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Why does this Tenant Improvement Cost So Much?

    I'm often asked questions like this in the early phases of a tenant improvement. The client has many questions during early phases of an office relocation, and they normally would prefer to pin down the cost question quickly, so they can make a decision whether to move forward.
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DesignLine Architects, LLC
470 E. Canyon Creek Court ,
Gilbert, AZ 85295
Phone: 4807103861

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Phoenix Home Remodeling

Plan a Budget, Before Signing Construction Contract

The key to successful home remodeling is taking the time up front for proper planning.  It’s in the best interest of ALL homeowner’s to consider the four steps below, BEFORE signing a construction contract.  Early planning is important for an enjoyable remodeling experience, because it will flush out problems early and set expectations that will prepare you for the road ahead.

Home-Remodel-MasterP lan

1.  Master Plan –  

ALL Your Home Remodeling Ideas Together in One Plan

You might be a homeowner whose family needs are changing, or maybe you’ve lived in your home for a while and just need a change.

  • – Make a Wish List – First, make a detailed list that includes everything you’d wish for in your home remodeling project(s).
  • – Get Architect’s help – Then, call an Architect to design one plan (called a Master Plan) that ties together ALL your ideas on your wish list.
  • – Divide into Smaller Projects – Finally, work with your Architect to prioritize and break up all your remodeling ideas into manageable projects.


You can complete each piece of your master plan as you can afford them, knowing that each piece has been designed to fit together.

2.  Determine your “Bottom Line” Remodeling Budget –

After writing a scope of work, create a budget for your home remodeling project.

  • – Bottom Line – Ask yourself, what is the maximum dollar amount you will allow yourself to spend?   It’s in your best interest to determine your “bottom line” budget amount, and then stick to it.
  • – Contingency – Once you have that budget number firmly in mind, it’s wise to set aside what’s called a “contingency”.  Some people feel comfortable with 10%, others 25% or more. Because extra spending will probably occur, the contingency keeps your budget under control so that you finish your original renovation plan.
  • – No Surprises – Creating the budget first, helps homeowners be realistic about selecting the final architectural designs and finish materials they can afford.


3.  Write a Scope of Work

With your Master Plan design complete, work with your Architect to develop a written Scope of Work.

  • – List the Steps – An itemized task list of construction (i.e. demolition, concrete, framing, electrical, mechanical).  By stating clearly in writing the details of the project, the general contractor will have a very specific picture of your project and provide a more accurate construction estimate.  Also detail what’s NOT included in project.
  • – Details are Important – It clears out any grey areas, all uncertainties and ambiguities.  For instance, a general contractor might not know you want the wall paper and flooring removed and disposed of in a remodel job if you don’t say so.
  • – Remodeling Cost Schedule – Be sure to create a project cost control schedule where you review the costs on a regular basis.


4.  Detailed Written Contract

A contract is needed to set the rules and the terms of your home remodel.  It’s very important to write down ALL your project goals up front and include them in the written contract with your architect and contractor.

  • – Spell out the Details – There needs to be a clear agreement reflected in the contract about the extent of the work, the quality of workmanship expected, the quality of the materials used, and other specific details of the remodeling design.
  • – Never assume.  When it doubt, write it all down.
  • – Important Note – if you do sign a contract and then have second thoughts, the Federal Trade Commission’s “cooling off rule” may apply.  It allows you a 72-hour period in which to cancel the agreement.

It’s easy to jump ahead without thoroughly planning out your home renovation.  Improper planning will result in impulsive decisions and choices that might cost extra either in labor or materials.  If you take the extra time required to follow these four steps in the beginning, you will take control of your home renovation, and really enjoy the results.

About the Author

Phoenix Architecture Firms

An architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. And no matter what kind of space you need today, we’ll make sure it’s designed for your needs in the future.  This will give you future function built into today’s addition.  To set up a home remodeling appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at

Phoenix-Gilbert-Doug Rusk
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC


BEFORE you begin your “Scottsdale Home Remodel”

Home Remodeling Scottsdale



BEFORE you begin your Scottsdale home remodel project, there are a few important steps to take now, that will prevent surprises later – surprises that might significantly affect your project budget and time schedule.  The detailed steps below will give you an idea of the some of the upfront research needed BEFORE starting your home remodel in Scottsdale. Working with an expert such as an Architect will help you navigate this important process.

