Q: What is Flipsketch?
A: Flipsketch is a web-based platform conceived to help streamline the delivery of top-notch design to smaller budget projects. This service is well-suited for renovations and retrofits of existing spaces such as houses, apartments, offices, retail stores, and the like. We even work on additions and new construction.
Outside of this online platform our practice is much broader, including apartment buildings, site planning, office and retail design.
Flipsketch is best-suited for preliminary design: Space planning and conceptualization for homes and other small spaces. We help you determine if you need more, and if so, where to find those services.
Q: What can I expect to receive?
A: We’ll email you floor plans (and in some cases, 3D views) that respond to your short-term requirements and long-term goals. You can expect high-quality, thoughtful solutions that are both “tried and true” and inspired. We love to create elegant and simple spaces that are a joy to live and work in, but also to make spaces with an eye on your long-term investment.
The floor plans we send will reflect these core values and more.
Q: I don't even own a tape measure. How can I provide measurements?
A: No worries! There are dozens of ways of providing measurements these days. Not long ago, architects and builders were the only providers of this service. Now you can even hire Home Depot to do it for you! We'll guide you through the various ways we accept measurements.
Q: How soon can I expect to see my designs?
A: In real time. That's right! We sketch while on a video call together.
Q: What happens next?
Our preliminary design sketches are offered via a web-based screen-share. You’ll have the opportunity to review the design drafts during the call directly with your architect (by voice or text as you prefer). During this work session, we give you the opportunity to mark up or comment on the designs any way you see fit.
Q: What if my designs just need a little “tweaking” after our call?
A: No problem! We want you to love your design, and a solid feedback loop is critical to that success. We offer one complementary revision after the call.
If the scope of work changes, that’s no problem! Changes of mind are part of the process sometimes. We do charge a nominal fee for re-design, but we try to avoid it. Rest assured, our goal is to make this work for the stated price. There are no hidden fees.
Q: Do you offer a guarantee?
A: Unlike standard architecture contracts Flipsketch offers a money back guarantee. Our scope is limited and we’re not afraid to go out on that limb. We can’t promise you the moon, but we can promise thoughtful design for a great price.
After our preliminary design screen-share meeting, if you aren’t satisfied with our results, we’ll refund you. That’s how confident we are in our ability to help you. Our store policies can be accessed from the checkout window.
Q: Do you work in my region? How about internationally?
A: Flipsketch is focused on preliminary/sketch architectural design in the United States. We are experienced practitioners familiar with US dimensional standards, products, and building techniques. Currently we are licensed in DC, VA, MD, and WV...with more on the way.
Q: How do I know if my house is "right" for Flipsketch?
A: There's no space we can't solve. Our skills are honed by years of practice experience, and we always welcome a challenge! Quirky layout?...No problem! Some of our most enjoyable projects have been surprising transformations of unusual spaces.
Q: Is this a "drafting service"?
A: No. We are designers first and foremost. If all you really need is a blueprint of your current space, then Flipsketch is probably not right for you.
Q: Do you offer permit drawings?
A: Yes, but only in select markets. We offer preliminary sketch designs (for single-family homes) in many states. Currently we only offer “signed and sealed” permit drawings in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington DC. However we don't always have the bandwidth to complete full drawing sets for all of our customers.
We view the real value of Flipsketch as providing easy access to high-quality "concept" design. Whether you choose to construct right away or not, our designs are a critical first step in your renovation project.
After we understand your project better, we’ll do our best to help you determine whether you require a permit in the first place. (For example, cosmetic updates often do not; new houses & additions always do.)
Q: Who "owns" my designs for copyright purposes?
A: You do! We offer a one-time free to use license for the designs we provide our customers. Traditionally, architects and interior designers fight hard to maintain copyrights of drawings, final photography, or other promotional material resulting from their designs--for good reason. At Flipsketch, we say, “Do what you like with it!” We are not in the self-promotion business, we’re in the 'Make Great Design Affordable and Accessible' business.
This is a DIY community. We don’t believe in taking credit. Our goal is to simply give you access to top quality, professional, custom design for a low price; what you do with it is up to you: Take it directly to a licensed contractor to permit and build; even take it to another designer for additional refinement if you like. This would be heresy in the conventional design industry… at Flipsketch, we see things differently.
Q: Can I speak directly to my designer?
A: Our platform is set up for efficient communication from the very start. We share comments and markups in real-time to mimic the “iterative” design process that you’d see in any architectural studio.
However, in order to offer quick & bespoke design solutions for home design projects, we can’t spend lots of time on open-ended discussion. We offer additional phone call and screen share consults on a fee-for-time model. If you feel your project requires more in-person guidance -- as many projects do indeed -- you would likely be better-served contacting your local chapter of the AIA. There are scores of dedicated and sensitive designers in your region who may be able to assist you.
Q: Why shouldn’t I simply hire a local architect?
A: You should! …if you can afford it. We found a flaw in conventional architectural practice: Smaller renovation projects just aren’t worthwhile to most firms. The overhead is too high, the profit margin is too low. Rather than turning down this work for lack of bandwidth, we decided to retool the paradigm using modern technologies that increase our ability to communicate, measure, and design faster than ever before. At Flipsketch, you’ll have access to the same professional and experienced design, but for a fraction of the price.
Q: Maybe a silly question, but what is an architect?
A: Not a silly question! You might be surprised how many people don’t really understand what an architect does.
We’re all familiar with doctors, lawyers, and engineers. Like those fields, architects are board-licensed professionals with years of graduate-level training, internships, licensing exams, ongoing continuing education and all the responsibility (and liability) that comes with it. We are best understood as master planners of the built environment.
Building design is only part of it. Architects specialize in space planning, interior design, urban design/planning, environmental consulting, product specifications, project management, construction administration, engineer coordination, cost estimating, and yes, building design — which includes a little bit of all of these specialties.