Perhaps you have already decided on a building project, but are far less clear on the differences between an architect, home builders and building designers to help get the job done.
To start, you should know that there are many differences, and you’re paying to get a certain skill set and expertise for your money. Knowing who you should seek to hire to best fit your needs can be confusing, but a little research can help distinguish the differences in cost, specialties and responsibilities of each.
An architect is a licensed professional with a college degree in the design of buildings or the building environment who is required to perform to a certain set of standards or risk losing their license. The education, experience and training of an architect is focused on the aesthetic design of buildings and the elements – space, structure, mechanical systems, sustainability – that make a structure work. An architect will ultimately be concerned with the architectural facets of the building as well as the space around it, and can manage the construction process. Most importantly, an architect works directly for you, does not answer to anyone else, and is bound by a code of ethics.
A building designer is not regulated and has no legally defined boundaries, education or training requirements with regard to designing a home or building. Many designers belong to organizations that require certification (such as Certified Professional Building Designer) and are limited, by law, to the size of building they can design. They should be able to facilitate the building process from design concept to final working drawings, assemble needed documents needed for approvals and construction, and can provide advice on local regulations. A building designer can be retained to oversee the construction process, and can have a similar expertise as an architect.
To put it simply, a home builder is commissioned by you to build a home, and will build the structure to meet the parameters you have set. Ultimately, builders and architects work hand-in-hand, but a builder can build a home without the services of an architect, while the opposite is not true. A builder is in charge of the actual construction of a structure and is concerned with codes and regulations surrounding the build, as well as ensuring the construction matches the blueprints. Builders have a number of concerns from different parties to manage and are responsible for coordinating engineers, architects and contractors to meet costs and schedule.
A Look at Tudor Architecture
Tudor homes are among the most recognizable style of architecture in the American residential landscape. With a number of specific and well-defined characteristics, Tudor homes were largely built during the first half of the 1900s and are still found in many well-established neighborhoods throughout different parts of the country.
Tudor homes in the United States, perhaps more accurately termed as Tudor Revival or Medieval Revival, are influenced by old world styles brought by European-trained architects toward the end of the nineteenth century. Built mainly from 1890 to 1940, this style of homes became enormously popular during the 1920s and 1930s for financially successful homeowners after the boom years of the stock market.
Tudor architecture – known for solid masonry with decorative stone and brick features – was expensive to build, difficult to replicate and prone to numerous maintenance issues due to the materials, and thus largely fell out of favor by World War II.
Tudor homes take on many interpretations of the style, but nearly all are asymmetrical structures with imposing roof lines. The common characteristics include steep roof lines, decorative half timbering, massive chimneys, groupings of tall and narrow multi-paned windows, and decorative entryways. Here’s a closer look at the key elements.
· Steep roof lines. A distinguishing feature is the steep, multi-gabled roof lines, frequently with a secondary side or cross gable, which sometimes reach down to ground level.
· Exterior materials. An easily definable feature is exteriors built exclusively from brick, stone, stucco or slate, often in decorative patterns (in brick) or with decorative stone trim.
· Half-timber framing. Completely decorative, half-timbering is exposed wood framework with the spaces between the timbers filled-in by masonry or stucco.
· Massive chimneys. Tudor homes almost always feature massive chimneys, constructed of brick or stone and capped with elaborate chimney pots.
· Decorative entryways. Often outlined with brick or stonework, entryways are a collection of asymmetrical architectural elements intended to be both decorative and practical, including recessed doors, arched openings and overhanging roofs.
· Window groupings. Tudor houses feature multi-pane casement windows in groups of three or four framed in either wood or metal. Typically symmetrical with the main gable and using small panes sometimes arranged in a diamond pattern.
Natural stone was one of the first building materials ever used. For many of the same reasons that made it an important building material over thousands of years, it still remains as one of the best today.
Stone is immensely popular, partly because it has countless applications as a building material. From commercial construction like buildings and bridges to backyard DIY projects like garden walls and pathways, stone has earned its place as a time-tested resource. Take in these seven benefits of natural stone building materials:
It ages beautifully. Arguably, stone looks better with age. Stone retains its natural beauty and has an extremely long lifespan. Some stone attains its full elegance with a little age, and stone can look as stunning after a hundred years as the day it was installed.
Low environmental impact. Stone has many “green” characteristics that few materials can match. No energy is needed to manufacture stone, only for quarrying and processing. Blasting and mining techniques have greatly improved. Stone contains no pollutants, releases no chemicals, and needs no substances to be used in construction.
The low-maintenance material. Stone needs very little maintenance or upkeep once it is used in building. There’s no need to paint or finish and it’s extremely easy to clean. Even decades-old stone can be polished and restored with minimal cost.