1. Read your CC&R’s –

Home remodeling is about change, and major changes to an existing Scottsdale home may be subject to rules and restrictions set by state and local building authorities as well as the legal rights of your neighbors.  Review your Codes, Covenants and Regulations (CC&R’s) you agreed to comply with when you moved into your neighborhood.

2. Scottsdale, AZ Development Standards –

Every Scottsdale home Parcel has Zoning Ordinance and Building Setback requirements and restrictions , including distances that buildings/ structures must be “set back” from the property line.  Setback requirements for your home will vary depending upon the zoning district (i.e. R1-190, R1-7, etc).  Submit a Setback Request to the City of Scottsdale to determine the development standards for your property.  This will help you determine where you can build on the lot, the lot coverage restrictions (if applicable) and wall/fence restrictions.  Looking for the APN# of your parcel? Go to and select GIS Maps.

3. Fire Sprinklers

If you are improving or adding 25% or more of the existing structure (under roof area), then fire sprinklers must be installed through out the entire Scottsdale home, including enclosed, non-heated storage, garage, etc.  Here’s a link to Scottsdale’s Fire Sprinkler worksheet.  For approximate sprinkler installation costs figure between $1.50 – $3.00 per square foot under roof, depending on complexity.

4. Building Code

If you are improving or adding 50% or more of the existing structure (under roof area), then  the entire structure must be brought up to all current Building Code standards.  For work that is less than 50%, only the new work you are completing on your home must comply with current codes.

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-Tempe5. Will you need a Building Permit?

There are four types of Scottsdale building permits:

Building Permit

  • – Required for all construction work including patio covers, room additions, carports and garage enclosures, walls/fences, retaining walls, and accessory buildings (storage buildings less than 200 square feet only requires a site plan). Permits will expire if work is not commenced within 180 days of the permit being issued to you, or if the work is not inspected by the city for a period of more than 180 days.

Electrical Permit

  • – Required to install, alter, reconstruct or repair electrical wiring on any building, structure, swimming pool, or mechanical equipment.

Plumbing Permit

  • – Required to install, alter, reconstruct, or repair any plumbing system, gas system, lawn sprinkler supply, water heater replacement.

Mechanical Permit

  • – Required to install, alter, reconstruct or repair any furnace, refrigeration or other air conditioning equipment or system, except portable or window units.

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-Chandler6. You may NOT need a Building Permit

While most home improvement projects in Scottsdale require a permit (which helps ensure safety standards), there are some projects that do NOT require a residential building permit:

  • – Detached, non-habitable structures smaller than 200 square feet in floor area (a site plan is required);
  • – Patio slabs or sidewalks/drives (not over 30 inches above grade);
  •  – Repair existing landscape irrigation piping (a permit is required to connect a new irrigation system to your waterline);
  • – Walls, three feet or less (except retaining walls);
  • – Low-voltage landscape accent lighting;
  • – Minor repairs or replacement of non-structural items such as glass, doors, hardware, kitchen cabinets, carpeting, flooring or trim work (not affecting a pool enclosure or garage);
  • – Paint (interior/exterior); repair drywall, plasterboard, paneling or stucco (insulated stucco systems require a permit);
  • – Repair or replace existing evaporative coolers or air conditioning units without increasing the unit size or capacity;
  • – Repair or replace existing plumbing fixtures in the same location;
  • – Re-shingle or retile a roof when the same material is used.

7. Scottsdale Permit Fees

For a fee schedule, refer to and select “Fees” Or you can contact the One Stop Shop at (480) 312-2500.

8.  Home Improvement Forms & Guides

Looking for plan submittal information for major or minor remodels built in Scottsdale, AZ, then click here.

