Red Barn FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

We design custom homes in a variety of styles, from contemporary to traditional. Our comprehensive services include feasibility studies, master planning, architectural design, and interior design. Our expertise is in new construction and substantial renovations with or without an addition. We primarily serve the North Shore, the New Hampshire Seacoast, and up to Mid-Coast Maine. For the right project, we will travel. Just ask!

Yes! Red Barn has completed a number of high performance projects, ranging from Passive and Net Zero houses to traditional builds with green infrastructure and systems. We believe that all houses can be built more responsibly and welcome the opportunity to guide our clients through decisions that will result in a more energy efficient home. We have valuable relationships with engineers, builders, and vendors to assist in these decision points. Download our Green Design Guide to learn how your home can be more energy efficient.

As is typical with architecture services, we base our pricing on a percentage of the estimated construction costs. The percentage will change based on the complexity of the project. We offer tiered service packages based on your specific project needs and budgetary goals. Typically, our fees start at $35,000 and increase depending on the project's complexity. We utilize a mix of fixed fees and hourly pricing to give you flexibility in controlling a portion of the design costs.


One of the key benefits of involving an architect is the potential for future cost savings. A well-coordinated plan minimizes the risk of costly errors and changes during construction. By anticipating and addressing potential issues early in the design phase, architects can prevent expensive modifications and delays, ultimately leading to a more efficient and cost-effective project.

We require a non-refundable $2,500 deposit to initiate work, after which you will be billed monthly on a percentage completion basis. We only bill for work in hand. We do not accept credit cards and do not offer financing options.

We will help you establish a budget using a cost-per-square-foot basis until a builder is selected. The multiplier varies based on our understanding of the desired fit and finish for your project. We advise clients to assume a minimum of $500 per square foot for ground-up construction.


We recommend engaging a contractor early to cost-check the project at key design milestones. If you prefer a competitive bid, we will identify potential building partners after completing the Design Development phase and request preliminary pricing. Once the Construction Documents are finalized, we will redistribute them for formal bidding.

The design process typically takes 4 to 8 months depending on the size of your project. The duration can vary based on the project's scope and complexity, as well as your ability to provide timely feedback and meet deadlines. If coordination with the Zoning Board of Appeals or other regulatory boards is required, it can add three months to our timeline. 

We do! Our Full Service Package includes interior design for a seamlessly coordinated project. We also offer a la carte, hourly interior design services. As part of our interior design services, we help select finishes, fixtures, and furnishings and can aid in procurement as well.

Absolutely. We believe renovating an existing home is both a green and economically sound choice. We also believe old homes are worth saving. They are a part of our cultural history and they don’t build them like they used to! Depending on the age of your home, we can provide guidance on historic restorations, rehabilitation, or renovation and addition options.

All clients enjoy direct access to Ryan and Caitlin. Your project will also be assigned to a dedicated project manager, who will produce your drawing set and support Ryan and Caitlin.

We use the latest Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology to model all projects from existing conditions to construction documents. At any point in the project, we can provide 3D views (exterior and interior) and can use this technology during construction for coordination of work. We also offer in-house color renderings to bring our designs to life.

We capture the design intent for hardscaping elements such as walkways, patios, driveways, and walls. Additionally, we have a network of trusted landscape designers and contractors who can advise on planting selections and handle the installation, ensuring a cohesive and beautifully executed outdoor space.

Red Barn’s base package includes structural framing plans. We will advise you if the nature of your project requires engaging a Structural Engineer. We can also recommend Mechanical and Civil Engineers if the project requires them.

While Red Barn does not offer construction management services, we remain engaged throughout construction as an owner’s advocate. Having our team engaged during construction ensures that what we design is what gets built.

We have relationships with many vetted and trusted contractors and are always open to working with new people. We will suggest builders who would be a good fit for your budget and project and welcome others' suggestions.

Before putting pen to paper, we perform zoning and code research for your desired project. We will identify by-right projects and flag any areas that may require special permits or variances and advise on the likelihood of securing these approvals. Having practiced on the North Shore for nearly 20 years, Ryan has relationships with all local Building Departments and can have informal conversations as a project develops to ensure compliance.

If the desired design triggers approvals (zoning, historic review, conservation commission, etc), we will shepherd you through this process. Additionally, Red Barn will prepare all materials needed by your builder to pull a Building Permit.

Projects naturally evolve over time. Our Concept and Schematic Phases are iterative in nature and multiple schemes are included in our process. As we move into Design Development and Construction Documents, we will be further developing a preferred scheme, but accept that small changes and refinements will continue. Should there be changes requested after the Construction Document set has been released, these changes will be treated as an hourly, Additional Service.

Ryan is licensed to practice architecture in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. His portfolio includes projects in Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Florida. Through NCARB he can secure reciprocal registrations in any other state besides Florida and California (where professional licensure boards require additional steps). Ryan is a member of the American Institute of Architects and also carries a Massachusetts Construction Supervisor License.

We carry Professional Liability Insurance as well as Workers’ Compensation.

The best place to start is with a Discovery Call! Complete our Contact Us form to tell us about your project and we will reach out to schedule your call.

Want to learn more?

Click to learn about OUR PROCESS or visit our CONTACT page if you’d like to get in touch with us.