Posted on A List Apart, author unknown, but probably a contract web developer having attended too many client meetings. I find this incredibly funny, but maybe that's just because I'm a web developer myself.



Dear Mr. Architect,

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don't have nearly enough insulation in them).

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.

To insure that you are building the correct house for our entire family, make certain that you contact each of our children, and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year. Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices that you make.

Please don't bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house: get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpet. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.

Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features this house has. I advise you to run up and look at my neighbor's house he constructed last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features that we would also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our new house without impacting the final cost.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes. You must be thrilled to be working on as an interesting project as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can't happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.

PS: My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the instructions I've given you in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can't handle this responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

PPS: Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer. Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.

I can see how a designer might relate to this. As a web developer / site architect, though, this has not quite my experience. For people in my line of work, our letter might read more like:
Dear Mr. Architect,

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so I have delegated the project to my three year old son Timmy, who is very smart for his age and is cute as a button. Timmy informs me that the house should be "really fun" and preferably blue. Timmy likes blue.

Brainstorm several floorplans with Timmy and then bring them to me so that I can randomly combine them in a totally nonsensical, structurally unsound, configuration that makes perfect sense to me, but will cause my dinner guests to go permanently missing.

Also, don't worry if safety and zoning ordinances are overlooked in construction of the house, as I want it to be as inexpensive as possible. Although I am not willing to pay for electricity or gas, or even a generator, I would like a fully functional kitchen with gas range, refrigerator and microwave oven. If you could figure out a way to get our toilet to flush without plumbing, that would be great too. Just be sure to make the kitchen blue. Timmy likes blue.

P.S. We will be totally revising the blueprints once construction is finished. We hope that this will not add to the cost of the house and that you will do any additional construction for free.

Dear Ms. Architect,

We love the house! Thanks so much for all your hard work! We have just a couple of changes.

Firstly, my wife has decided to start working from home. So it would be great if we could incorporate some sort of storefront, maybe attached to the living room? Also, we'd like to move the house downtown so she can get more foot traffic.

The other day we were in the kitchen, and we noticed we weren't getting enough light. But we couldn't find a way to add a window! We'd hate to have to bother you every time. Maybe you could install some pulleys or something so we can move the walls around, too. That would be so great for entertaining. Same thing with doors. I know you said the stairs had to stay in the same place because they're attached at the top, so can you come over this weekend and show us how to build a new staircase? We want a circular one.

Oh! And I don't think having a path to our neighbor's house was such a good idea. Sometimes people come to see us, and then they go over and hang out with Mary and Carl! I think we need to get rid of all the paths that lead off our property, and probably also the driveway.

Speaking of the driveway, we'd like to have a mime open the gate. He could do a short show for everyone before letting them in. My buddy Jim thinks that would be really fun.

We've made some great friends since moving in, including a bunch of pharmacists who have offered us a business opportunity. (!!!) We need to add paths to all their offices, with big neon signs. My wife finds it kind of tacky, but I've been assured it's a great investment.

We have some more stuff, but it can wait until after our nephew re-does the foundation. (He took a class at the community college since he did the roof, so don't worry.) Can you believe we've been working on this house for over a year?? You architects sure know a thing or two about job security! (j/k)

Thanks again for all your help,
Mr. Client

Thanks to isogolem for the suggestions.

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