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Nearby Reviews of Local Architects
AHMANN LLC Architectural Services
They are wonderful to work with. They always do a wonderful job of communication, when we were dealing with the non conforming site I never felt out of the loop and the papers were filed with the correct officials. They are detailed and very clear as to what you can expect from working with them. I was very pleased with the communication and followup through out both projects we used them for.
- Brian O.
Lofft Construction Inc
Very well. They stayed on their schedule, and performed the work very well. They offered appropriate cost-savings alternatives, and were very responsive to day-to-day concerns. They also had several cost effective vendors to choose from for finishes, fixtures, stone, tile, cabinets. I had seen Lofft's work before, and saw that they had won several Contractor of the Year Awards -- I told them I wanted one for their work on my house. Lo and behold, they won a 2016 COTY Merit Award for the work on my kitchen (photo included), from the local chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
- Stephen C.
Graves Design & Remodeling Inc
Outstanding! Our experience with Graves Design was just that. When we decided to finally renovate our home, we searched Angie’s List and were so impressed by the reviews for Graves and are now happy to add our own. We live in a 1963 split level rambler, with the classic main floor living room, dining room, closed-in kitchen design. We asked Graves to remove the interior walls to make an open concept living area, renovate the kitchen entirely, and push out to the front half of the carport to add a laundry/pantry/mudroom space, We decided to add a powder room to that space while the work was ongoing. We also renovated our small master bathroom. We interviewed two companies for the work, Graves and a large local company. When we met Roland in our home we were immediately impressed by his careful manner; he listened closely to us then spent time to make measurements and get an idea what might be required. When we met again to go over Roland’s proposed plans, we were impressed by the level of detail listed in the scope of the work, which covered every contingency. We were also very happy with his ideas to transform our home. The price for all of the work was very fair. Let me say briefly that our experience, beginning to end, with the large local company was not so positive. The team Doug Graves brought in to do the renovation was wonderful. Mario, Cuco, Link and Roosevelt were perfectionists in large and small ways. Their handiwork is beautiful and every day they left our home swept and as clean as could be expected in the midst of a renovation. The whole job took 8 weeks, exactly a promised, despite two things: the powder room that we added at the last minute and the discovery that our carport pad was not to code. They had to dig out the foundation of the carport to reinforce it, as well as lift the carport cover, which was listing over 2 inches. Both of those events also increased the price from the original quote but, again, the price was more than fair, especially given the amount of work that had to be done to bring the carport to code. As others have noted, Doug Graves was “hands on” the whole time, ensuring the highest quality work. I have to give a special thank you to Caroline, who managed the job with great efficiency and good humor. She had wonderful design ideas, which were a huge help in guiding us through product selection, and skillfully handled day-to-day questions and concerns. She was a complete pleasure to work with. We highly recommend Graves Design without reservation.
- Stephen C.
Manion & Associates Architects
Tom and Melissa worked closely with us to capture our needs and desires regarding this dwelling for my then-92 year old father who was relocating here from the mid-west. They guided us in our expectations regarding costs, helped us navigate some very specific neighborhood requirements and expectations, worked with us to secure quality contractors who kept the price point within budget, and oversaw the entire construction process, from architectural conceptualization to conservation tree trimming to final local government inspections. Both Tom and Melissa were very easy to work with. We had specific goals in mind regarding this dwelling, and Tom helped us see beyond the moment and into probable future needs. Glad he did: through his guidance, the house continues to meet the expanding needs of my now-95 year old dad.
- Sally R.
Foster-Herz Construction & Consulting
I would give Foster-Herz did a 10 out of 10 on our project. The attention to detail, professionalism, accuracy, dependability was above and beyond. The estimates we were given were done in specious detail and were very accurate. In fact, many of the estimates came in below projection. The superintendent on our job is experienced, incredibly knowledgeable and one classy individual. He has worked for the company for many years and has extensive general knowledge of literally every aspect of the job. His standards are high and he wasn't afraid to redo something that wasn't to his liking. The subs have also worked with Foster-Herz for many years. They were timely, dependable and delivered incredible quality. Our project will be photgraphed by a local publication and will be resort quality upon it's completion. I would highly recommend Foster-Herz to anyone doing any sort of building project, big or small. You won't be dissappointed.
