Posts by Brittany

Meet Our Team: Brittany White Johnson, Principal Architect

You’ve decided to hire an Architect for your upcoming project – but who do you choose? Because the project will not only be a financial investment, but also an investment of your time, it’s important to find someone who will be a good fit for both your project and you as an individual or business owner. 

If you have a project coming up, we encourage you to schedule a no-obligation consultation with our team to find out if Trio Design would be a good fit. 

In the meantime, read on to get to know Brittany White Johnson, our Principal Architect! 

Brittany White Johnson, Principal Architect


Having grown up in Utah, Brittany White Johnson always felt a strong connection to the desert and mountains that surrounded her. When she is not in the office, she enjoys getting out into nature with her husband, four adorable children and their dogs.

Brittany strongly believes that in design, it is important to respect the natural environment as a finite resource. When she earned her Masters Degree from the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Utah, she knew she wanted to use her work to create a meaningful connection between the built and natural worlds. 

Today, that is exactly what she does! Brittany founded Trio Design as a woman-owned business in 2014, and has specialized in environmentally-friendly design ever since. She loves renovating existing buildings whenever possible, and works to incorporate sustainable practices into each project she takes on. These practices include paying attention to site orientation, selecting sustainably-sourced building materials, and using natural ventilation when possible.

A 5-Minute Interview With Brittany White Johnson:

What is your favorite part about being an Architect?

“I love the problem-solving aspect. My favorite part is the beginning of a project, when a client presents their problem or need, and I can solve that in a creative way. I am most at ease with a clean desk, a blank sheet of paper and pen, and a swirl of solutions in my mind.”

What has been your most memorable project so far?

“The most memorable so far had a fair amount of problem-solving. It was an adaptive reuse project – an outdated office building with a parking garage. It was in a great location, and we were able to help the new owner transform the space into a beautiful dance studio. It really gave the building new life! It’s been fun to see a space so well enjoyed, when it had been in a position where a new owner easily could have demolished and replaced it instead.”

When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time? 

“I love to spend time with my family, traveling and exploring. We love to spend time in Utah’s beautiful weather and landscape, and I’ve always been drawn to the desert and the mountains. I also have a small farm at home, and usually end up spending time wrangling chickens or children on the weekends.”

Want to work with Brittany on your upcoming project? Call 801-417-9951 or send her a message to get started!

How To Create an Environment that Helps You Achieve Your Goals

New year, new space! Give your life (and your home, and your office) an upgrade in 2020.

You’ve made your resolutions, set your intentions, and have decided 2020 is going to be your best year yet. Now that we’re a few weeks in, though, something feels… off. It’s not that you don’t want to work on your goals. It’s that you just can’t get motivated.

Have you been feeling this way? We’ve been there too! Consider this: maybe you need to hit the reset button and give yourself a change of scenery.

No, we’re not talking about a vacation. (Although, that couldn’t hurt, right?)

We’re talking about giving your home or office an update!

Take a good, long look at the physical space you are working or living in, and ask yourself: “is this space designed to help me achieve my goals, or is it keeping me from making progress?”

Our Interior Upgrade completely transformed the Trio Design office.
Photo: Elisha Braithwhite

When it comes to productivity, environment is (almost) everything.

Hear us out: your environment has a massive effect on your productivity. In fact, there’s a ton of research showing that things like temperature, natural light, sound, and color scheme all impact our ability to be creative and productive.

But even if you have the temperature is set to a perfect 71 degrees, there’s plenty of natural light, low-levels of sound, and an earthy non-distracting palette, one thing could still be throwing off your productivity level: the floorplan!

This is true for residential homes – just think about how annoying it would be if you had to walk through a child’s bedroom every time you needed to access the laundry room, for example – but is especially true for office environments. 

If you work in an “open-concept” office and can’t seem to get anything done, you’re not alone. Originally made popular by tech companies, open concept offices were thought to improve communication and collaboration among employees. However, recent studies are showing that this layout can actually decrease productivity

At Trio Design, we believe the best buildings improve the lives of those who live or work in them. Your home should serve your life, and your office should serve your business. And when your environment isn’t working for you, it’s working against you. This is where an interior upgrade will help out.

Living room with beautiful interior upgrades
Photo: Unsplash

What is an interior upgrade?

