PAUL MICHAEL DAVIS DESIGN
About Paul Michael Davis
Based on Capitol Hill, Seattle Architect Paul Michael Davis and his team provide design services for residential and commercial projects with a focus on formal innovation.
Before starting his own office, Paul gained several years of experience in leading architecture firms in LA and New York. He has led the design and construction of numerous projects, from creative designs for three children’s libraries on very limited budgets to a major renovation and addition to a landmark townhouse for a hedge fund. While working in Frank Gehry’s Los Angeles office, Paul developed advanced architectural concepts on projects like the Louis Vuitton Foundation museum in Paris. He has also been on a member of the Interior Design faculty of Bellevue College.
Paul attended the University of Washington, earning two Bachelor’s degrees in 2000, and a Master of Architecture in 2003. Paul is a registered architect in Washington State and a LEED Accredited Professional. Since the office was founded in 2010, we have grown to an enthusiastic and skilled team of 4.
For more information about us, please see this recent profile published on Archinect.
Frequently Asked Questions About Architects in Seattle
How much does an architect cost in the Seattle Area?
You don't need to be rich to hire an architect.
Typically an architect will charge a fee based on a percentage of the total construction costs. A lot of firms charge up to 20% of the total project's budget in fees. Others are able to keep costs very low and charge a much lower rate. Paul Michael Davis Architects' fees average 5-10%. The way we do this is primarily through very low overhead costs.
Most architects, myself included, bill on an hourly basis. Some will bill as much as $300 per hour for their services. But, typically, the price of less skilled tasks such as drafting will cost much less. If you plan to hire an architect, you should ask them for a total estimate of the services they propose to finish your project. Some architects bill a higher hourly rate, and guarantee a maximum number of hours for a specific amount of work. The danger to the client with this approach is that you will have to pay the very high hourly rate for any additional work--some of which you might have assumed was standard.
Paul Michael Davis Architects bills a flat $85 per hour for our services. I prefer to give clients an honest estimate of the hours it will take to design their project. This way, I have no incentive to do “extra work,” and thus burden you with unexpected fees.
How much does it cost to build a house in Seattle, Bellevue, Bainbridge Island, or elsewhere in the Puget Sound area?
Of course, the most accurate answer is, "It depends."
However, there are some rules of thumb. Right now, if you want to build a custom house or major remodel, you can expect to spend about $200 per square foot. So, if you want to build a 2000 square foot house in from the ground up, say, Bellevue, then you probably want to budget about $400,000. This "rule of thumb" is probably lower if you're planning a remodel of an existing home--figure about $150 per square foot if you are going to leave most of the existing structure intact.
Construction costs are surprisingly local. Most contractors work in a small geographic area, and that creates very localized markets. Building in the City of Seattle or its surrounding suburbs, where the economy is very strong, will be more expensive than building in most parts of the rural Puget Sound area. Specific local factors also effect construction costs. Building a house on Lopez Island, for example, will be more expensive than one on Bainbridge Island because the only access to the former is via ferry.
A smart architect working with a client who knows what they want can work within any realistic budget to build an impressive, beautiful, liveable design. The factors that go into that $200/SF guideline can always be tweaked to bring costs even lower, but it often takes a skilled architect to know where it makes sense to cut costs and where you don't want to mess around, especially in Seattle's climate.
And, in a custom design, you should think long term. Usually, investing a little extra up front in items like energy efficient appliances and heating systems, or in surfaces that will last longer in the Seattle climate, make good financial sense after about 5 years.
How much does a modern house cost?
Modern design does not necessarily cost more than traditional design. In fact, most of the "mid-Century modernists"-- Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph Eichler, Eames--believed that modern design’s best quality was it's affordability. Why pay for Greek columns, colonial era decorations, or other materials which imitated past styles, when new, modern materials can make great spaces today?
Charles and Ray Eames famously said that their design was about creating “the best for the most for the least,” and many modern architects like me still follow that philosophy.
Of course, modern design can be just as expensive as traditional design, depending on the materials a client selects and the level of craftsmanship involved. But many of the greatest modern homes in history were affordable. In general, the savings come in the form of standard, or “off the shelf” materials and systems, often used in creative or unexpected ways. The Eames house (pictured right), for example, used simple industrial materials and standard, exposed steel columns and beams.
1221 East Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98122 USA