About the Author

A Scottsdale architect will help you avoid many common mistakes that are made with construction projects. No matter what kind of space you need today, we’ll make sure it’s designed for your needs in the future.  This will give you future function built into today’s home addition.  To set up an appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at

Architect in Phoenix
Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

“Architectural Design Strategies” for your Phoenix Floor Plan

Can your front yard be transformed into Private Outdoor Living?  Can the garage or bedroom you’re using today be tomorrow’s organized Home Office?  Is an In-Law Suite needed because of your changing life style?  We can help you use some simple “architectural design strategies” for your next home renovation that will evolve as your lifestyle changes.

Home Sketch 1“Architectural  design strategies” will be used by your Architect to transform your home into a functional and beautiful space for you now, yet has the designed-in flexibility to allow new uses as your lifestyle moves forward.  The next generation home remodels made by homeowners today are typically smarter, more efficient and more focused on good living, rather than designed merely to impress, according to a recent AIA article.  The goal is to work with your floor plan and make better use your existing space.  The promise is you can live more fully in your existing house, if you plan ahead and use the architectural services of a good Architect.

DESIGNLine Architects, LLC has identified three Architectural design strategies we’d like to share with anyone who is considering a modification to their floor plan.

Ideas for Outdoor Living Floor Plans in Phoenix

Home Sketch 2Curb Appeal.  The first thing homebuyers, family and friends will look at when they visit your home is your front yard, the color of your home, the landscaping, and the walkways.  You only have one chance to make a first impression.

Relationship of Inside to Outside.  Consider aligning the elements of the Outdoor and Indoor Kitchen.  This will simplify the plumbing and electrical connections.

Consider the View.  What is your view from each outdoor space? You most likely cannot alter the view, but you can maximize a good one, or minimize a bad one.  Also consider views of key plants from inside.

Functionality and Beauty.  Herb planters are an easy way to add beauty and functionality to the space. Well positioned low voltage yard lights, colorful outdoor candles, and lanterns add a sense of festivity, and light up the more remote corners of the yard.

Music sets the Mood.  A set of outdoor speakers can be used alone or as part of a larger entertainment system.  A small fountain in the background lends some soft water sounds to the rest of the yard.

Ideas for Home Office Floor Plans in Phoenix

Consider Location Carefully. Size and location are two main factors to address when adding a Home Office.  Consider how many people will use your office space.  Will you have client meetings?

Small Space Design. The corner of a room is probably the most effective way to re-design your floor plan to have an office with minimal cost or disruption.

Private Location. Consider a quiet, out of the way location for your Home Office like the attic, basement or enclosed porch.

Ideas for In-Law Suite Floor Plans in Phoenix

As people live longer and healthier lives, more families are finding it beneficial to provide a special space for aging parents by combining households.


Shower Sketch 1

Before Starting Remodel.  Open and honest discussion with your parent and other family members is an essential first step before remodeling.  This will help define the areas you need to change.

Safety and Comfort. Universal design or ADA-compliant living is one in which the occupant can use everything in the home safely without assistance.  Floor plan design features may include one-story living, no-step entryways, wide doorways, extra floor space, floors and bathroom features with no-slip surfaces, improved lighting and details such as lever door handles.

Think Creatively.  In addition to a bedroom, bathroom and closets, the In-Law Suite could include a kitchenette, laundry, living and dining area.  You could renovate the floor plan of a garage, bedroom, attic, office, basement, back porch, even a barn or freestanding cottage on your property.  Consider the help of an Architect to check the local zoning ordinances first before designing the house plans.

Start with a 3-D Sketch of your Phoenix House Remodel

Ask your Architect to draw a 3-dimensional hand-sketch that will allow you to visualize your architectural design ideas.  It will also help your contractor prepare an early cost estimate to verify your budget goals.

Home Remodel Architect Phoenix

Architect Phoenix
Doug Rusk
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

Phoenix New Home Design that “Fits the Way You Live, Now”

Does your Home Design fit your current lifestyle?




You’ve lived in your existing Phoenix home for many years and its served you well.  But for some time now you’ve realized that your needs have changed – maybe most of the kids are on their own, or a family member needs to move in, or maybe it’s just time to update your home.  Here are a few things to consider, if you are planning a remodel or new home design:


* Improve on what you already have.  Yes, your life is always in motion, but sometimes small changes to your home design can have a big impact.