Ideal for those who don’t necessarily want to change their location but still crave a new environment, interior upgrades are changes to the design of a building. An interior upgrade is done in a residential home (think: bathroom remodel, kitchen upgrades, etc) or in a commercial space (changing the office layout, for example). “Interior Upgrade” is a fancier term for what you’ll likely call your project when talking to friends: a renovation.

The best thing about interior upgrades? They can be as big or small as you like. If you really only want to change one aspect of your space, like adding a mudroom between your garage and kitchen to prevent dirt from tracking throughout the house, that can be done. On the other hand, if you want to completely transform an outdated interior to the point where the space is almost unrecognizable, we can make that happen, too.

We recently did an interior upgrade on our own office, which is now a much lighter and brighter environment to increase productivity.
Photo: Elisha Braithwhite

When should you consider an interior upgrade?

It might be a good time to consider an interior upgrade if you have felt any of the following three things:

  • You love the location, but feel like you’re “growing out of” your home or office.

In many of the original floor plans we have re-designed for past clients, space was simply underutilized. If you wish to keep your location, but feel like you need more space, contact us for a no-obligation consultation. We would be happy to look over your floor plan and determine if there would be a more efficient way to use the space you already have.

  • Something about the layout of your home or office isn’t practical, aesthetically pleasing, or bothers you in one way or another.

The bathroom is right next to the conference room, and you can hear the plumbing during meetings? There is no space between your garage and kitchen, leading to dirty floors that you’re sick and tired of cleaning? Whatever it is, we would love the opportunity to help you fix it and fall in love with your space. Schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated problem-solving architects today. 

  • You want to live or work in a more environmentally conscious environment.

If you want to lead a more sustainable day-to-day life, we can help transform your building into a more environmentally-friendly one. Reach out to Brittany, our sustainability expert and Principal Architect to learn about how to lessen your building’s impact on our natural environment.

Ready to explore your options? Contact us and let’s talk about the possibilities!

Interior Architecture: Setting The Tone For Interior Design

If you’re like us, you may be known for the occasional HGTV binge-watching session…which means you’re familiar with what a difference great interior design can make! Before your very eyes, homes have been completely transformed on shows like Love It Or List It, Flip or Flop and our favorite, Fixer Upper. You have watched as designers change the color palette, add textures, and mindfully selected furniture and artwork to create a feeling that wasn’t there before. And you have witnessed Chip and Joanna turn a sad, decrepit nightmare home into a luxurious farmhouse dream!


But there’s something else happening behind the scenes… these homes aren’t only transformed by interior design. Most of the time, there are significant changes made to the interior architecture.

Interior Architecture sets the tone for interior design.

Photo: Michael Browning

So what is interior architecture? 


As with architects and designers, the lines between interior architecture and interior design are sometimes blurred, creating confusion as to what each term actually is. 


We like to think of interior architecture as the blank canvas for interior design. Before you start decorating, you need to have a safe and structurally sound space to decorate in, right?


Think of the static elements of a room as the interior architecture.


If you removed all of the furniture, artwork, and fixtures like door handles, knobs, faucets, etc., what would be left? The flooring, walls, ceiling, and windows. Anything permanent within a space is part of the interior architecture.

When you remove the non-static elements of a space, you are left with the elements of interior architecture.

Photo: Steven Ungermann


The way a space functions is also part of interior architecture.


Is there an open-concept? How do you navigate from one room to the other? Where are the bathrooms located? If the building is an office, can you efficiently go back and forth between the most commonly utilized rooms? And if the building is a home, are you going to be able to hear family members in the living room as you try to sleep in the master bedroom? 


Carefully planning a space around how it will actually be used is important to the quality of the building, and the enjoyment of those working or living in it. 

The best Interior Architect will take the way a space is actually used into consideration when designing and planning the space.

Photo: Michael Browning


Everything behind the walls is all part of interior architecture, too.


How does the plumbing run through the walls? What about the electric wires? A trained and board-certified Architect will determine the best placement for each of these, helping you avoid maintenance issues in the future.


All of these are examples of how interior architecture sets the tone for interior design. The two go hand-in-hand, but paying attention to the interior architecture creates the foundation for a safe, functional space.

Interior Architecture sets the tone for interior design by creating lines, angles, and a functional floorplan.

Photo: Michael Browning

At Trio Design, we believe the best architecture makes the lives of building users easier. In the initial consultation, we take time to get to know our clients and gain an understanding of what it is they want out of their space. Then, we put our knowledge and experience into action, creating a strategic plan to bring that dream to life.

