When it is time to remodel or expand your home in Dallas, the first question many homeowners face is whether to hire an architect. This decision is crucial, especially in a market like Dallas, where home values hover around the $1 million mark, and the houses often bear the charm and challenges of 50 to 80-year-old constructions. At Sardone | McLain, a design-build firm deeply rooted in the Dallas area since 2010, we frequently encounter this question. Our experience has shown that while architects can play a valuable role, they may not always be necessary for every project. Let’s explore the reason why the design-build approach may better serve many residential renovation projects.

Whole home remodel in Lake Highlands, Texas by Sardone | McLain with open concept interior

Understanding the Role of Architects in Home Remodeling

The benefits of working with architects in Dallas include their ability to provide unique, tailored designs, their knowledge of the latest trends in home aesthetics, and their experience in navigating local zoning laws and regulations. Homeowners looking to undertake significant structural changes or those who desire highly customized, architecturally driven spaces often find architects' services invaluable.

However, it's important to recognize the scope and limitations of architectural services in the context of home remodeling. Architects focus on the design and planning phase, often without an ongoing role in the actual construction process. This separation can sometimes lead to gaps in communication and execution, especially in complex projects.

Second-story home addition play area in Dallas, TX with hardwood flooring

Challenges of Working Exclusively with Architects

A frequent challenge in home remodeling projects involving architects is the continuity and clarity of communication throughout the project. For instance, a common scenario we've encountered at Sardone | McLain involves changes in the project plans that are not adequately communicated or documented. In one such project, an architect marked individual light switches for dimming in the initial plans. Later, upon the client's request, the architect added a note to make all switches dimmable but failed to update the detailed plans or notify the construction team. This oversight led to a discrepancy during construction and necessitated a costly and time-consuming change order.

Such instances highlight a critical aspect of home remodeling - effective communication. When architects, clients, and builders do not work in lockstep, misunderstandings and misalignments can arise. Homeowners often find themselves playing the role of mediator, trying to bridge the gap between design vision and construction reality. This can be particularly challenging for those not well-versed in construction or design terminology.

Built-in bookshelf in reading area in whole home remodel in Dallas TX

The Dallas Market and Architectural Services

Dallas homeowners often favor hiring architects and designers separately from contractors. This trend could be attributed to several factors. Firstly, Dallas residents tend to place a high emphasis on image and aesthetics. The desire for an Instagram-worthy kitchen or a visually stunning living space often drives the decision to hire a designer or architect. Secondly, the abundance of designers and architects offering seemingly affordable rates can be tempting. However, these lower rates often do not translate into comprehensive, buildable plans but rather into attractive yet impractical designs. Lastly, there’s a perception that designers focus more on aesthetic changes rather than functional improvements. In our experience at Sardone | McLain, we often find that redesigning an attractive space offering better utility – like altering layouts or creating a bespoke home addition– is where we can add the most value, an area where standalone designers may not excel. Wouldn't you rather have an Instragram-worthy kitchen that also supports your lifestyle and needs?

Consider that many of the best architects in Dallas, especially those not specialized in residential or small-scale projects, might find themselves out of their depth. These professionals are often trained for larger commercial projects and may not fully grasp the nuances of renovating older residential homes, a common scenario in our client base. When does it make sense to hire an architect? Projects with budgets north of $3 million often benefit from an architect's specialized skills and expertise.

Dallas, TX. first floor interior with chandelier above dining table and recessed lighting

The Design-Build Advantage

At Sardone | McLain, we advocate and employ a design-build approach. This method brings together the design and construction phases under one roof, facilitating seamless communication and integration from the project's conception to its completion. In this collaborative environment, the chances of miscommunication – like the aforementioned lighting switch issue – are significantly reduced.

Our design-build approach aligns with the need for efficiency, budget adherence, and bespoke designs in the Dallas market. When architects and contractors work separately, the project build rate hovers around 30-40%. However, when these professionals collaborate from the outset, with a shared understanding of the budget and client vision, the success rate jumps above 75%. 

Black painted walls in luxury home remodel with sliding doors opened in between built-in open shelving by Sardone | McLain

Design-build remodeling offers a completely tailored design experience. Our focus at Sardone | McLain isn’t just swapping old materials for new ones; it’s about reimagining and reengineering spaces to enhance functionality and lifestyle. Our design team excels daily in transforming layouts to better suit our clients' needs, a critical aspect often overlooked in architect-only or designer-only models.

We prioritize effective communication with our clients and across our in-house teams throughout the project lifecycle. This ensures that every aspect of the design and construction process aligns with the client's vision and the practical realities of their home.

Screened porch addition to existing home in Dallas, Texas by Sardone | McLain

Build Something Beautiful With Us

We believe that the true measure of a successful remodel both achieving a visually stunning outcome and creating spaces that enhance our clients' daily lives. In a diverse and dynamic market like Dallas, this client-centered approach is key to delivering projects that are not only beautiful but also practical and enduring.

Luxury white kitchen remodel in Dallas, TX. with LED lighting on baseboards

For those considering a remodel or addition in Dallas, we invite you to experience the Sardone | McLain difference. With our deep understanding of the local market, commitment to quality, and focus on bespoke designs, we are poised to bring your vision to life in a way that truly reflects your style and meets your unique needs.

Contact Sardone | McLain today for a consultation, and let’s create a space that’s uniquely yours.