Do You Know Your Architect’s Favorite Color?

Getting to know Aryo Falakrou, Architectural Technologist

Aryo Falakrou MyHomedesigner favorite color
Aryo Falakrou MyHomedesigner

Do you know your architect’s favorite color? If not, then you are gambling with your life. The quality of our lives is dominated by the quality of space we live in. If you are about to build or renovate, then you have a golden opportunity to upgrade the quality of your life. Who designs the quality of your life? Your architect.

That’s a big responsibility. You are giving someone the task of designing your quality of life for the next 10 to 30 years. Not something you hand over on just because you see a good portfolio.

Choosing your architect isn’t just important, it’s life-changing.

What You Want to Look for in an Architect, Apart From a Favorite Color

If you want a spectacular success in your project, you must know precisely who your architect is. That you drill deeper to find out what truly motivates them, influence them, guide them when they create spaces. To clarify, you should know them as well as they know themselves, down to their favorite color.

Red Flags: What Architect Is NOT For You

The architect who believes that he always knows better. The kind that imagines, once the client sees the final project, will wrap them in their arms offering eternal apologies for questioning the genius. It is great when this happens, except that it often doesn’t. As a result, the clients are forced to live in an overpriced house that was someone else’s dream. That isn’t the house they wanted or asked for.

How Can You Make Informed Decisions on Whom to Choose?

Fortunately, drawing an accurate bead on your ideal architect is quite easy to do. If you ever watched a crime show on TV, you’re halfway there already.

CSI Your Architect (Favorite Color Not Included)

Watch one of the CSI show, or just about any crime show built around the investigative process and you’ll see that one of the key tools the investigator uses is to narrow down their options is to create an in-depth profile of all the suspect’s habits, dislikes, past history, known associates and driving personality.

Similarly, your goal is to create a multi-dimensional profile of your idea architect.

From there, you want to fill in all the business and personal details you can gather. Avoid making this a flat, one-dimensional view. It’s more than just a job description. What you’re really after is a rich, multi-dimensional profile that embodies the mindset, attitudes, experiences, habits and goals of the architect who is going to translate your goals and dreams into a place of life.

To help, I am going to make your CSI profile on me a lot easier. This Q&A will give you an inside look at my past, present and future.

waterfront home
Waterfront home

What Is Aryo’s Background?

Born and raised in Iran, he left his native homeland for Vancouver without a word of English at the age of 33.

Before the move in 1997, life was good for Aryo in Iran. He was working on some incredible projects, designing high-rises and shopping malls in the capital city, Tehran. Opportunities were opening fast, but his eyes were elsewhere. He wanted to develop himself as a designer and saw North America as the place he could reach his full potential faster.

Why Canada, Why Vancouver?

From North America, Canada was in his vision, and Vancouver was the warmest metropolitan city in Canada. He loved people in Vancouver, and he felt home the first year he arrived.

What happened when he moved to Vancouver?

To sum up, he arrived in Vancouver alone, unable to communicate, without a job but with an ingrained work ethic and a burning desire to succeed.

The employment market for architects in the late 90s was tough for anyone, let alone a newly arrived immigrant. He focused on improving his communication skills and learned the building codes and permit processes, which were very different from Iran. Still, it took him over a year to land his firm job.

What Work Was He Doing?

Aryo started short term contracts moving jobs every six months as each project finished. Working for 14 different firms within seven years was like riding a project-roller-coaster with every different type of project you could imagine. The pace was relentless and exhausting. But then again, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Aryo became much stronger and increased his already impressive work ethic.

When Did He Start His Business?

By 2006 he was married. Aryo had walked through the fire, overcoming the language barrier and developing a knowledge base of local zoning and building codes better than anyone in the city.

So he buckled up and started his firm with high hopes. Nothing could stop him. Unfortunately, it was terrible timing. Consequently, his business turned to a sitting duck just in time for the 2008 global financial meltdown. Desperate for survival, he had to downsize and take his office into his home.

How Did He Cope With the Recession When There Were No Design Contracts?

In the beginning, his policy was not to accept any contracting jobs because he wanted to stay focused on design. However, as the times are tough, and bills need to be paid, he had to compromise. He ended up taking jobs as a contractor, working alongside tradespeople and builders. While this was a step away from the design work he wanted so badly to be doing, this experience strengthened his construction knowledge and the challenges tradespeople are facing daily.

What Drives Aryo, Besides Favorite Color?

As you might have already picked up, Aryo is ambitious. He wants to do incredible work. He also wants to create works of art that are iconic, alive, and multi-dimensional. By thinking outside the box, he wants to make an impact on the world and the lives of his clients. In short, Aryo thrives on challenges and standing out from the crowd.

How Does Aryo’s Ambition Benefit Me As a Client?

The typical architect doesn’t put enough effort into understanding the client. His approach is to understand his clients, their goals, their inspiration, life desire, and comfort zone. In the words of Aryo: “The other day I told my builder to work as if the home he was building was built for Oprah.”

“I ask a lot of myself and the people who work on my projects,” he says. “We all need to work as if the Queen is going to be taking a tour here.” That is how he works. Every project is as if the client is someone incredibly important.

What Is He Against?

There is a significant trend nowadays for sustainable homes. While he loves the idea of sustainability and he preaches to his clients as much as he can, he also values the aesthetic of the final product. Net Zero, Passive House, or high-performance buildings don’t have to look ugly. Luxury homes can be energy efficient too. Therefore, he puts most of his effort to make sure function, beauty and sustainability can best satisfy the needs of his clients.

Who Does Aryo Admire and Why?

Aryo likes to create places that change and motivate the people who live and work there. Along those lines, he admires business geniuses Richard Branson and Elon Musk and in the architectural world Zaha Hadid. He appreciates the way they think big when everyone around them is thinking small.