Do you have dreams for an interior remodel? Let’s chat about it! Our team of licensed Architects can help create a plan to bring those dreams into reality. Schedule a free consultation today!

Why You Should Build in the Silicon Slopes

Like Silicon Valley in California, Utah’s Silicon Slopes region has long been a hub for business, especially tech startups. However, unlike Silicon Valley, the Silicon Slopes have remained an affordable place to live compared to most US cities. With local residential and commercial real estate both increasing in value, now is a great time to invest in this growing market by building your home or business here.

The "Silicon Slopes" region includes the metropolitan area from Salt Lake City to Provo, Utah. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Silicon Slopes is the metropolitan area from business-friendly Salt Lake City, Utah to Provo, Utah. (Photo: Shutterstock)

You’ve heard it before – location, location, location! 

Regardless of the purpose that a building serves, location matters. If it’s a business you’re starting, location defines who your customers are, and how easily they can get to you. If it’s your home, the area in which you build is going to shape your entire lifestyle. Your commute to work, your children’s schools, and your proximity to the things you love to do; like shopping and dining in the city, or exploring the great outdoors, are all determined by location. 

Of course, constructing a building is also a considerable investment. Location heavily influences the overall value of your building, so where you choose to build is a significant financial decision, too. When well-planned and executed by an experienced professional team, constructing a new home or commercial building can bring you a return on investment in the future.

If you are on the hunt for the best place to construct a building right now, look no further than the Silicon Slopes. 

With close proximity to both the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Brigham Young University in Provo, the Silicon Slopes region is home to a well-educated talent pool

The Silicon Slopes sit between two highly rated universities, the University of Utah in Salt Lake, and Brigham Young University in Provo. (Photo: Parker Gibbons via Unsplash)

Where are the Silicon Slopes?

A relatively new term, the “Silicon Slopes” region is defined as the metropolitan area stretching from Salt Lake City to Provo, the two biggest cities in Utah. 

Book-ended by the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Brigham Young University in Provo, the Silicon Slopes region produces an extraordinary quantity of talent. These new graduates are eager to grow their careers within the startup community. Many businesses, including Amazon, have sited Utah’s extensive talent pool as a reason for setting up shop in the Silicon Slopes.

We can confidently tell you that Utah, specifically the Silicon Slopes region, is a fantastic place to invest. 

Why, you ask? Let’s dive in:

The Silicon Slopes region is growing quickly, and by 2065 will have added 2.5 million new residents.

By 2065, it is anticipated that the Silicon Slopes region will have added 2.5 million new residents.

The Silicon Slopes area is growing incredibly fast.

Utah’s population is growing at a faster rate than anywhere else in the country, and the value of both commercial and residential real estate is increasing right along with it. 

By 2065, Envision Utah predicts the Silicon Slopes will have 2.5 million new residents. To find out what is bringing so many people here, we reached out to our friend and local real estate expert, Alicia Holdaway. The owner of Sherpa Solution, Alicia is a licensed Realtor with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty and currently serves as President-Elect on the Salt Lake Board of Realtors. When it comes to Utah’s real estate market, she knows her stuff!

About Utah’s Population Growth

First and foremost, we asked her what’s bringing all of these people to Utah. It turns out that the state has always been one of the top states for population growth. Until recently, about 70% of Utah’s growth had been coming from “internal growth” – AKA, children of existing Utah residents’ growing up and buying houses. The other 30% was “external growth,” people moving in from out of state. 

This number is on the rise; however, as companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Adobe have begun to recognize Utah’s business-friendly environment. These companies have been relocating and building second headquarters here, joining the ranks of Utah-born companies like Ancestry, Overstock, Pluralsight, and Qualtrics (among others). 

The influx of large companies has brought a massive number of new jobs to the area, and this job growth has contributed to a rapidly appreciating housing market. In the last year alone, Salt Lake County homeowners saw an average appreciation of 6.9%, and in Utah County, 6.7%.*

With Silicon Slopes home values rising quickly, now is a great time to invest in building a custom home.

With home values climbing, now is a good time to invest in building in the Silicon Slopes. In many cases, equity is already earned by the completion of construction. (Photo: Shutterstock)

What this growth means for those building homes:

With appreciation rates like this, and the length of time it typically takes to build a house, “new owners often move in with equity already gained,” Alicia pointed out.

