The Architect is In- 5 Cents per Consultation

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Jim Bryant P-I

It's like Lucy in Peanuts, except John Morefield offers architecture, not psychiatry, for a nickel. (sometimes, particularly in residential architecture, they are hard to tell apart). The young architect set up a booth at a farmers market in Seattle and is dispensing advice for a nickel a pop. (Five cents more than a lot of architects get paid for curbside consultations.)

It is a good idea. Mike Lewis of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes:

Wallingford residents Michael Kucher and Julie Nicoletta walked up after laughing at the sign. "Are you serious? What do you charge for a house call?" Nicoletta asked.

"Lemme get a nickel out," Kucher said, digging through his pocket.

And so began a 10-minute discussion about home remodeling with a couple who had shown up at the market to buy vegetables. After a talk about the kitchen and bathroom and possible ideas for remodeling, the couple wandered away -- but not before taking a business card and leaving their e-mail address.

Away from the stand, Kucher said he'd likely call Morefield for a consultation. First, Kucher said, the young man seemed friendly and knowledgeable. But second, Kucher liked the approach; building a booth might mean Morefield thinks out of the box, he said.

So to speak. "I think it's a great idea, anyway," Kucher said.

It seems to me that a farmers market is a better place to be than a home show, and the booth space is probably a lot cheaper. If you are an architect specializing in green design, it probably attracts a more appropriate audience.

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People who go to farmers markets might need basements renovated to make root cellars;

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They might want to renovate their kitchens to accommodate and show off their preserves and seasonal produce;

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They may want to reduce their carbon footprints, plant a green roof, add solar power and don't know where to start.

Particularly for architects interested in green design, I can't think of a better place to be. I hope a lot of young architects emulate this- in these times one has to look in odd places to find work.

More in Seattle Post-Intelligencer


John has an online booth as well, he says:

I have ventured out on my own to bring innovative, sustainable, and budget conscious design to those who thought they couldn't afford to work with an architectural designer, but deserve the best; in service, and environmentally responsive residential design.

Architecture 5¢ is my way of reaching out to my local community and asking them a simple question: how does your family want to live? And how can I help that become a reality?

"No project is too small for big ideas."

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