Can you sell me the plans?

Here’s a question I’ve had more than a few times over the past couple of years.  I suppose it applies to any project and/or style, but in this case it has been specific to the Tuscan Stables project I was involved with.

“I really like the Tuscan Stables project you worked on.  Can you sell me the plans so that I can turn it into a house?”

Sorry, but no, I can’t.  There are a number of professional, ethical, legal, and even personal reasons for this. Here are a few of them:

  • I was involved with the Tuscan Stables project when I was employed by another architect. That architect is the architect-of-record. I am not. I was an employee. I have the right to say I was involved with the design, but I don’t have the rights to re-sell that design. Typically, the architect-of-record owns the copyright of design. Although, in the case of the Tuscan Stables, I believe the copyright was ceded to the owner (Ranch At The Canyons) as part of the owner/architect agreement. That may or may not still be the case given that the Ranch is now under different ownership.
  • If I did have the plans, the rights too them, and was willing to sell them, you would have to follow them to the letter, just as any contractor I work with has to. Architectural plans are legal documents and cannot be changed without the prior approval of the architect. I can’t think of an instance where an architect has designed a structure, provided the client with drawings, and then walked away allowing the client to choose which parts get built. The process doesn’t work like that. If it did, there would be no reason to hire an architect in the first place or submit plans to a building department for review (and eventually a building permit).
  • The Tuscan Stables was not designed as a residence, it was designed as an agricultural building. It does not meet the residential building code. For example, ALL of the windows are too small to meet the egress requirements for bedrooms. It would also fail to meet the energy code, the interior doesn't have suitable natural light for a residence, nor does it have the rooms that a house needs (kitchen, living room, bedrooms, etc.). Those are just some of the issues that would have to be addressed in converting it to a residence. I'm sure more exist.
  • I don’t currently sell plans. Every project I’ve worked on has started with a client first. And every project is a unique creation designed specifically for that owner. To this end I am not a production home designer and I don’t have plan sets available for sale.
  • I don’t repeat repeat designs made for others. Even in instances where two designs may look similar, there are always differences brought on by site conditions, the specific needs of the owner, my own desire to produce new work, etc.

Now, having said all that, I am more than happy to consider your specific situation and work out a design for you using the stylistic language of the Tuscan Stables. All of my experience indicates that you will be much happier in a design that reflects your specific needs and desires than you would be living in what was essentially designed as a barn.