When you build a home from scratch with an architect, 9-12 months is typical; however, it always depends on the scope of your project. Our Trio Design team would be happy to provide you with an estimated timeframe; please reach out to chat about your upcoming project! 

Alicia also gave us a hint at where we might see the most growth in the coming years:

“Utah County is slated to increase the most over the next ten years since that is where the developable land is, and Bluffdale specifically is to see some great appreciation over the next 5-10 years as the state prison relocates and that land gets redeveloped.”

Residential homes aren't the only buildings increasing in value; there is also high demand for commercial office space, making now a good time to invest in commercial construction as well.

Commercial buildings in the Silicon Slopes are increasing in value as well. (Photo: Shutterstock)

And for those building commercially:

According to a recent report released by CBRE, which details Utah’s commercial real estate outlook, all commercial industries performed well in 2018. The report notes that there is a strong demand for office space, in particular, citing record-high absorption rates (the rate at which a new office building is leased), and low vacancies. In the same report, CBRE also predicts an increase in commercial rents. 

From city life with great shopping, dining, and entertainment options to endless outdoor adventures, the Silicon Slopes have it all.

Salt Lake City offers a business-friendly environment with easy access to a multitude of outdoor adventures. (Photo: Sherpa Solution)

Ready to join the Silicon Slopes? 

Don’t walk, run! In the grand scheme of things, the Silicon Slopes is still in its infancy – but as they say about all infants, it will grow right before your eyes, and if you blink, you’ll miss it. Now is the time to set the foundation for a solid return on investment. 

As if that isn’t enough motivation, mortgage interest rates are the lowest they have been in three years. In most cases, your rate can’t be secured until construction is close to being completed; which means the sooner you start building, the better your interest rate will be. 

With this urgency, however, it’s important to avoid cutting corners in the construction process. When building a completely custom home or commercial structure, we cannot stress how valuable it is to have someone in your corner to keep the builder and their sub-contractors accountable for quality work. Your team of professionals should include a licensed, experienced Architect who can design the structurally-sound, up-to-code building of your dreams, and a knowledgeable Realtor who can help you find the perfect location and determine the market value of your completed building. 

At Trio Design, we are committed to providing high quality, client-focused service from project inception to completion. We’re with you every step of the way, helping you navigate everything from the design to the permitting process, and keeping a close eye on the construction of your building. To learn more about our project management services, please contact us!

What Can A Landscape Architect Help Me With?
Here's why you should consider hiring a landscape architect for your next project.

What Can a Landscape Architect Help Me With?

You know the feeling you experience when visiting your favorite park or walking trail? Maybe it’s a sense of peacefulness, or connectedness with nature. Now, try to recall the feeling you get when stepping foot on a college campus. How about an outdoor shopping mall? 

Each of these should evoke a different emotion. Whether it’s a sensation of calmness, excitement, motivation, meditation or a complex combination of other feelings… each space was intentionally designed by a Landscape Architect or Landscape Designer with that specific feeling in mind. 

As with architects and designers, there are many differences between landscape architects and landscape designers. If you are taking on a big outdoor project, understanding the differences will ensure you hire the best professional for the job.

Landscape architecture can be found all around you. Look to the parks, trails, shopping centers, and street-scapes.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects typically work on large-scale projects that are part of the greater community. Think campuses, parks, trails, streetscapes, master-planned residential neighborhoods; but will occasionally work on smaller-scale residential projects, too. 

To use the title “landscape architect”, the individual must have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field, most often from a school accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). They also must be licensed by each state they perform work in. 

Through this education, landscape architects are taught an appreciation of cultural resources and historic landscapes. They are experts in the restoration of places that have already been disturbed by human activity (such as deforestation and mining), as well as preserving and protecting cultural and historic sites.

A landscape architect is not only trained in aesthetic design but is also knowledgeable of challenging environmental issues that can arise, such as:

  • Steep slopes and elevation issues
  • Water retention, irrigation, and drainage
  • Energy and natural resource conservation

Because landscape architects look at landscapes as a system, they incorporate potential environmental threats into their design. Drought, flooding, and natural disasters are carefully planned for to create the most sustainable outdoor space possible.

Landscape architecture rendering by Trio Design Inc showcasing Palace Gaming, owned by the Tachi Yokut Nation.