* Write a list of all your household activities. The intent is to identify the way you live now and the way you’ll live in the future.

* Identify the big design ideas early on.  Ask your architect to draw a few conceptual 3D sketches of your space.  These quick sketches are a great starting point to convert your words and thoughts into visual pictures.

* Don’t rush to finish the design process. Let the ideas develop and evolve over time.  There WILL be a point when you will KNOW in your gut that your Phoenix new home design is complete.  Only then will we move to the finishing details.

What Feels like Home to You?

New-Home-Remodel-Architect-Designer-MesaWhere do we find and how do we incorporate the emotional qualities we want most in our Phoenix new home design?   Draw on the past to establish your feelings of home, and then incorporate them into your current lifestyle and needs.

* Childhood memories often contain vivid images and emotions that trigger feelings of joy and peacefulness.  As young people, we were more receptive to the simple pleasures of living.

* Perhaps the home you grew up in had a window seat just big enough for you and all your dolls or toy soldiers.  Maybe you remember your kitchen table was close enough to your mother at the stove so that you could hear her softly humming over the sounds and aroma of sizzling bacon?  Did your grandma live down a long tree lined road in a white farmhouse with a large wrapping porch, where you remember the fragrance of orange blossoms?

* It may surprise you to find that these nostalgic memories are at the center of your preferred design taste and desires.  Bringing these memories into a creative remodel or new home design process may assist you in making your space feel more like home.

Home is a Special Place, Where You can be You



No doubt that your architect will help bring these nostalgic memories and new home design goals to the surface.  But the following questions are designed to help stimulate your thoughts on what feels most like home to you.

* From other homes you’ve visited, what elements most appeal to you?

* What feelings do you want to have as you drive up the driveway or walk up to you new home?  Be specific.

* What is most important to you in a new home or remodel?

* Pleasant memories are helpful to your architect.  Think back to your favorite indoor childhood spaces.  Which rooms were most memorable?

             – Why did you enjoys those rooms?

             – How did those rooms make you feel?

These are only a few of the questions your architect will ask in order to gain an understanding of your ideas of home, your lifestyle and how you and he will incorporate them into your Phoenix new home design or remodel that fits the way you live now, and in the future.


Architect Phoenix
Doug Rusk
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

Cost Effective Tenant Improvement Ideas Phoenix

Compiled by Doug Rusk, Architect

Commercial Tenant Improvements

It’s been said that image is everything.  So when your customers walk into your office lobby, it should make a professional impression on them.  Enhancing the image and branding of your commercial offices doesn’t have to cost a lot.  There are many cost effective tenant improvement ideas listed below that we call “memory points” that will help your customers remember you, and improve the probability of that all important repeat business and referral.  Making only a few of these small changes will significantly transform your office space for the better.

Enhance your Reception/Lobby

tenant-improvement-Architect-Tempe* Adding texture and color to the wall directly under your reception counter is a great investment.  Like the front entry door, your reception desk can be very impressionable to your customer.  And depending on your office’s current theme or style, stone, brick veneer, wood or metal accents could be added.  Limit your palette to 2- 3 materials and colors.

* Upgrading the counter top material of the raised portion of your reception desk will focus your investment to just your customer’s reach.

* Adding a few new plants and painting the walls with a splash of sophisticated color is a very cost effective tenant improvement.


Dramatic Architectural Designs

tenant-improvement-Architect-Scottsdale* There are many ways to add dramatic architectural elements.   And surprisingly they can be cost effective tenant improvements.  A Phoenix architect can provide invaluable insight and design ideas.

* By inserting a few columns, beams, arches or lowered ceilings with wood or stone accents into your lobby,  your customer can’t help but see your company’s image as more successful and professional.  And the limited use of diagonal or curved element will add just the right amount od architectural drama needed to strengthen the room’s focal point.

* By adding these distinct architectural elements, it will improve your customer’s experience and help them remember you.

Upgrade Ceiling Treatment and Lighting

tenant-improvement-Architect-Chandler* Adding some architectural details to the existing T-bar ceiling in your lobby or conference room is a small, but effective, enhancement.

* Adding three (3) pendant lights over the reception desk is a very cost effective tenant improvement idea.