Durable and resistant. There’s little that bothers stone and it can last almost forever. It’s resistant to pests, doesn’t rot, and is fireproof. Many natural stone floors and countertops can last for decades and show no wear.
Benefits of quality and value. Stone materials are perceived to be of high quality and value, connecting with traits like sophistication, elegance and prominence. Projects built with stone are also thought to be genuine, unique and well-built, helping their value. When is the last time you saw a home without stone floors, countertops or walkways?
Natural for landscaping. Because stone is a natural material, it fits perfectly in outdoor surroundings. It brings an elegant yet organic feel and seamlessly blends with plants, wood and water in uses like pathways, benches, fountains, garden walls and pavers.
Varied and unique. Stone comes in a variety of natural colors, structures and textures, making it useful for just about any application. It can be resurfaced in many ways to give builders an unlimited number of choices to match style, ambiance or appearances. It can also be cut in just about any shape or size. Stone can step up to just about any building requirement.
The Manhattan Beach Pier
Popular with locals and tourists alike, the Manhattan Beach Pier is a great place to catch some of the best views in South Bay. Located in the heart of Manhattan Beach at the end of Manhattan Beach Boulevard, the pier is more quiet and peaceful than many of its more developed cousins in Southern California.
Whether you're out for some exercise, guiding a tour of out-of-town friends or just have some free time to kill, the pier can offer a quaint experience. It's a great place to watch the surfers, enjoy the waves, add a bit of distance to your run or bike ride or simply sit back and people watch while you relish the ocean breezes.
What really makes Manhattan Beach Pier special are the breathtaking views, particularly at sunset. Take in the wide beaches that stretch for miles in both directions, sand volleyball games, beautiful Manhattan Beach homes on the hill and the rising Santa Monica Mountains to the North. The pier is popular among photographers and is a great backdrop for any sunset photo, even if you're an amateur.
Manhattan Beach Pier is popular among both pier fishers and surfers. If you're not adventurous to get in the water yourself, chances are you will be able to watch the surfers navigate the waves. Fishing off the pier is popular and anglers will find common surf species, including mackerel, barracuda and white seabass in the deeper waters.
At the end of the 928-foot pier sits its only building, the Roundhouse Marine Lab and Aquarium, a gem of a spot to take the kids.
A big advantage for the pier is its proximity to downtown and many local shops and boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants, making it a great stroll after dinner.
For more on what you might do on your trip to the pier, check out the city website or Downtownmanhattanbeach.com and see what the Yelpers suggest.
Trends for modern tech-smart homes
The latest and greatest in technology isn’t limited to a gadget you can hold in your hand or the computer that operates your car. More and more, they can be embraced inside your home.
Home technology is a hot industry, and some of the latest trends and products can give you a smart-home that makes your living space technically savvy. Not only will these advances in home technology make your life easier, but they also represent top-selling features that can add value to your home.
Here’s a look at some examples of the latest in technology for your home:
Complete home integration. The day is nearly here when you can run every subsystem in your home from a mobile app. Nearly. But today you can experience the convenience of running all of the systems – lighting, audio, video, security, HVAC, cameras, etc. – from any touchscreen for complete control of nearly everything in your home, like this product from Goodhousekeeping.com.
Make your flatscreen (almost) invisible. Many homeowners want the latest in flatscreen television technology but don’t want to stare at the huge screens when they’re not watching. No problem. Check out this pop-up ceiling lift on HGTVremodels.com, a transparent TV (like this one designed by Michael Friebe ), or even a mirror that turns into a TV.
User-friendly ovens. You can have a kitchen like the Jetson’s with an oven that has a built-in Android tablet, allowing you to search online for restaurants, surf for recipes and control the oven from a mobile device. PCWorld.com offers a look at Dacor’s Discovery smart oven.
A magic mirror. How about a fully functioning mirror that has a built-in display connected to the Internet so that you can browse the web, watch videos, check the weather and more -- all while getting ready in the morning? Check out this version from Brit.co.
Monitor energy usage in real-time. New sustainable energy solutions can eliminate standby power completely, shut down appliances for brief periods, and study your daily habits in real-time that affect your homes’ energy consumption. Integrating this systems combines renewable energy and energy conservation.
Toilets of the future. Toilets continue to become more advanced, like the Numi Toilet that has a touchscreen interface, built-in speakers, motion detection and can connect via Bluetooth. Others, like this example from PopularMechanics.com that uses less than a gallon per flush, focus on conservation.
Home theater trends. Nearly everything is new when it comes to home theater trends, especially when it comes to the convergence of web-based mobile apps and streaming internet content. Internet-enabled devices bring everything on the Internet to your TV, and it can all be controlled from a mobile device. Wireless media systems are continually innovative and with products like Apple TV you can access podcasts, internet radio and music from cloud storage.