(This image is a rendering of our Palace Gaming design for the Tachii Yokut Nation)

Landscape Designers 

As with residential designers, the term “landscape designer” is not nationally regulated. A landscape designer may be self-taught or may have the same level of training as a landscape architect (without being officially licensed). 

Aside from the variance in training, the main difference between landscape designers and landscape architects is that landscape designers typically work on small-scale residential projects like lawns, gardens, and patios. Most landscape designers work with “softscape” – our industry-specific term for plants. Through the use of trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses, landscape designers create colorful and aesthetic gardens, lawns, backyards, and patios.

For some projects, landscape architects and designers may work together as a team – the architect designs the overall layout and “feel” of the space, accounting for the nitty-gritty details like irrigation systems, and a landscape designer may be contracted to come back monthly or quarterly to replace plants, manicure the lawn, and maintain the environment.

Landscape designers focus on small residential projects.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Have a large outdoor project coming up? 

Our team of landscape architects can help design an environment that evokes a memorable feeling amongst visitors, and one that is unique to your space. With landscape architecture, the possibilities truly are endless. Contact us to get started.

Green Buildings: Valuable to the Environment and Your Energy Bill
Green buildings are about more than solar panels and rooftop gardens.

Have you noticed buildings with solar panels and rooftop gardens popping up in your neighborhood?

“Green” buildings have been increasing in popularity – and for a good reason! According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homes, offices, and other buildings account for about 39 percent of all energy used in the US. Thoughtful design by architects could significantly reduce the environmental impact of these buildings, while also lowering individual energy costs. 

Going green is a win-win, and there are even certifications available to buildings that meet specific criteria. In this blog, we will answer some of the most common questions about green buildings… but as always, please reach out to us if you have further questions. We would love to help you!

Green building with solar panels and rooftop gardens.

Green buildings are valuable to the environment, and they help reduce energy costs as well. (Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Does my building need to have a LEED certification to be considered green?

No. A certification is a fantastic achievement, and can absolutely be the goal of the design if desired. However, even without a LEED or other environmental certification, your building can incorporate features that reduce energy and lessen its impact on the surrounding environment.

So, what makes a building green?

The World Green Building Council (WGBC) defines green buildings as ones that “in design, construction, or operation, reduces or eliminates negative impacts, and can create positive impacts on our climate and natural environment.”

A pretty broad definition, right? The purpose of the building doesn’t matter. Whether it’s a restaurant, office, grocery store, residential home, or another type of structure, it can be a green building! The thing to remember is, while any building can be a green building, not all of them will (or should) have the same features. Each building needs to be built with its surrounding environment in mind.  Constructing site-specific buildings and homes saves you money in the long term because you can maximize the existing site elements like wind, sun, shade, and trees to reduce the energy use over the life of the building. 

Xeriscaping is a perfect example of this in Green Landscape Architecture. A xeriscaped landscape incorporates plants that can tolerate very little water or even drought. It makes sense to do this in Arizona, Nevada, or here in Utah, where we have a desert climate. In some of the other states where we are licensed that get more rain (like Washington or Florida), it wouldn’t make sense at all. The plants would ultimately get too much water and die, costing the business or homeowner more time and money replacing the plants in the long run. Xeriscaping there wouldn’t benefit the local environment, but using native plants and trees that are used to the area’s rainfall would.

Xeriscaping helps reduce water waste, especially in desert climates.

The owners of this luxury desert home chose to xeriscape their landscaping.
(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Do I have to use solar panels?

Green building is about more than apparent exterior features like the solar panels and rooftop gardens we mentioned earlier. While these are great options if they make sense for your project, there are many other, more subtle elements that can be incorporated. In fact, most “green” fixtures and features may even go unnoticed in a completed building.

Here are a few examples of green choices you can make in the design of your building:


Selecting Green Materials

Choosing locally-sourced, non-toxic materials is beneficial to the local economy and the health of anyone who will occupy the building in the future. 

Efficient use of water, gas, and electricity

Years ago, there wasn’t much a home or business owner could do to reduce the usage of natural resources, other than living or working in the dark. Now, there are a variety of energy-efficient water valves, appliances, light fixtures, and many more items available!

Building Orientation and Passive Solar Design

Keeping the sun’s angles in mind allows us to maximize warmth in winter and protect from the heat in summer. This is done through site orientation, adding overhangs, placement of windows, and more. These methods are easy to implement and make a big difference in the long term energy costs.