* Make your lobby more inviting by reducing the harsh florescent lighting and providing the ability for both bright and dim light.


Low Cost Commercial Office Remodel Ideas

tenant-improvement-Architect-Gilbert* Open the conference room up to the lobby with a glass wall.  Both rooms will feel larger and this  cost effective tenant improvement will also help convey your corporate policy of transparency.

* Add etched glass (or frosted film) to your conference room window located at a person’s sitting eye level.  This cost effective tenant improvement will provide privacy and reduce visual distractions.

* Hanging a world map on a prominent wall will convey a “global” image.

* Add or enhance your company’s sign and logo behind the reception desk.

* Modifying your window coverings will make a significant change, softening the window wall and absorbing sound where many hard surfaces exist.

* Enhancing you lobby’s coffee table will improve the center of the seating area.  And your customers will also love more comfortable seating, if required.

* Enhancing your company’s monument sign out on the curb and freshening up the landscaping are also good ways to improve your company’s image.

Keeping your existing customers and finding new ones are top goals of most business owners, right?  Implementing at least one or two of the “memory points” listed above will add value to your Tenant Improvement.  And improving your customer’s experience of their office visit will help them remember you in a professional light, and improve the probability of that all important repeat business and referral.

Phoenix Architecture Firms

Architect Phoenix Designer
Doug Rusk
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

Tenant Improvement Construction Costs and Design

by Doug Rusk
Principal of DESIGNLine Architects, LLC

Commercial Office Remodel

We’d like to share four “design tips” with anyone who is thinking about venturing into a Tenant Improvement for their commercial office or retail space.

1.  A Tenant Improvement Renovation is Much Like a Home Renovation.

tenant-improvement-Architect-TempeIn many ways your business is your home.  It’s where you and you staff spend most of your waking hours.  As you work with your Architect consider in detail each room; who will use them and how they’ll function.

– In the same way that the kitchen and the family room want to be interconnected, you want to customize your commercial space so it better fits the interactions of your staff and the functions they perform.

– The operations manager of a popular Wine Bar and Bistro, for example, noted recently how productivity improved after the layout was reworked for their wine retail area. The new layout greatly improved the customer flow in the Bistro area for both the customers and staff.

2.  The Branding of Your Firm Should be Emphasized in Your Tenant Improvement Design.

If you run a business, you own a brand. Whether done consciously or not, you have positioned your brand in the market and have an opportunity to emphasize that brand in your Tenant Improvement.

– The appearance of your lobby room, the signage and detail around the entry, and even your bathrooms should mirror the core values and the culture of you, your staff and your business.

– If you’re planning a remodel of your Dentist office, for example, then you might want to create a casual, comfortable social atmosphere, because that’s the primary market you’re targeting.

– On the other hand you may instead want to create more of a formal, professional, no nonsense atmosphere, because it meets your clients needs  and the key attributes and benefits they desire.

– So, as you work with your Architect to draw up plans, take time to define your brand. Look at what you stand-for personally and as a business, and what differentiates you from competitors.  Just going through the process of defining your brand can help you make distinctive design decisions that not only improve flow and function, but may inevitably help your business grow.

3.  Generic Construction Costs for a Typical Tenant Improvement

There is no such thing as a “typical” tenant improvement.  Each project has a different set of requirements that are determined by many varying tenant-improvement-Architect-Chandlerfactors.  This graph illustrates some approximate construction costs based on historical data that you can use as a reference point when considering a standard office improvement.  These figures are general and will most likely change based on your project’s scope and special requirements.

Again, we hope the estimated, ball park numbers to the right will help you come to terms with a realistic budget.

4. Determine Cost Estimate Early

– If you talk to the right Architect, they will help you identify your budget and design goals, and offer a low cost conceptual design package that will be complete enough to allow a qualified General Contractor to develop a +/- 20% cost estimate for your project.  Our goal is to provide a low cost option for you to confirm your budget, before moving forward.

– And when the final drawings and specifications are completed and the project is bid to the subcontractors, very accurate costs are locked in, assuming no design changes.

