Michelle Kusanovich, Architect, AIA

a design firm where quality, care and success are always in construction

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do you do remodel work, additions or new construction projects?

YES.  All of the above. My projects range from new construction, whole house remodels, large scale additions, second story additions, basement additions, to kitchen and bath remodels, master suite additions and remodels, as well as street-front aesthetic up-grades.  I have worked on TI office spaces, code analysis, landscape design, public structures, restaurant/market places and religious spaces as well.

 

Do you care about the environment?

YES.  Whenever possible, I work to include solar power, water reclamation, drought-tolerant planting, rainwater run-off calming, water table support, as well as working with the site-specific sun and wind patterns to enhance your building's functionality without solely relying on mechanical systems.

 

Do you have engineers that you work with?

YES.  I have been working with my talented structural engineer almost exclusively for 12 years.  I also collaborate with qualified Title-24 Engineers, Surveyors and Civil engineers who may participate in your project.  You will contract directly with these engineers and I do not charge a typical mark-up.

 

Do I need an interior designer for my project?

NO.  I work with you to create all the permanent finishes and fixtures that you will see, use and enjoy once your project is completed.  With your guidance I will design and specify tile patterns, slabs, paint colors, grout, flooring, cabinetry, doors and windows, plumbing fixtures and electrical fixtures.  My firm also offers full interior design services, creating suites of furnishings that compliment your new and existing spaces.  Our industry trade discounts are passed on to you, greatly off-setting the investment of our exceptional interior design services.

 

Do I need to worry about finding a contractor?  

NO.  I have some wonderful general contractors that I will recommend to you based on the scope of your project.  These are contractors that I trust, who do quality work, build beautifully crafted projects, are kind, polite and respectful of you and your personal belongings.  If you have a contractor that comes well-regarded to you by many sources or with whom you have worked with before, I am happy to make their acquaintance and start a new relationship.

 

How do you charge or what is your fee scale?

I charge hourly for Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding and Negotiations, and Construction Administration

 

What are the picture galleries all about on your home page?

The tabs at the top of the home page are each completed construction projects, projects under construction or projects in some stage of design.  You will find the most recent photos first, but as you scroll down you will see the process of construction and design. The existing property before the project started will be the last image/s.  A proper construction project will include an engaged architect, making sure all details are executed according to plans and unanswered questions and handling of unforeseen circumstances handled in a timely, direct, undramatic yet creative manner.   Beware of contractors that do not want to have an architect involved in the construction process.  An architect is on-site to act as your advocate, with a wide knowledge base of construction and how construction and billing processes should be handled.  Read up and do your research.  A contractor that wants you to themselves will have a lot of power over you, soon making you feel like you are 'over a barrel' as I have sadly heard from people that have made unwise choices about who to trust with their greatest investment.  Also know that the lowest bottom line contract price is rarely the lowest price overall.  Be ready for a lot of hidden defects, surprises, and change orders. 

 

Do you have references?

Of course!  I will send a list at your request.

 

Do you like inspirational design images and how can I share mine with you?

YES.  Please see my Instagram feed by clicking on the camera icon at the bottom right.  You can create your own folder of inspirational design images on sites such as Houzz (for residential projects) or elsewhere like Pinterest and share the folder with me.   You can also keep hard-copies collected in a binder that I can keep on-hand while designing your project.  My office walls are often adorned with your inspirational images as I design your project. 

 

Where are you located?

You can find my office on Church Street in Los Gatos, in the Casa Antigua building, which is across Main Street from the Library and the Town Civic Center.   To find my suite, enter from the street, through the "Casa Antigua" set of iron gates located near the center of the building.  Go down a set of beautifully worn brick stairs from the 1800's, and straight on to Suite 1.