Studio Z Architecture

How Are Your Needs Changing?

Our clients typically call us because their home isn’t serving their needs and they are ready for a change. As architects and interior designers, we live for this challenge! We’ll work together with you to create a living environment that reflects where you are in your life’s journey and provides flexibility for the future.

A Growing Family

While starting a family may be an amazing time in your life, it surely comes with its own set of challenges. Welcoming a new addition into your home can leave you feeling cramped. There are times the walls may feel like they're literally moving in on you. You know something has to change, but you love where you live. Whether it's an addition or a re-design of your home's layout, Studio Z works with its clients to make their homes functional and comfortable as their family dynamic changes.

I Don't Want to leave...

You live in your home as well your community. Have you outgrown your home, but dread leaving your neighborhood and the friends you've cherished over the years? Perhaps you can have the best of both by changing the functionality of your home without having to move from the area you love.

Aging in Place

Thanks to advances in technology and the growth of in-home personal care providers, many seniors desire the comforts of their homes rather than transitioning to assisted living communities. So much can be done to adapt a home to the needs of seniors. What at one time may have been a bustling family home, can now become a gathering place for grown children and grandchildren during the holidays. Your home can continue to be the setting for future family memories!

Make it my Own

Whether living alone is a new journey for you or not, you have unique needs that are specific to a running a one-person household. Maybe you are downsizing and would like to upgrade a smaller home, or you need to make changes to your existing home to make it feel more like you. We specialize in listening to your needs and delivering customized solutions that will make you feel right at home.

Understand Your Budget

Before we meet in person, we’ll discuss the probable costs for your proposed renovation, including construction costs and architectural fees, so that you can evaluate your options and determine whether the project is within your budget or not. The total architectural fee for a remodeling project is typically in the range of 8 – 14% of the cost of construction, plus expenses, although smaller projects can cost more as a percentage of the cost of construction. It’s a challenge to easily explain how much it costs to remodel your home, but we almost always have to (gently) tell people that construction costs are higher than they think. In 2019, a simple sunroom addition might cost about $80,000, while a large addition with interior remodeling might be closer to $350,000. A whole house remodeling project could cost upwards of $600,000.

To help you have a more realistic picture of what your budget should be, we recommend that you look at Remodeling Magazine's Cost Vs. Value Report, which takes 35 of the most popular remodeling projects, gives you their average cost in the Detroit Metro region, and also lists what you can expect for a return on your investment.

When budgeting for the cost of a custom home, architects and builders typically refer to the “cost per square foot.” In 2019, you can buy a new home from a developer for $160 to $170 per square foot because these developers build a large number of homes at the same time, using similar plans and materials purchased in bulk. When you design and build a truly custom home, it can cost upwards of $250 per square foot because it’s a one-of-a-kind expression of your personality and your requirements. The total architectural fee for a custom home project is typically in the range of 8 – 14% of the cost of construction, plus expenses. The value of hiring an architect to guide this process is that help you understand the multitude of design choices; specifically those which have the most impact, as opposed to those which can add cost and not value.

The Process

House Call
Studio Z will meet with you in your home to discuss your needs, wants, and dreams for your project.
This gives you an architect's or interior designer's expertise at a reasonable price, and can be a standalone service or can lead to more work with Studio Z.
Based on the initial meeting, Studio Z will prepare a contract proposal for your review. The proposal will outline what you want to do, along with how much it will cost for us to do that work and specifically what we will do.
Documentation of Existing Conditions
(Remodeling projects only)
Before any design can begin, Studio Z will measure your home, takes lots of photos, and enter the existing plans and elevations into our computer software.
Schematic Design
Based on the scope of work in our contract, Studio Z will prepare rough designs, which we'll review with you. We'll revise those designs based on your feedback and will review the pros and cons of the changes with you. We'll repeat this process until you're satisfied.
Design Development
Studio Z will continue working on the design, including developing structural systems, overall kitchen layouts, electrical plans, and other details. During this phase, you'll select finish materials and fixtures, with Studio Z's assistance if desired.
Construction Documents
Studio Z will finalize the drawings and specifications to form a set of construction documents that will be needed to obtain a building permit and will be used as a basis for constructing the project.
Construction Observation and Administration
Once construction begins, Studio Z will make site visits at appropriate points to check that construction is progressing as expected and to answer any questions that you or the contractor have about the design or construction details.
Additional Services
Studio Z offers the following services as needed or as additional services:
- Bidding and contract negotiation (as needed)
- 3D renderings
- Interior design services
- Purchase of finish materials and fixtures

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you charge for an initial consultation?
As an architecture firm, the main assets we have to sell are our time and expertise. In the past, we offered free consultations and that eventually became disruptive to our workflow. We found that we were sometimes spending more hours providing free consultations than we were working on projects for existing clients. By charging a consultation fee, both parties ensure that our first meeting will be professional and productive.

Our in-home initial consultation typically takes about 2 hours, and we prepare for this meeting by researching your property’s zoning and looking into any other issues that may arise during the process. If you decide to hire us, we will credit the initial consultation fee towards our total fee for services. If you do not decide to hire us, we feel that the information we provide during the initial consultation about the design and construction process, the costs, the feasibility, zoning issues, and any concerns we have about your specific project will be of value to you, no matter how you decide to proceed.

If you’d prefer a short consultation in our office, we offer that option for a lower fee.

How long will it take to design my addition/remodeling project/custom home?
It can take several months to take a project from your initial ideas to construction documents. For a remodeling project or addition, we will need to think carefully about your needs, wants, and dreams and how they can be accomplished within your existing home’s footprint or in the available space around your house. We will also need to spend some time analyzing the effects of any proposed changes to your home on the existing structure itself, as well as the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Finally, we’ll need to combine the design and the results of our analyses into a set of documents that can be used to obtain building permits and as the basis for construction. Our process is similar for a custom home design.

While we are doing our work, you’ll need to make literally thousands of decisions, ranging from which of our design options you feel will work best for your family to what tile you’d like for your shower walls. We try to make these decisions clear and easy for our clients, but our schedule will depend on this flow of information.

How do we get started?
Give us a call! We will want to understand your project goals, timeframe, and budget. Based on that information, we can give you a sense of the best way to get started.
Does Studio Z do construction as well?
Studio Z does not provide construction services. However, we are happy to provide you with names and contact information for contractors who have worked successfully with our clients in the past. We will work very closely with your chosen contractor throughout the entire process and do our best to make the construction process as smooth as possible for our clients.
Can Studio Z help us figure out how to phase a project over time?
We often work with clients who, for various reasons, choose to build their project in phases. The best way to start thinking about a phased project is to imagine how you’d like your home to be in 5 or 10 years. If you have children, how old will they be? Will you entertain frequently? Do you plan to work from home? We’ll take these ideas and come up with a master plan, which will be a set of floor plans showing your future home. Once the master plan is designed, we can work with you to determine the best sequence for constructing the various phases based on your needs and budget, and on typical construction best practices.
What interior design services does Studio Z offer?
Interior design services include fixture and finish selections including lighting, plumbing fixtures, flooring, wall covering, cabinetry, appliances, etc. Our designers can be as involved as you would like. Some clients prefer that we accompany them on shopping trips and others would like an opinion on something they’ve already chosen. The extent of our involvement is completely up to you!

What to Expect During Your Design Consultation

Receive a copy of Studio Z’s “What to Expect During Your Design Consultation” document. Simply provide your name and email and this helpful document will be available for download!

We’ll start with the two most important facts about our relationship with Studio Z. First, we’ve used them twice. Second, we recommended them to one of our best friends.”

Ann Arbor, MI