Phoenix Architecture Firms

Doug Rusk is the principal of DESIGNLine Architects located in Gilbert, Arizona.  DESIGNLine Architects specializes in office tenant improvements and residential design.  We will ensure your Office Tenant Improvement will look more attractive and welcoming to your customers, while also increasing efficiency for you and your staff.

Phoenix ArchitectDoug Rusk, Architect
DESIGNLine Architects

Home Additions Mean “Forward Planning” in Phoenix

by Doug Rusk, Architect

Home-Remodel-Designer-Mesa-house-plansCan a 3rd Car Garage Bay become a professional Home Office?  Can the Formal Dining room you live in today become tomorrow’s Game Room? It certainly can! And we can help you develop a “forward planning” approach for your next Home Addition that will evolve with your changing lifestyle and give you the added living space you need.  That’s value!

“Forward planning” Home Additions means working with your Architect to design a space that is functional and beautiful for you now, yet has the designed-in flexibility to allow new uses as your lifestyle moves forward.  DESIGNLine Architects, LLC has identified three “forward planning” tips we’d like to share with anyone who is considering a home addition or add-on:

Home Addition Idea #1: Home Office into En-Suite for your Guests:

Remodel-Home-Designer-ScottsdaleDoes your home office need more space?  If you design it with its own entrance today, then you’ll not only meet tax rules, you’ll also create a “forward planning” home addition that can later be used as a cozy Guest En-Suite. As part of your home office design, we’ll build in features that will make the room function well as your office today, so that later it will help elderly relatives enjoy a safe, yet independent stay. In addition, consider wood flooring rather than carpeting, lever-style handles rather than knobs, and a bathroom that can easily become accessible, even if mobility is not issue today.  Designer features such as built-in cabinets, a vaulted ceiling or a fireplace can give the office a professional feel today, while providing a touch of luxury for your future Guest En-Suite.

Home Addition Idea #2: Bedroom into Home Gym:

So you’re considering an extra bedroom and bathroom for the kids.  But what you really want, however, is a workout room and sauna.  By forward planning, your home addition an Architect can design the extra bedroom and bath for today’s needs and then, easily convert the space for your own personalized health club once the kids are off to school.

Home Addition Tip #3: Busy Family house into Empty Nest:

Home-Remodel-Designer-Tempe-House-PlansIf you have children, a spacious first-floor game room is a wise investment that provides the family many hours of fun. Thinking about today’s needs, this type of home addition should include ample storage for board games, open floor plan, and also walls and floors that are easy to clean and wear well.

Eventually the kids will have outgrown the game room.  That’s when all the work you spent “forward planning” a well-designed game room will easily be renovated into one of today’s most desirable home features: a first-floor Master Bedroom & Bathroom suite.  To make the conversion as easy as possible, make sure the size of the home addition will function well for today’s playroom AND the future master suite. Anticipate how storage space could work for toys now and a wardrobe later. Today’s remodeling might also include a half-bath, but with plenty of room in the floor plan to add a luxurious full bath down the road. When it comes to thinking ahead about your home addition, communication with your Architect is the key.

Home Renovations from Your Phoenix Architect

Chandler-Designer-Doug RuskNo matter what kind of space you need today, we’ll make sure it’s designed for your needs in the future.  This will give you future function built into today’s addition.  If you’d like to discuss how a “forward planning” approach can increase your living space and save you money, please give us a call.  To set up an appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at  We will ensure your Home Addition will look more attractive and welcoming, while also increasing efficiency and comfort for your family.

Home Remodeling Remains a Solid Investment in Phoenix, Arizona

Compiled by Doug Rusk, Architect

List of the Average Costs for 35 Popular Remodeling Projects in Phoenix, Arizona

Home-Remodel-Architect-MesaWhile the average age of the American home will soon reach 30 years old, more and more homeowners are considering a Home Remodel.  The costs of these major remodels, however, can be intimidating in today’s current market.  The lists below compares the average cost for 35 popular remodeling projects in the Arizona Region with the value those projects retain at resale.

According to 2010-11 Remodeling Online Cost Value Report, Home Improvement projects such as bath remodeling, room additions, kitchen updates, exterior elevation “facelifts”, and making energy efficiency improvements remain a solid investments for homeowners in relative to the value of their home and neighborhood.