Elon Musk wants to conquer Mars and very well may do that. What type of thinking does it take to reach Mars?

Thinking outside the box gets you to Mars. Additionally, it gets Aryo’s clients into their dream homes. Aryo has learned to think bigger than he used to because he has also engaged in personal and business development through the Bob Proctor Coaching program. Aryo has learned a lot AND he implements it. The years of working hard to stay in business had made him think realistically. While he does think outside the box, he is not a risk-taker. Every choice that is made on a project is in favor of the client.

How Does Aryo Define Success?

It took him a long time to remind himself that his driving passion is to leave a footprint, a small ecological one, and a large one on the world as a whole. It is this passion that brought him from Iran to Vancouver, where he is now pioneering his firm, My Home Designer.

What Is His Design Philosophy?

Aryo ultimately values three things:

Harmonizing nature and ancient philosophy with modern architecture

Incorporating sustainability into an ideal lifestyle

Aligning each dream home with the goals of its occupants

“Your home should be a reminder of who you really are and where you are going,” Aryo says. “When it’s well designed, it can inspire you to live your life to the fullest.”

This new chapter begins by opening your imagination, that of a child so we can translate a sanctuary from your youth into your dream home. When he interviews his clients, he draws out their goals and personalities. Through this lens, building your dream home and lifestyle is possible by incorporating shapes, forms, light, and of course, a favorite color.

What Is Aryo’s Favorite Color?

Good question, his favorite color is blue with a touch of red!

Renovate an Old House vs Building a New One

Renovate an Old House vs Building a New One

Sometimes we may be faced with deciding to keep an existing home or tearing it down and starting over. Is it worth keeping an old house and remodelling or renovating it or should you tear it down and start over?

How do you assess whether or not to renovate/remodel or tear down and build new?

It is important to get your architect, designer or engineer involved right at the beginning, even your realtor if you are considering purchasing an older house. You also need to find out what your local municipality requires when it comes to heritage houses.

If you already own the house and want to renovate, you may have an idea of what will need to be replaced and any restrictions that the City and/or the historical society has. However, if you are looking to buy an older house, you should be very thorough in the assessment of it.

Those who are thinking about acquiring an older house should enlist the help of their realtor to assist in finding out if the house has been registered with the local heritage society and what their requirements or restrictions are for remodeling and renovating. You don’t want to purchase an older house only to find out that you cannot put in a stand-up shower with modern fixtures next to the claw foot bathtub.

Other things to consider when thinking about purchasing an older house are: how old is the house? When was the electrical wiring last updated; has it ever been updated? How current is the existing plumbing? If you upgrade the plumbing (not just the fixtures), will the City require you to upgrade your sewer and water connections at street level? How much will that cost? What about insulation, windows, the roof and the foundation? When you purchase the house, these last items should be given first priority before anything else.

Remember, in the city of Vancouver there would be necessary to apply for permit for any upgrade in the house. If the house has older wiring and plumbing it is highly recommended to have it upgraded. Usually during the upgrade, the trades need to open the drywalls and run the new lines. Most important of all, you have to make sure the old house does not contain any asbestos. That can be determined by a certified contractor.

I had a client who was planing to do a minor renovation in their new bought home and after the asbestos test result came positive, they end up to remove the drywall from the entire house and upgrade their insulation as well.

I had another client who couldn’t make up her mind if it’s benificial for her to renovate or re-built.

Renovating might cost over $200,000 less (it depends on the each house and extend of renovation) compare to re-building, but if you ever thinking of re-selling the house, the title on the house will never changes as the date is built. It will consider an old house with a major renovation which might effect on your asking price determination.

Concrete meant to serve 100 years and if you buy a 50 year old house, it’s foundation passed it’s half of it’s lifetime. Spending $400K to $600K to renovate an existing house might be good for environment to re-use some of existing material and the style of the house, but at the same time you have check the economic feasibility of new built vs. renovation.

In summary, some things to consider if renovating are:

  • When was the house built?
  • Is your house designated heritage?
  • What is your budget and are you prepared to go over budget if needed to meet industry standards, municipal and heritage requirements?
  • Is there any asbestos in the house and how much does it cost to remove it if there is any
  • Will the electrical wiring need to be upgraded?
  • Will the plumbing need to be upgraded? Will that require new sewer/water connections?
  • Do the windows need to be replaced to get a better insulation value and how much that would cost?
  • Will the walls need to be deepened to accommodate thicker insulation?
  • Where will you stay; in the house or somewhere else? What is the cost of staying somewhere else?
  • Do you have children and/or animals that will be affected by being in the house or displaced during renovation?
modern bathroom designer

modern bathroom designer

And some things to consider if building new:

  • What is your budget? Is your budget flexible?
  • What are the building requirements for your local municipality?
  • How long is it going to take?
  • Where are you going to live while the house if being built? How much will that cost?
  • Are you going to use the house as an income property (rent it out) or live in it?
  • How long do you expect to live in the house when you are finished?

Check out the following blog posts on about renovations in Vancouver:

What You Should Know and Do Before Renovating Your House In Vancouver and

What You Should Know and Do Before Renovating Your House In Vancouver – Part 2

Here are some documents you can download to help with your decision-making process:

Design Team Meeting – Renovations

Design Team Meeting – New Home

Deciding whether to renovate an existing house or to tear it down and start over is when you definitely should seek the advice of experts. Ltd. is experienced in dealing with both renovations as well as new or re-built homes and has extensive experience in investment in real estate which can help you to make an inform decision. We are ready to answer your questions; contact us by filling out the form on our website or call 604-929-6696.

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