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Michael Smith Architect

Michael Smith Architect

By Michael Smith
Michael Smith, An experienced San Luis Obispo architect who is passionate about collaboration and community, Mike has been helping clients create and enjoy their dream homes and projects for three decades. Michael provides customized design and service for California architecture projects of all sizes while offering expertise on local regulations, the latest industry trends and Net Zero Energy design.

He now shares that experience with other homeowners through his podcast.
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Currently playing episode

Taking the Architecture Business Virtual

Michael Smith Architect

Creating a Self Managed Architecture Firm with Enoch Sears
On today's podcast episode we have a very special guest, Enoch Sears.  Enoch Sears takes us through his journey of Architecture and how that evolved into his current area of expertise where he guides Architects into building a sustainable 'self-managed' firm.   Enoch talks about his entrepreneurial path that he took to make himself a highly sought after architectural business expert and author of two books, "Social Media for Architects" and "The Architect's Marketing Field Guide." Check out Enochs YouTube Channel and listen to his episode 13 Week Cash Flow Forecast for Architects. 
November 5, 2020
Architecture through the eyes of a Photographer
On today's podcast episode we are excited to have guest Larry Rhodes. Larry is a photographer and has been in business for over 40 years. Today Larry shares with us how he found photography as his calling and why Architecture Photography has become one of his favorite mediums.  You can check out Larry's work at  On today's podcast episode we are excited to have guest Larry Rhodes. Larry is a photographer and has been in business for over 40 years.  If you would like to join our mailing list to receive updates and more information about my new book How to Avoid Home Remodeling Hell.
October 21, 2020
How to Avoid Home Remodeling Hell
On today's podcast episode I am providing an updates on the podcast, my vision, and the current state of architecture during these times.   I am so excited to announce that we are making a rebrand of the podcast. The rebrand of the podcast comes from my vision to help other architects, home owners, and consumers make the best decisions when building a new home or completing a home remodeling project. The podcast moving forward will be called "How to Avoid Home Remodeling Hell."  I look forward to sharing with you my new book that will be coming out soon as well as tips along the way to truly Avoid Home Remodeling Hell.  If you would like to receive updates please click here  to subscribe to my newsletter.  
September 24, 2020
Building with energy efficient and green technology
On todays podcast episode we are excited to have special guest Andy Pease from In Balance Green Consulting. Today we are talking about building energy efficient homes.  We discuss some of the changes that have taken place in 2020 with Title 24/Building and energy standards. Andy provides great insite on how to build a more energy efficient home and the tools that you can use to implement that into your home.   Andy,  both an Architect and LEED Accredited Professional, is skilled and experienced in a wide range of green building practices. Her current focus lies in optimizing green building strategies, including LEED administration and certification services, and water conservation strategies. Bringing together integrated design, daylight and water use analysis, low impact development, energy efficiency, materials selections, and other strategies, she has helped dozens of clients through a green building process, whether their goal was to achieve LEED Certification or maximize on their building's efficiencies. Andy is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); she is an active leader in the Central Coast Green Building Council (a merger of USGBC-C4 and SLO Green Build) and the AIA Central Coast Chapter. Andy also serves as Council Member for the City of San Luis Obispo. If you are interested in my Free e-Book How to Avoid Home Remodeling Hell, head over to and get your copy today.
September 2, 2020
How to secure financing for your Remodel- Interview with Anthony Gonzales
On todays episode I am interviewing Anthony Gonzales. Anthony is a mortgage broker for Guaranteed Rate. Today Anthony shares with us tips on financing home remodels and how the process works.  Anthony has been in the real estate business for 20 years, including real estate sales and mortgage lending.  Today we talk about not only securing financing home remodel, but also the current market in San Luis Obispo. He shares with us all of the things that people seeking financing for their home remodel should consider prior to beginning the process. 
August 13, 2020
Using Hemp as a Building Product- Interview with Bob Crizer
On today's podcast we have special guest Bob Crizer, the founder of Crizer Construction. Crizer Construction has been on the forefront of the construction industry for over three decades here on the Central Coast. They have experience in alternative and green building techniques, installing renewable energy systems, creating full sets of construction plans, permitting, and most importantly facilitating a finished product that meets the needs of the client, whatever that may be. Today Bob is talking with us about his experience building  with alternative and green building techniques including using hemp as a building product.  You can find our more about Crizer Construction and their Alternative techniques by visiting