Passive Solar Design reduces energy usage by bringing in more natural light.

Passive Solar Design maximizes natural light inside the Oculus in New York City. (Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Can I incorporate green architecture into a renovation project? 

Absolutely! We can incorporate almost all green choices available for new buildings into existing structures. Some things, like Passive Solar Design, may take a little more creativity in this situation…but hey, that’s what we architects do

Are you craving a more sustainable lifestyle? Do you want to reduce energy costs from the get-go in your new building? We would love to chat with you about how to design an energy-efficient building. Contact us to schedule a consultation today!

What to Expect When You Hire an Architect


You’re about to take on a building design or renovation project, and you’ve decided to hire professional help. Maybe you are still determining whether you should work with an architect or a designer, or perhaps you’ve already decided. Either way, knowing what to expect from an architect will help you solidify that decision. 





During this no-cost phone call or in-person meeting, you will get a sense of the architect’s personality and communication style. Do they understand your vision for the building? Are you a fan of their previous work? The initial consultation is crucial for determining whether the architect is a good match for your project, so it’s a good idea to ask a few questions about their portfolio and project experience.


Treat this conversation as an interview, but don’t forget that this first meeting is essential for the architect, too. The more details you can supply upfront, the more aligned their proposal will be with your goals.


Another good reason to be detailed in this initial consultation is that it is the only way for an architect to estimate the price of a project accurately. If you’re like most people, the total cost of construction is a significant, if not the greatest, concern you have. If your architect knows how much you are comfortable spending, they can keep that in mind as they draft the proposal. The first conversation is the perfect time to discuss an ideal budget and timeline for your project.


What to Expect When You Hire an Architect


How much does it cost to hire an architect?


Speaking of construction expenses; you might be wondering how much it costs to hire an architect to design the building in the first place. Maybe you’ve even looked around online, but your search came up short. The reason for that is some architects charge hourly, but most charge a percentage of the completed project’s cost (or a combination of both).

What if you don’t yet know the full scope of the project? That’s where our experience comes in. When you book a consultation with Trio Design, we will be sure to ask plenty of questions about the future building.  With an understanding of its purpose, size, location, your ideal timeline, and budget, we will give you an estimate based on the actual work we anticipate.





After the consultation, your architect will put together a proposal based on the information you gave them. This is your chance to see whether they understood your vision and if you like the direction they are taking the design.


The proposal should be clear and easy to understand. At Trio Design, we break it down into the phases of work to help our clients visualize not only what their building will look like, but also the step by step process of how we are going to get to the finish line. 


Our proposals typically include some additional options, allowing our clients to choose the pieces of the design that best fit their needs.





If you like the proposal presented to you, a contract will be prepared, signed, and the architect will get to work. 


This is when the nitty-gritty pieces of the process take place, the things that made you want or need to hire an architect in the first place. The proposal showed you the face of the building and gave you a visualization of how the final product will look. Now, though, your architect is focused on the bones: the schematic design. This more detailed design includes figuring out how the structure will be supported, where electrical wires and pipes will run, and how to make the building as environmentally friendly as possible. At the end of this process, you will have a plan for a building that is not only beautifully crafted but also functional, safe, and energy-efficient.


How long does it take to get through the architectural design process?


After finalizing the schematic design, your architect will draw up the plans for construction. Completing Construction Documents can take a few weeks to a few months depending on the size and scope of the project. During this time, the architect works with a team of professionals to complete all the drawings required for a building permit. This process also helps the contractor price and build the building or space. 


Certain building permits will be needed, which can be obtained by your architect as well. This process can take a few weeks, depending on location and type of building. Once the permits are established, the real fun begins: your building is ready for construction!





As we mentioned in our last blog, project management is a key piece of what an architect does. The architect will work closely with your contractor, who you may select. If you do not already have someone in mind for the job and need a recommendation for high-quality, reliable contractors, please reach out. We know several whom we would love to connect you with!


When construction begins, your architect will take care of Construction Administration, a fancy term for checking in on the construction team. You can expect your architect to pop in at the construction site often, even weekly, to observe the project’s progress. When they visit, they will review the work for compliance with the drawings and design, as well as local building codes. During this process, the architect often represents the owner and works with the construction team when the inevitable ‘bumps’ during the construction process arise. Doing so helps ensure local and national building codes will be met, protecting the health, safety, and well-being of anyone who enters the completed building and your project is built the way you and the design team intended. 


