Top 10 Reasons I Love Working with Architects

November 15, 2011 — 7 Comments

Today’s post is written by a good friend of mine – Jamie Goldberg, a NKBA-certified, independent kitchen and bath designer. I have long maintained on my site that working with design specialists has broadened my knowledge base and since Jamie is one of the most respected kitchen specialists in the industry, I value her opinion. She contacted me last week with the idea of writing about something from a perspective that I never could … working with an architect as a consultant and collaborator.


New York City Skyline view

This is the architecture I grew up with…

As an independent kitchen and bath designer, I work with homeowners, builders, interior designers, general contractors and architects.  In this case, last is definitely not least.  Architects are some of my favorite human beings.  (Well, most of them, anyway.)

My best friend of 20 years, Dean Larkin, AIA, is an architect – and an architectural archetype, at that.  My favorite design book author, Sarah Susanka of Not So Big House fame, is an architect I’ve enjoyed reading for longer than I’ve been a designer myself. Last, and also not least, the author of this ridiculously wonderful blog, Bob Borson, is an architect I have enjoyed getting to know this year.  In fact, his many clever, insightful lists inspired this guest post, which I shamelessly foisted on him this week as a much-needed break from the kitchen book I’m writing.

But I digress… Here are the top 10 reasons why I love working with architects:

1)      Architects are dreamers.  A suburban tract home is more than a suburban tract home to an architect.  It’s an opportunity to leave your intellectual mark on the genre Mr. Levitt popularized for the greatest generation.  This makes designing its kitchen and bathrooms that much more inspiring.

2)      Architects are big thinkers.  You see what a home could be in an ideal world and you work your fannies off to make the client’s humble shell of a house into a dream dwelling worthy of their grandest ideals.

3)      Architects have global vision.  Architects tend to have a world view, rather than just a local or national perspective.  You study legends and cultures from across the oceans and eras, which makes you impressively well-informed on a large body of information, not just your specialty.

4)      Architects are open-minded.  I’ve never heard an architect dismiss a new building material or idea with a lame “we’ve always done it this way” or “widget X works just fine, we’ll stick with what we know” rejection.

5)      Architects appreciate attention to detail.  While you create master plans for entire buildings, you also savor the small details that make a project special.  Kitchens and bathrooms are ideal repositories for those creative touches.

6)      Architects are funny.  Let’s face it, you need a solid sense of humor in the construction industry, especially these days.  Every architect I’ve ever met has had a dry wit that I find engaging.  This makes working together great fun.  And shouldn’t work be fun???

7)      Architects are idealists.  Yes, there are architects who only design for the super-rich, but most of you feel that everyone deserves great architecture.  Your idealism inspires your public projects and your volunteerism.  I respect that.  You’re macro.  I’m micro.  It works.

8)      Architects have style.  I like the architect’s un-uniform, but then I’m generally suspicious of anyone who appears to spend too much time, energy or money on their wardrobe.  You remind me of college professors who have been let out of the ivory tower for a couple of weekends a year.

9)      Architects aren’t trying to destroy my livelihood.  Unlike other industry colleagues, your professional association isn’t constantly pushing legislation that would restrict others’ scope of practice.

10)  Architects pay my mortgage.  While you may design kitchen and bath spaces, you typically partner with a specialist to bring in the cabinetry, countertops, fixtures and other elements that keep a roof over my head.



Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS is an NKBA-certified, independent kitchen and bath designer in San Diego, Cal.  Her Gold Notes blog updates every Tuesday and her first kitchen book will be published by Taunton Press in November 2012.  Jamie also writes on design for Fine Homebuilding, and the San Diego Union-Tribune. You can also follow her on Twitter right this very instant!




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  • gininitaly

    Unfortunately architects in America today are building colder and colder buildings, habitats, and housing tracts without a heart; a park, a plaza, a cafe, or little grocer, an ice cream shop.. where people meet each other and form a community.

    • Architects don’t decide whether or not to build a park, a cafe, a little grocer, an ice cream shop … those are developers

  • Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS

    Thanks,  y’all, for the great feedback!  This was truly a labor of love.  Guys like Dean and Bob make my job so much more fun.  Jasmine, glad you liked today’s FFT post.  Enoch, I think collaboration is wonderful.  Bob, thanks for giving me the space to share.  Mihiadam, I didn’t want them to get too full of themselves!

  • Mihiadam

    Great post.  She left out that they are also really, really, ridiculously good looking…

  • I like her!!  Her Gold Notes blog is now a favorite. I love that her blog from Nov. 15th is “FOOD FOR THOUGHT #4 – Why aren’t more powder rooms (and public restrooms) purse-friendly”. YES!!! Hello!  Ladies we have all been there. Not everybody has a 5yr old to sit outside the door and hold your purse ( I may or maynot make my 5yr. old do this, most likely i do), in the case she is not with me, it becomes a challenge.  Thanks for having her guest post!

  • @bobborson:twitter  Thanks! This is a great reminder about how and why collaboration can supercharge our work.@jtgoldberg Thanks Jamie for the inspiring post. I know I as an architect try to bring these attributes to a project and I infer from your post that you do too. A great reminder about how specialists can bring added value and that we don’t need to ‘do it all’.

    • Jamie did a nice job today in making us architects feel good about ourselves – at least the ones that match her description!