaborates on how that relates to the Cost of Construction.  An Architect may base their fee on the Range of Construction Cost based on their better knowledge of construction costs.  For the Architect to have an understanding of what their fees should be, they may conduct their own guesstimate of what they believe the cost of construction will be based on standard Basic Services, past projects, and the knowledge of specific project needs.

On Residential projects in New England, it is common for Architectural fees to run between 8 and 15 percent of the cost of construction. The range in percentage has to do with the specifics of the project and the quality and level of services offered.  A smaller percentage reflects the minimum requirements to obtain a building permit while the larger percentage reflects full architectural services and a robust drawing set required to build the ideal project with fewer surprise costs during construction.  

The best approach for a homeowner is to first know how much they can spend, and then discuss their budget with the Architect. This will sever as the limiting factor for size, materials, customization, etc.  When preparing for a realistic cost of construction, owners should understand that architectural services are an important and vital component of the total design project budget and just like how construction cost are determined by a matrix of factors so too are architectural fees.