July 2, 2020
Interview with Erich Schaefer
On this week's episode we sit down with Erich Schaefer. Erich is a second-generation builder and has been building in the San Luis Obispo for the past 30 years. Schaefer Custom Homes was born from a vision to provide the most seamless custom home experience possible. Unrivaled quality, luxurious design and a new benchmark for customer service are what make Schaefer Custom Homes the Central Coast's premier custom home builder. On this episode Erich discusses how he was able to pivot his business during this time of uncertainty to ensure that his clients were cared for while still staying on target to get his projects finished. Erich goes in to depth of how building relationships with other builders, architects, and city officials has allowed him to build a successful business.  Come find out more about how Erich's experience and values in the building community and clients has developed the customer centered culture at Schaefer Customer Homes. For more information on Schaefer Custom Homes click here:
June 18, 2020
Living in your home during quarantine
On this episode of Michael Smith Architect Podcast we discuss living in our homes during quarantine. You are probably wondering what that means. Many people have started looking at their home during quarantine and looking for changes that they can make in their home to make it feel a little bigger.  Many homes that were built 15+ years ago were designed with floor plans that are just not open. There are simple things that you can do to your home to create a more open floor plan and create a more appealing home to spend time in with your family.  Come find out more on my new episode.
June 18, 2020
Designing the Perfect Outdoor Living Space
On today's podcast episode we are speaking with Josh Gillow from MasterPlan Outdoor Living Joshua Gillow has always had incredible respect for Mother Nature and an intensity to help those around him.  These two propensities lead him to receive a degree in Architectural Design and Engineering and start his own design/manage firm, MasterPLAN Outdoor Living.  Being able to help homeowners by creating bold outdoor living spaces all over eastern Pennsylvania has been Joshua’s passion for over 20 years.  This same drive has also lead Joshua to establish the Yes Express, a carefully crafted, tested and proven sales system to help fellow landscape design/build business owners improve their client connection and closing rates, ultimately helping more people beyond his reach!  With this full-circle approach to his craft, Joshua has made it his mission to take the landscape design/build industry to a higher level! Today we talk about outdoor living and the planning that goes into the design, the disconnect between architects and landscape designers and how planning can save the homeowner thousands of dollars. Josh walks us through how to set up a comprehensive plan that takes all aspects of the house into the planning. Ask the Architect: Question: How long will my project take? Design, working drawings, permit approval, & construction. Josh Gillow Contact Info Website:
May 21, 2020
6 Rules to Consider When Starting a Home Remodeling Project
A lot of our rules and norms seem to be shifting right now, which can be challenging for anyone who likes consistency. While so many things are in flux, however, I am happy to share the following 6 tried-and-true rules I have discovered over the past 30 years of working with clients: 1. Be clear: Be clear on your wants, needs and scope of work – this will save you time, money and stress. Unless you have unlimited funds, there will come a time when you have to compromise on your project due to finances. It will come down to your wants and needs. What do you need to remodel so it is a success in your mind? 2. Determine your budget: Of course, you know what you want to spend. However, most projects have two budgets: the first budget is what you would like to spend on home remodeling. The second number is the most pain your budget can handle and still survive the remodel. Let your team know your true budget so they can help you achieve your goals. 3. Have a contingency: A built-in contingency for your budget will help you sleep at night during the remodel. A contingency is a part of your budget, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-10% of the total, that covers all the surprises that can happen during home remodelling. When you have a contingency built in, it makes it easier to roll with those surprises. 4. Be realistic: The more we are upfront about the numbers before a project begins, the easier the whole process is. This entails being realistic about construction costs and all fees associated with design and construction, such as the architect’s cost, planning and permit fees, school and fire fees, development impact fees and construction costs. 5. Understand the process: This also prevents surprises. There are steps to the design process (schematic design, working drawings and construction observation), permit process (initial submittal, plan check, permit approval) and construction.  Every step should be on a timeline or schedule. How a project moves through the process is a direct reflection of your team and their dedication to delivering quality services. It can cost you a lot of money to hire a team that is not dedicated to you and your schedule. 6. Establish budget, timelines and procedures: This takes all the rules above and applies them in one mega rule.  Establishing budgets, timelines (with milestones) and procedures will help you save you time, money, and stress throughout the remodeling process.
