This evening I finally got in to reading some of the April Architectural Record. This month’s issue is mostly Record Houses 2009, so I thought I’d come up with a post about one of the houses. And while they are stunning, another article intrigued me more. It’s an interview with John Morefield, a designer in Seattle selling architecture advice for 5 cents at the farmer’s market. He has a stand with a sign reading Architecture 5 cents (a la Lucy from the Peanuts comic strip) and he’s not only solved a few problems for those who may not have otherwise saught the advice of an architect, he’s also gained clients.
I written before about getting creative during these troubled economic times. This article struck a chord with me because not only have I had two friends tell me of lay-offs at their respective firms this past week, but I, too, am trying to drum up work of this very sort. I think his method is brilliant. In the interview, Morefield explains that he was laid off twice last year and decided he needed to try and work on his own. This method of paying 5 cents for a few minutes of design advice is much less intimidating for the average homeowner looking to make their house more palatable. In just a few minutes, Morefield can usually ascertain whether or not a project is feasible and explain how the process might work for a client. From these weekend meetings, he’s been able to generate enough work to keep him busy and he’s also marketing himself as a reasonable and approachable individual.
I think the tide is changing from those trying to make a quick flip to those coming to terms with the fact that they may be in their home for a while, so they might as well make it as enjoyable as possible. I love the challenge of these sorts of projects- finding the potential in an existing house or just bringing out the best features so that a homeowner can be proud of where they live. Apparently, Morefield would like to expand his business to other cities so that there is something like Architecture 5 cents New York or Boston. What do you guys think- if you saw me at a stand at a farmer’s market in Athens, would you drop 5 cents in the can?
For more information, check out Morefield’s website, www. Architecture5cents.com.