What are the cost of some specific remodels?

Home Remodel Designer TempeTopping the 2010 -11 Home Remodel Cost Value Report for Phoenix is the replacement of your Steel Entry Door (102.1% recouped) and/or Garage Door (83.9% recouped), because they both improve curb appeal so well and, consequently, improve your home’s resale value.  For an estimated cost of between $970 – $1,197,  both projects rank at the top their respective categories for two main reasons: 1) They are among the least expensive projects in the survey, and 2) They both recoup the most from their investment.   Improving the curb appeal can affect a potential buyer’s first impression and your home’s resale value.

The fourth (4th) highest on the list this year is the Minor Remodel of your Kitchen, which will recoup 72.8% of the $21,046 in estimated costs.  According to the 2010-11 Cost Value Report “in a functional but dated 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry and countertops, leave cabinet boxes in place but replace fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and drawers, including new hardware. Replace wall oven and cooktop with new energy-efficient models. Replace laminate countertops; install mid-priced sink and faucet. Repaint trim, add wall covering, and remove and replace resilient flooring.”

Home-Remodel-Designer_Tempe-House-PlansThe seventh (7th) highest on the list this year is the Attic Bedroom Remodel, which will recoup 72.2% of the $51,428 in estimated costs.  According to the 2010-11 Cost Value Report “convert unfinished attic space to a 15-by-15-foot bedroom and a 5-by-7-foot bathroom with shower. Include a 15-foot shed dormer, four new windows, and closet space under the eaves. Insulate and finish ceiling and walls. Carpet floor. Extend existing HVAC to new space; provide electrical wiring and lighting to code. Retain existing stairs, but add rail and baluster around stairwell.”

Home Renovations in Phoenix Means First Starting with a Clear Plan

Most home owners underestimate the number of decisions they need to make their Home Remodel successful.  Proper planning helps you avoid spending extra money later.

  • – Start an image folder by compiling pictures of spaces and buildings you love.
  • – Write down a list of the rooms and functions you want  to consider.
  • – Identify your goals for project schedule and budget.
  • – Whether consulting with your architect or contractor for ideas and advice, there are a variety of decisions you’ll need to work through.  At DESIGNLine  ARCHITECTS we offer an alternative Design/Build approach that will pin down the cost question quickly, so you can make the decision to move forward.

Home Renovations From Your Phoenix Architects

To set up an appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at  We will ensure your Residential Remodel will look more attractive and welcoming, while also increasing efficiency and comfort for your family.

Architect Phoenix Designer


Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

Why Hire an Architect For Your Home Remodel or Custom Home in Phoenix?

Home-Remodel-Designer-PhoenixAre you considering a Home Remodel of your current home or building a new Custom Home?  If so, this can be such an exciting, yet overwhelming, adventure.  There are so many things to consider and how do you know where to start?

An Architect to Design Your New Custom Home in Phoenix?

If you are designing a new Custom  home, you may really want to consider hiring an Architect.  Ask yourself what your goals are?  Do you just want to pick a stock floor plan out of a book?  Or do you want to take the ideas in your head and create a custom floor plan that meets the needs of YOUR particular lifestyle?  What are the perimeters of your lot and the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s) for your community in Phoenix?  Confused already?  For these reasons and many more, hiring an architect will help you with all of these issues and provide you with a design that specifically meets your needs.

An Architect to Design the Remodel of your Home in Phoenix?

Home-Remodel-Designer-ScottsdaleIf you are considering a remodel to your existing home you may question if you need to hire an architect.  Of course, this really depends on the project.  Often times though an architect can provide design ideas that you may not have even considered, ones that will better achieve your original goals for Home Remodeling in the first place.  As they say measure twice, cut once.  A well designed and thought out house plan will give you the best results and a better value for your money spent.

What is an Architect?

