What is an Architect?

An architect is a licensed professional with the health, safety, and welfare of the general public as their first priority.  They work together with their clients to design houses, buildings, and structures, while providing construction documents to contractors.  


A licensed architect is registered with the state in which they work through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).  The licensing process includes completion of three main components: (1) graduation from a architecture program, at a school accredited by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), (2) the Intern Develop Program (IDP) which consists of a list of activities culminating in 3 years of work experience, (3) passing the series of 5 Architectural Registration Exams (ARE).

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Stephanie White, NCARB

Stephanie is a life-long architect.  She began drawing houses at 8 years old and hasn't stopped for 30+ years.  She has a bachelor of science in architecture & a master of architecture with concentrations in sustainability and historic preservation from Lawrence Technological University.  She interned with Poole & Poole Architecture, Walter Parks Architect, & Ekocite Architecture.  She passed her final ARE in October of 2018.  

Sylvaleur contracts with other licensed architects, designers, engineers, contractors, artists, investors, developers & homeowners. 

About the Design Process


Whether you're looking to add on to your current home or build new, we typically start with a site visit, a property survey and a quick check with your site's zoning ordinance to make sure what you're hoping to do is feasible.  If you don't already have a survey, you can order one from a local surveyor or civil engineer.  The survey needs to show the property lines and all improvements so we can understand where everything is located.  Once we've determined the project is feasible, Sylvaleur uses the survey to create an architectural site plan. 

We will also discuss your budget for construction vs. rough estimates of your wish list.  Since nothing has been designed these estimates are very rough.  Some costs to consider will be: survey, possible civil engineering, architectural services (interior design & structural engineering can be included), demolition/construction, landscaping (if not in construction).  


Once we know your project is feasible, Sylvaleur will write a proposal for architectural services, which will include interior design and structural engineering should your project necessitate it.  If you agree with the proposal, you sign and return it, and it then becomes our contract. 

Existing Conditions

If you're planning a home addition, Sylvaleur will field measure, draw and photo document your existing home.  We draw everything as it is to use in our first schematic design. 

Schematic Design

The schematic design phase is when Sylvaleur gets to know you and the problem you want to solve.  We ask lots of questions, and sketch out various ideas, considering all facets of the project at a large scale.  Utilizing 3D software, we discuss things like priorities, expectations, the objective, style, and massing.


Design Development 

Once you’ve chosen the layout you desire, we further develop the design at a smaller scale.  We refine things like traffic patterns, arranging of spaces, and materials.  We go back and forth until we arrive at the best outcome.  

Construction Documents

At this stage, the design has been agreed upon and Sylvaleur gets to work on the drawings and details needed to construct your project.  Minor changes will likely happen along the way as we dive deeper into the smallest scale of the project concerning things like structure and foundations.  


When we finish, you'll receive the completed pdf set of drawings that have been signed and sealed.  You can give this document to your general contractor (or several general contractors if you haven't selected one already).  The contractor will likely send it out to the subcontractors to provide you with a quote for construction cost.  Once you select the general contractor, they will submit the construction document set to apply for building permits.  The construction document set also becomes a contract between you and the contractor (if items not included in the set are added later, it will come in the form of a change order and additional cost).


Construction Administration

Throughout the construction process, Sylvaleur is available to answer questions, provide more detailed sketches if needed.  Site visits are determined on a per project basis.

Enjoying your new home

Typically the contractor gets all the feedback from the homeowners, but please keep us in the loop!  We love hearing stories and seeing pictures of the process and the happily ever after!