Ready to get started?


We would love to speak with you about your next project! Contact our team to schedule a free consultation today. 


Architects vs. Designers: What You Need to Know
Here are the differences between architects and designers.

Architects vs. Designers:

What You Need to Know

Whether you are redesigning an existing space or building a new one from the ground up, finding the right professional to help you with a design project can be a daunting task.

After all, this kind of project is a financial investment. It will add value to your home or business, and it’s important for the job to be done well! But with so many choices out there, who do you hire for expert help? An architect, a designer, or both? And what’s the difference between the two, anyway?

Although these professions overlap in many areas like room layout and space planning, there are some key differences between them. Knowing these differences can help you decide who will be the best fit for the scope of your project.

Knowing the differences between architects and designers will help you decide who to hire for your next project.

Photo: Outsite Co

Licensing and Qualifications

The biggest difference you will find between architects and designers is in their certifications and levels of training.


The title “architect” is firmly regulated on a national level, which means not anyone can call themselves one. A licensed architect must have earned either a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in architecture (5-6 years). On top of that degree, they are required to gain enough experience working at an architectural firm (3-5 years) to pass the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). Once that has been passed, they can then receive a formal registration number.

Because this process is so strict, you can be certain that when you hire an architect, they are both highly qualified and experienced enough to design any building: a residential home, an office building, a grocery store, a tumbling gym…you name it, an architect can create it. The end product will be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and strong. It is an architect’s responsibility to meet the local and national building codes, protecting the health, safety, and welfare of those who live or work in the completed building. Being well-versed in sustainable and energy-efficient building practices, an architect will also work to reducing the environmental impact of your project.

Architects are regulated on a national level, ensuring quality and experience.

Photo: Jason Briscoe


In contrast, the term “designer” is not nationally regulated, meaning qualifications vary greatly, and small changes in title can indicate very different things. While just about anyone could start a business as a designer, to be licensed as an interior designer here in Utah, the individual must meet a few requirements set by the CIDQ (Council for Interior Design Qualification).

This does not mean that a designer is unqualified for a project. It only means that there is a wider variance in level of training and experience among them. If you need to spruce up an existing space through the use of color, lighting, and furniture, hiring a designer can be a great option. After all, Fixer Upper star Joanna Gaines didn’t receive any formal design training, but she had a natural talent that has turned into a very successful career.

Architects follow local and national building codes to ensure safety.

Photo: Le Creuset


Another thing to consider when deciding between hiring an architect or hiring a designer is the scope of your project (are you renovating one room, or completely transforming your home?) and how involved in the project you want to be.

An architect is trained and highly skilled at project management. They can coordinate the entire project, from conception to the very last detail, even hiring contractors and obtaining appropriate building permits for you if needed.

Architects visit the construction site multiple times throughout the course of the project to ensure that the building being built matches the one they designed for you. Hiring an architect means you have someone to represent you, handling the nitty gritty details of a project, whereas with a designer, you may end up being a little more involved in those things.

Always interview an architect or designer before hiring them for your project.

Photo: Le Creuset

All of this said, please keep in mind that both designers and architects are human, and humans are not all alike.

Some designers have more educational qualifications than others, and some architects have a better eye for aesthetic design than others. A detail-oriented architect with a strong eye for design can give you the best of both worlds.

No matter which type of professional you decide to work with, you should always look at their portfolio and schedule an interview before hiring them. This ensures the person or team you hire is a good fit for you and your unique project.

master bathroom before + after

The Master Bath at Our House with the Red Barn, was a little outdated… to say the least.  It was a 3/4 bath, with wall to wall pink carpet and open to the rest of the master bathroom.  The shower + toilet room (also carpeted) in all of it’s musty mildew-y glory was screaming for help!

In order to reduce costs, we tried to keep the existing plumbing where it was.  With somewhat limited options for growth to improve efficiency, we chose to leave the  shower and toilet in place and forego a private toilet room, we were able to relocate the closets to add a free standing tub to upgrade the space (always considering resale value) to a full bath.  We implemented a dark color materials palette on white walls that played on variations of the same shape and with different sheen finishes.  Start scrollin’ now for the, the before + during & after.


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