Best of 2005
Photo: Erika Larsen
Gary Geiselman and his crew work on Speedwell Forge, a nearly 250-year-old Lancaster County house that his firm—Olde York Homes in York, PA—is helping convert to a bed-and-breakfast
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A licensed architect develops plans, generates construction drawings, and, depending on the terms of the job, supervises the contractor on your project. Professional qualifications usually include a degree from an accredited school of architecture, a three year internship, and passage of a state-administered exam. While membership in the American Institute of Architects is not essential, it's a good sign: Members are required to abide by a strict code of conduct (go to for links to members in your area). Architects generally charge an hourly rate or a percentage of the cost of home construction, or some combination of the two. Specialty designers, like kitchen and bath pros, can handle smaller projects, but if your renovation involves structural work, an architect is the way to go.

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