- Wendy S.
Graves Design & Remodeling Inc
Graves Design & Remodeling just completed a major renovation of our master bathroom/sitting room and a total update to our kids’ bathroom and we are thrilled with the result! We absolutely recommend them if you are considering any size of remodel to your home!! We got three bids from highly recommended local contractors and Graves came in with a terrific design at a reasonable price. We decided to go with them because we felt as if they were as invested in our project as we were! This was our first construction project ever and we did not really know anything about what would be involved. Chris, Caroline, & Doug helped us from beginning to end with all the choices, big and small, we needed to make. They have a wonderful line of reasonably priced, high-quality products and have made strong connections within the community so when we went to stores to look at products, we felt welcomed as soon as we mentioned their names. The crew who worked on our project were consummate professionals! They were respectful of our living spaces while working and each day they cleaned up after themselves so we never felt as if we were living in a construction zone. Each day they laid down a drop cloth and each day they swept, wiped, and otherwise cleaned up. They were friendly and answered our questions. They seemed to really enjoy their job and the craftsmanship shows. There were problems with our home that no one could have known about (maybe the original builder of 40 years ago?), that needed to be fixed. While that was above the cost of the project, their prices to fix the issues were very competitive and we knew the work would be done right! We came in about at our budget for the original project, only going over because of poor original construction and additions we wanted as we moved forward. Most importantly, our remodel was completed within the window of time they said! Each inspection and our final walk through were a breeze because of the high quality of work. Nothing needed to be changed to pass inspection, which made our projects move quickly forward. We highly recommend Graves Design and Remodeling. They had great design options, they came in at about cost for the original design we approved, their construction crew are top-notch professionals, they kept our living quarters clean while they were working, they completed the work within the time they said they would, and most of all because we felt as if they were as invested in our project as we were!
- Catherine W.
Thomas Custom Builders Inc
Overall this was a bureaucratic, slow, and overpriced process. Entered into a design agreement for the remodeling of a kitchen, deck, and two bathrooms. They required a signed design agreement and $4000 for them to perform preliminary design. Based on Angies List reviews and other sources, they appeared to have a good performance. Here is the timeline of events, referenced to when the signed agreement occurred: 3 weeks for measurement meeting with promised line drawing within two weeks; at 7 weeks provided an apology for not having drawings complete and promising completion within two weeks; at 11 weeks provided complete line drawings; at 12 weeks provided preliminary estimate with estimated cost. This timeline included multiple attempts by myself to ask for status, push different team members to coordinate with each other, and an overall perception that I was having to manage their team for them. The purpose of this builder was for them to manage all these efforts as I was paying them for that service. I attributed these issues to a very bureaucratic process they have set up and dysfunctional coordination among their team and subcontractors; even before the construction work started. They appear to overall have a very defensive posture throughout the process through their required legal agreements and generic corporate-like responses that were not fulfilled. They appear to be resting on their laurels of possible past accomplishments and are trying to deal with the symptoms of their current problems through defensive actions. In comparison, I went with another local provider that was able to get to a preliminary design within three weeks, did the work with no design fee, and their estimate came in $50K less. This comparison shows a lack of desire from TCB to serve their customers and inefficient processes. As a final example of these issues, when I informed them that I was going to go with another option, which was before we had finalized the preliminary design and did their "trade walk-through", I asked if any of the $4000 design fee would be returned. They said they would provide $1000 back as a "good faith payment" but required my signature on a long, legal Non-Disparagement Agreement. This document would effectively squash any reporting of their problems and provide a silence payoff of $1000. This is very shady in my opinion and likely led me into the trap that I faced when doing my due diligence online reviews of their work. I decided to forego the $1000 and instead provide a warning to any people considering using TCB. I do not want them to fall into the same trap and perpetuate hiding their failures.
