Confession: I’m buried in trainings and deliverables and recycling some material from my original catch-all blog.
This was forwarded to me today. Normally I would be concerned about copyright violation, but this is way too good not to share. If the unknown author ever contacts me I will happily take it down after thanking the person profusely for the best description of my job I could ever send to a layperson.
Dear Mr. Architect:
Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion.
My house should have between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdowns for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one at a later time.
Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don’t have nearly enough insulation in them).
As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)
Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that kitchen should be designed to accommodate (among other things) my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.
To assure that you are building the correct house for our entire family, you will need to contact each of my children, and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year. Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any decisions that you make.
Please don’t bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house and get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpeting. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.
Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.
While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the potential home buyers in my area that they like the features this house has.
I advise you to run up and look at the house my neighbor built last year, as we like it a great deal. It has many things that we feel we also need in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our new house without impacting the construction cost.
Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes.
You must be thrilled to be working on as an interesting project as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can’t happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your ideas and completed plans.
Finally, I consider all of this work a demonstration of your qualifications (or lack thereof) and so of course do not expect to be billed for this.
PS: My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the instructions I’ve given you in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can’t handle this responsibility, I will have to find another architect.
PPS: Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer. Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.
© Scott S. Nelson