Architect's Corner

How do I know I need an architect?

If you answer yes to any of the following questions below, then you may need to hire an architect:

  • Do you need a blueprint for bank financing, construction requirements or subcontractors to complete your project?
  • Do you require a permit for your project?
  • Do you need help designing your room/house?
  • Do specific areas of your project require an architect's seal?
  • Is the project anything more than a simple remodel or addition?
  • Are there special structural considerations, such as balconies, roof-decks, multiple fireplaces, etc.?
  • Do you want to maintain and/or improve the value of the house?

An architect is an asset to any project requiring building a new structure or fundamentally altering a current structure. An architect can turn your vision into an actual plan and create blueprints for a builder to work from. They are not only skilled at building engineering, structural and spatial relationships and planning, but they also are familiar with applicable building codes and zoning regulations. They work as your agent and can help you in bid evaluation and selecting a contractor.

In-law apartments:

We  all value our sense of independence but sometimes father time remind us that we could use a little help along way. Many of our aging parents remain active and mobile and don't require the need for assisted living or nursing homes facilities. Yet, a full size home may be too much for them to keep up and a misuse of their financial resources. Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have adopted provisions to allow in-law apartments for the benefit of our aging population. Adding or renovating an existing home for Grandma or Grandpa to move in has to be a delicate balance between all the family members. They want to contribute to the family unit nucleus and not have the feeling of becoming a burden. So, during the design process their input, suggestions and comments are invaluable.

A typical pitfall of poorly designed in-law apartments is the "shoehorn" effect. A home owner calls a builder to put together a quick addition. Usually the basic requirements need to be ADA handicap ready for one bedroom, bathroom, living room, small kitchen, patio access, parking space and private entrance connected to the main house. As a result, instead of adding value to the home the hastily design looks like it's been "shoehorned" to fit. We all have driven by nice homes with unsightly additions and asked ourselves; What were they thinking? The chances for strong resale opportunities are diminished. However, the flip side is a well designed solution that can be re-labeled as a home office or guest room at resale. Thus, providing a higher return on investment. Good design still matters. Over the years, Studio Rios Architecture has designed a variety of solutions to keep client needs and priorities in check with budgetary concerns.


It's been said that a kitchen is the soul of a house. The concept of having a single room just for cooking is no longer valid in our modern society. Today most kitchens are under designed with little counter space for food preparation or appliances. The explosion of TV cooking shows in the last few years have created a culture of competitive cooking in many households. To some it's a place to entertain and socialize, to others is an extension of a home office. In most cases it is a multi-tasking space for homework or get a quick bite and go. We post the family schedule of soccer games, piano lessons, PTA meetings and supermarket coupons for everyone to see. In our plugged-in world we charge laptops, tablets, cell phones, watch the morning news during breakfast and try to avoid tripping over the food and water bowls for the pets. When having a family gathering or holiday dinner everyone seems to hang out in the kitchen. Home owners are looking for comfort and flexibility. The formal dining experience of the 1950's with the food been prepared in the kitchen and served in a dining room has evaporated for many families due to the hectic working and school schedules. Informal and casual attitudes have evolved over the last few decades for pragmatic reasons. Yet, many new homes seem to ignore this trend and still reflect the same design constraints of years past. Still, eating together is a valuable family time moment. But we have drifted from the formal dining rooms that feel like show rooms only used on "special" occasions. The alternative in many homes is that the family room becomes a surrogate dining room. Why? the TV of course. A very popular request by many clients is for an eat-in area on an island or built-in nook. The convenience of being able to conduct a conversation with family members while preparing and serving breakfast or a quick lunch is highly valued by many.  

Master Bathrooms:

Sometimes people need an escape from the daily hassle of life. However, getting away is not always an option. Master bathrooms have become a small oasis to reprieve within the confines of your home. Clients are looking for the Spa treatment next to the bedroom. Heated floors, soaking tubs or Jacuzzis, his and hers sinks, walk-in showers with seating, flat screen TV's, etc.  A great variety of options are available to homeowners' but putting it together can become a complex and expensive project in the wrong hands.