- Paul D.
Michael Nash Design Build & Homes
Impressive! That's the final thought I have for our extensive remodel. It was a lot of work on our part only because my wife and I are both very detail conscious...to the point of being anal retentive I suppose. BUT...Michael Nash employees were always courteous and patient with us. Of all their customers we were probably the 'problem child.' The customer that asks a million questions, takes forever to make a decision or pick a style, and wants things done just so. We made them work to earn every penny and when it was all said and done, we have a fabulous modernized home for what we consider a great price! We had actually designed a complete kitchen with Cabinet Disounters before discovering Michael Nash and getting a better price quote from them so we immediately switched. Without even seeing our design, Sonny, (the President) came up with a near exact replica with a lot more bang for the buck. It was at that point that we decided to go with Michael Nash for our entire remodel. We worked closely with the designer to come up with a custom plan for our kitchen and master bath that suited our desires for functionality and style. We literally tried a dozen different configurations for the Master BDR/Master Bath and nothing really worked...until another designer made a simple helpful suggestion and that worked great. Because of the extensive nature of our remodel the selections process (picking out all the details) from type of cabinets, countertops, tile and toilets took several long meetings. The good thing is, there were plenty of options to choose from...the bad thing was, it took us a long time because there were plenty of options to choos from. The employee that worked with us was extremely patient...and helpful in making suggestions we ultimately went with. We couldn't find a style of cabinet hardware (knobs and pulls) in the showroom we liked, so Michael Nash gave us a budget price to go searching online, where we did find something we liked for just the right amount. Picking our granite was a bit of a speed bump. We were told to go to a local warehouse and pick out any slab we want. Well, what the employee meant was pick out any slab of granite of those styles displayed in the Michael Nash showroom. We had previously picked out a style from the showroom, but weren't that excited about it, so at the warehouse we chose a different pattern we really liked. Turns out it was quite a bit more expensive. We explained the situation to the service manager and - bottom line - Michael Nash owned up to the miscommunication and didn't make us pay an up charge. The actual work on the house started off slowly, but ended in a flurry with several crews working on multiple rooms all at once. The last weeks there were a lot of details for us to manage, but that was our choice to be very 'hands on' in the process. Nonetheless, the crews were always patient with us, even when we asked them to redo sections of the tile in the Master Bath shower three times. Along the way the work crews did plenty of little things that made a big difference to us. - they were always courteous and respectful - they took measures to protect the rest of the house from dust or damage - they continuously asked for our input on the jobsite, even if it meant reworking or reconfiguring something that was already completed - they installed a customer purchased ceiling fan in the Master BDR even though it wasn't in the scope of the contract - they hauled off some extra trash from an unrelated project I was working on when asked - one employee helped me shovel two feet of snow our of our driveway while my pregnant wife waited to park the car The customer service staff was always checking up on the progress, status and quality of the work being performed in order to ensure our complete satisfaction. Overall, Michael Nash proved to be a reliable, conscientious, accommodating, flexible, and professional company, that truly honored the time old saying that the customer is always right.
- Glenn F.