There are many options to choose from when you are designing and executing a Home Remodel or building a new Custom Home.  There are draftspeople, designers, space planners, contractors, architects and many more titles that people call themselves.  In the state of Arizona one cannot call themselves an “Architect” unless they have been registered or licensed to practice architecture in the state.  To be a licensed or registered architect in the state of Arizona one must complete a bachelor’s degree in architecture, a 3 year internship and pass an extensive series of licensing tests administered by the State.  What exactly does that mean for you and your residential project?  Hiring an Architect for your project can provide you with a professional that has a wealth of knowledge and expertise that you may not find in an unlicensed designer.

How Do I Choose an Architect in Phoenix?

A good Arizona Architect should provide a no-cost, initial consultation.  This gives you a chance to run your basic ideas by them and get a feel for their design style and if they are someone you can work with.  It is important to find an Architect that you feel confident about and enjoy working with.  A good Architect will be able to help you realize and visualize your ideas on paper to result in a remodel or new build that best meets YOUR needs.  Many times there are several solutions to solve a problem and an Architect can help you define these.

About the Author

Doug Rusk is the owner and principal Architect at DESIGNLine ARCHITECTS.  He believes the initial consultation appointment is an important step for both the client and the Architect.  A relationship must be built in order to establish good communication.  This provides the best possible outcome for your project no matter how big or small.  To set up an appointment contact Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at to get started on your Home Remodel or new Custom Home Design.
Architect Phoenix Designer

Doug Rusk, Architect
DesignLine Architects, LLC
Gilbert, Arizona

Home Remodel Architect Mesa

By Doug Rusk, Architect

Think Strategic When Preparing a Home Remodel in Mesa

Home-Remodel-Architect-GilbertIncreasing the scale of your home is not always necessary when considering a Residential Remodel Mesa; Strategic remodeling is doing what your home needs to stay current – nothing more. 

Why is Obtaining a Building Permit So Important?

• City Requirement. If you are planning to update any part of your residence, like relocating plumbing, adding electrical, cutting into a bearing wall or adding more floor area, then your City’s building department will need construction drawings to be submitted for building permit approval.
• Real Estate Disclosure. Earning a building permit for your Home Reconditioning will assist you in the long run, because it will allow you to honestly disclose your renovation, if you were to sell your home down the line.

 Ask Questions Before Planning a Home Renovation in Mesa

“We consult with many homeowners each year to help them redesign their residence more to way they live now”, says Doug Rusk, owner of DESIGNLine ARCHITECTS. Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself prior to getting started:
• Do you have an estimated spending limit in mind? If you find yourself intending to stay in your house for a while, then consider separating the proposed design into separate phases. This tactic will spread out Residential Remodel expense over a few years.
• What is the typical resale price of houses in your community? After a little investigation, you can estimate the average sale price for homes in your community and then estimate what the “highest” is for your investment.
• Are you planning for a significant enhancement to your residence? If you’re planning to remain in the house for several more years, it’s probably worth spending a little more to deliver what you wish for.
• Or are you planning to sell soon? If you’re intending to move within the next few months or years, then a fancy Residential Redesign is probably not a good course of action, because you will stand less a chance of recouping your investment. You’re be more satisfied placing your attention on smaller things that get your house ready to sell, like a fresh coat of paint, trimming your shrubs or simply removing just a little clutter in your home office space.
• What kinds of home finishes and features are usually offered in your neighborhood? If your home has one bathroom, and all the other neighbors have two, then adding a second bath might be a good solution.

Having a CLEAR PLAN FIRST is Always a Great Idea

Most individuals underestimate the number of decisions they need to make their Home Remodel successful.   Proper planning helps keep you from exceeding your budget later on.
Home-Remodel-Architect-Gilbert• Start an image folder by clipping photos of spaces and finishes you enjoy.
• Develop a list of the spaces and functions you want to include.
• Determine your goals for project timetable and budget.
• Whether meeting with your architect or contractor for ideas and advice, there are a number of decisions you’ll need to deal with. At DESIGNLine ARCHITECTS we offer an alternative Design/Build strategy  that will pin down the cost question quickly, so you can decide to move ahead.

Searching for a Residential Restoration Professional – Get in touch with Your Architect

Gilbert Designer Doug RuskTo arrange a consultation get in touch with Doug Rusk at 480-710-3861 or email us at We will ensure your Home Remodel look more beautiful and welcoming, while also increasing efficiency and comfort for your family.