Home Addition Q&A with Areté’s Architectural Associate Benjamin Wilson

  1. What considerations are crucial when planning to build a CUSTOM HOME?

Building a custom home offers a unique opportunity to create a space that perfectly suits your family’s needs, whether it’s intended as your forever home or a long-term residence. The most critical first step is to assemble a professional team with extensive experience in both design and construction. This is why choosing a Design & Build firm for your project, regardless of its size, is a wise decision. Such a firm ensures a seamless integration of design and construction processes, providing significant advantages.

  1. Why is opting for a Design & Build firm more beneficial?

A Design & Build firm harmonizes the design and construction phases under one roof, offering multiple benefits:

  • Budget Management: This approach allows for a clear initial budget setting, covering all aspects from architectural and engineering involvement to material and labor estimates. It enables adjustments to be made while keeping the core design intact, ensuring the project remains within financial boundaries.
  • Enhanced Communication: With over two decades of experience, we exemplify how internal communication amongst architects, designers, and subcontractors can preemptively address potential issues, ensuring client expectations are consistently met. Leveraging technology like Coconstruct software further streamlines this process.
  • Feasibility Alignment: Our comprehensive team involvement from design through construction guarantees the project’s feasibility, ensuring the final construction matches the initial drawings, models, and renders precisely.
  1. Can you outline the project’s lifecycle from conception to completion?

The project lifecycle encompasses several stages:

  • Initial Consultation and Architectural Drawings Development: Begins with a site visit, survey, and the creation of architectural drawings, followed by city approval for necessary permits.
  • Design Development: Post-drawings, the design phase involves detailed 3D modeling, material selection, and interior design conceptualization.
  • Material Estimate and Bidding Process: Concurrently, estimators work on labor proposals while the design team compiles a detailed material estimate, culminating in a client presentation to finalize the budget and scope.
  • Project Management: Upon material procurement, the Project Manager oversees the coordination of trades, quality control, and adherence to the project schedule through to completion, ensuring smooth transitions and timely execution.
  1. Which projects, remodels, or additions offer the best value to a home?

The Cost vs Value 2023 report highlights that while large-scale additions like second-story expansions or major kitchen remodels yield a 30% to 40% return, smaller upgrades such as siding replacement or HVAC improvements can offer returns between 70% to 103%. It’s crucial to avoid over-investing beyond the neighborhood’s standards to ensure a favorable investment return.

home addition


This comprehensive remodel included a new deck, upgrades to the mudroom, kitchen, and living areas, and the addition of a second floor with a studio, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a laundry. The project was ambitious, with a final cost exceeding $600,000 and a timeline of 10.5 months, demonstrating the Areté Team’s ability to manage significant, complex projects efficiently.

Ready to transform your house into the dream home you’ve always envisioned? At Areté, we’re committed to turning your ideas into reality with precision and creativity. Our experienced Design & Build team is here to guide you every step of the way, from the initial concept to the finishing touches. Don’t wait any longer to start your bespoke home project. Contact us today at 773.683.3033 for a consultation and discover how we can help you create a space that truly reflects your style and meets your needs. Your dream home awaits—let’s make it happen together.