Ballard & Mensua Architecture
We just finished a spectacular custom home project in McLean, VA and we are so very grateful to Seth Ballard and his team! If you are considering hiring his firm, look no further. There can be no better architect in the DC/VA/MD area – and his pricing is more than fair. We first picked Seth because we loved his architectural style and heard that he had a reputation for ensuring that his plans are executed with impeccable precision and attention to quality. Also, his references were stellar….without exception, his former clients offered glowing praise for his talent, diligence, and follow-through. And now that we are former clients, we understand why. We always knew we were going to have a gem of a home with Seth at the helm. What we did not fully appreciate at the beginning was his proven ability to help us STAY ON BUDGET and his deep bench of connections with first-rate contractors and subcontractors who were prepared to bend over backward to meet Seth’s exacting standards. Here are just a few highlights from our experience: CONCEPT PHASE: During the initial meetings at our home, Seth went the extra mile to learn all about our lifestyle, future needs, architectural likes/dislikes, and budget. During this stage of the process, he would effortlessly make freehand drawings to help us visualize potential styles and layouts. We ultimately elected to go with a craftsman design, with lots of wood features inside and out. PICKING THE RIGHT PROPERTY: Seth joined us for car rides through the local neighborhoods, helping us to scout out the property that was best suited for our construction plans – free of any potential HOA or permitting snafus. DESIGN: With Seth’s guidance, we iterated on different design options. The design phase was high-tech and highly visual. Lots of 2D and 3D elevations, plus 360-degree videos. At each step, Seth clearly identified the estimated construction cost, and we would make decisions about what to dial-up and what to dial-down. For example, we elected to go with a cheaper asphalt roof (rather than slate), but with a more premium window. There were literally dozens of choices like that, and Seth did a superb job of helping us to make the right trade-offs and to “value engineer” the house. PICKING THE RIGHT CONTRACTOR AND SUBS: One of the things that distinguishes Seth from the competition is that he works closely with a handful of contractors and subcontractors who have already been “pre-screened” for excellence. Seth connected us with a general contractor who was not only honest and diligent, but whose carpentry was truly “artisan grade.” Seth also drew upon a stable of outstanding subcontractors – in areas such as HVAC/plumbing, electrical/lighting, structural engineering, cabinetry, tile, drywall/paint, countertops, hardwood flooring, landscaping, etc. It was perfectly clear that these subs were striving to deliver the highest quality and exemplary service. Why? Because Seth was an important source of repeat business for them. This made them extremely responsive. BUDGETING: Seth developed detailed spreadsheets estimating costs for every aspect of the project, as well as options for “enhancements.” Once we made our choices, he was instrumental in securing a FLAT FEE CONTRACT with the builder (inclusive of subs) for everything we wanted. To provide even more control over the cost, the agreement specified that certain items would be “owner provided, contractor installed.” This meant that, regardless of whether we bought pricey appliances or tile or flooring, it would have no impact of the builder’s fees. To his credit, Seth’s estimates were quite accurate, and the project stayed on budget. ARCHITECT FEES: We negotiated a flat fee for Seth’s architectural services, and got way more than we bargained for. We had no idea Seth would stay so engaged throughout the project -- micromanaging every detail, and even offering interior design suggestions (e.g., stains and paints, cabinet and window designs, furniture layouts, etc.). It became clear that, regardless of how much we had agreed to pay in fees, Seth was “all in,” and was committed to ensuring that the end result was perfection. To be sure, in any large construction project, there will be some hiccups. But this was yet another area where Seth shined. Rather than being indifferent, or pointing the finger at those who were actually at fault, he would step up to “own the problem” and take charge until the issue was resolved. In one such case, he developed a design tweak that saved us money and produced a more beautiful result in the process. We never had to stress too much, because we knew Seth was 100% engaged and we could trust that the final work product would be a treasure of a home. One final thought. While Seth’s tremendous talent is obviously perfect for large custom projects, we have no doubt that he can deliver outstanding value for smaller home renovations too. When we did kitchen/bath renovations in our prior home, we naively thought that a “design-and-build” firm would deliver the best solution. With the benefit of hindsight, we could have done so much better hiring Seth as the independent architect and separately hiring a builder who would be accountable to the architect. The result would have been better quality construction, a better value, and far less stress. So whether you are about to embark on a modest remodel or getting ready to “dream big” with a new custom home, look no further than Ballard Mensua Architecture.
- Jack L.
Toro Design-Remodel LLC
As you can see above, when we are working with Victor, the outcome is always better than expected. As a result of our continued positive experiences, when we are ready to do our next project, we look forward to having Victor work with us on it. He has creative ideas, an engineering and architectural understanding of what needs to be done, and a construction foreman?s understanding of what can be done and how. He also enjoys interacting and working with people to address their individual problems, and is good with pets?a rare combination.
- Harriet B.
Tabor Design Build Inc
Here’s the story of the attempt my wife and I made at building an addition to our Montgomery County home with Tabor Design Build. We shortlisted 4 different design/builders and met with each, discussing our $250-280k budget, with a 50% design in hand. I work as an architect and planner in commercial/institutional architecture in DC and designed various options during my metro rides to work. The 50% design we discussed with 4 builders was a scaled back version of a larger design we feared with go over budget. The 4 builders, including Tabor, reviewed the design and the existing house and felt the budget was tight but doable and the schedule was also tight but doable. My wife was 2.5 months pregnant at the time we talked with builders. We had plans to renovate for over a year, but time being tight with a baby coming, we decided to accelerate and get our tiny house expanded and complete for the baby’s arrival. Of the 4 builders, we chose Tabor as our hunch was that firm would be best at keeping construction moving on schedule and would have the best summary of all expected work when the job starts so change orders would be limited. We never started construction with Tabor so we don’t know if those presumptions are true. We entered a design contract for $12,500 and it has to be hands down the most buyers’ remorse my wife or I have ever experienced. Tabor normally does a 16 week schedule starting from just a wish list of client ideas and then designing options before moving forward with one to detail and price. We were already past the options stage with 50% design in hand so John suggested the first 7 weeks are unnecessary, we could basically hit the ground running at what would normally be the last 9 weeks in their process. That sounded like a great plan except the process moved very slowly and my wife had to remind them what was scheduled for each meeting whether finishes chosen or whatever. Each time we urged them to keep to the schedule, John somehow forgot we started at 50% drawings and kept telling me we have a ‘compressed schedule’. By the time we had ‘trade day” and an estimate was gathered, including many cuts proposed by Tabor like budget vinyl siding, a heat pump instead of extending our existing hydronic heat. John was working hard to try and get things under budget but found his early estimate was nowhere close. We received a construction estimate of 380K plus options for screen porch etc. on top. We were 50% over budget after expending the window of time we had to prepare plans and get ready to build. Tabor wanted to look at options to trim budget, after trying to coax us to just build over our budget as the neighborhood real estate market would sustain it in Tabor’s opinion. We made it clear that was more than we could spend. When I suggested aggressively cutting back square footage instead of simplifying the design into a tract home looking vinyl sided box that John insisted on, John told me that wouldn’t get us under budget. At that point, we were at wits end. I decided to discuss square footage prices with other builders to verify what I was hearing and potentially switch since our contract with Tabor was at a point where we had the option to build or cancel. I asked John some of what I was trying to compare with other builders and he quit our job via email, telling us he does not bid jobs, he only does full service design-build. I can’t say my wife or I were impressed by the full service design build being left with an unexpectedly high construction number and little or no time to rethink it. There were some good moments and I think John and his designer are truly nice people and would do a great job for other people. As angry as we were at being left with no construction ready to roll after spending $12,500 basically to produce permit drawings and do an estimate (almost the entire construction industry does estimates without fee, in hopes of getting the job) the story ended happily. We went back and reassessed some of the other builders we conferred with earlier and switched. The first thing we did was cut back square footage and add back in the screen porch. We chose to build during the first 3 months of the baby’s life while we lived elsewhere. The house and addition is smaller but much better in design now, has a gorgeous screen porch, came in just slightly over our original budget and included many great things we hadn’t considered before like changing all of the roof and gutters, painting the entire interior, refinishing floors in the existing house, etc. etc. The house has the cement board siding we originally wanted and has a new heating system, just a higher grade than what we considered in the Tabor project. We are thrilled with the result after switching builders and the builder is to, having won the Contractor of the Year Award for the local chapter of a national remodeling association. PS: I am posting what my husband drafted. I just want to add if you need a reference, check the 2012 NARI’s CotY reward. Our house is the grand winner of that price category. I don’t know much about construction. All I knew was that it was rather a pleasant process to go to the weekly meeting with the new builder during the construction and in the first three months of my baby’s life. After being in the house of close to a year now, sitting on the porch that was originally thought impossible under the budget, I can’t be happier of our decision to switch the builder.
- Steve P.
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