May 6, 2020
The Right Way to Market Your Architecure Business
On this week’s podcast episode we have special guest and marketing extraordinaire, Kim Walsh Phillips. We dive into real marketing techniques that you can implement into your business today to scale and grow your audience. Kim is a multi-seven figure business entrepreneur with no business degree and a tendency to say “crazy pants” more than is socially acceptable. She is the best-selling author of “The No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing,” with Dan Kennedy, “The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business,” and “Game Changer How to Get 10,000 Fans in 72 Hours.”  Kim takes us through her process and tips on Social Media and how it works and what it can do for you in the growth of your goals.  We discuss leveraging the digital marketing space and how you can use it to get people to respond with the simple click of a button. Kim talks about her book The No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing and how to use it and apply to basic principles of marketing and apply to Social Media to get leads and sales. If you would like to know more about how you can get 10,000 fans in 72 hours click the link below. Check out more on Kim Walsh Phillips at Have a question about how to market your architecture, construction, or real estate company? Reach out to 8
April 22, 2020
Taking the Architecture Business Virtual
Today I am going to cover what it looks like for me to take my architecture business online. Currently with the crisis that is spreading across the world I have had to make some changes to the way that I run my business. There were many projects that have had to be put on hold. What this has allowed me to do though is prioritize the projects that I have and complete the steps that are able to be completed virtually. This will in the long run, same time on those projects when I move forward. Currently I am using more online tools with my clients. One of the tools that I am using to conduct meetings with my clients is Zoom. I have found that using online tools has allowed me to be more interactive with my clients. I can share my screen with my clients during these calls so that they can see my CAD program. During these calls we can manipulate the views and make real time changes to their design. These real time changes allow the client to see them immediately while the change is still fresh on their mind. Having this online workflow has allowed me to take steps out of the  process. While this was something that I thought about for some time, it wasn’t until recently that I implemented this process. While there are still some things that keep me bottle necked at this time, I make sure that I stay on top of the market so that when I am able to move forward I am ready. Please know this doesn’t last forever. We will survive and we will recover from this. It will be a different world that we are faced with, but we can move forward. Client Questions: If you have questions about a specific project or anything in general, you can find me at More on the San Luis Obispo County ADU Ordinance Today we also discuss where the building departments for San Luis Obispo and surrounding areas are with their permits. Please check out the podcast for more info in your area. Looking Ahead In the next episode, I will have special guest Kim Walsh Phillips. We will be discussing marketing and social marketing strategies to help move your business forward! Until then, thanks for your curiosity, your interest and your time. LET’S CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Instagram: Facebook: Twitter:
April 7, 2020
The Intersection of Architecture and Interior Design
On today's podcast I have the privilage of interviewing Bobby Tone, owner of Studio B Elements, who has dual degrees in interior design and architecture and founded her design business almost 15 years ago. She now focuses most of her work on residential renovations for clients. When she meets a new client, "First, I give them a little bit of an education on the design process and how I work and I want to get into their heads. Like what do they want, waht are their desires, what are their needs, what kind of style are they going with, what is their budget? I just really need to get to know them because the sooner I can get into their heads and understand what they're wanting at the end, then I can design that environment for them so they can walk in to the house every day and they're happy." I was thrilled to hear that Bobby loves to work with Architects because they're such a strong "support system." She enjoys developing the conceptual design and palsnand the honing in on the details from there. Bobby appreciates that architects can tackle the technical drawings, particularly on larger projects when structural changes and engineering are involved. She enjoys working on everything from lighting schemes to wall texture, from window to fireplaces, to determining what kind of water heaters a client will use. THanks to her backgroun in architecture, she can go deeper and share her understanding of structural issues, flooring, grout,  and more with clients. As far as trends, she appreciates the simplicity of open floor lans for communication and overall flow. These allow for easier upkeep and better usage of square footage while keeping families connected. Bobby concluded that " I love to take apart a house that really needs some tender loving care and create a wonderful, custom environment for my clients." Client Question: What does remodeling cost per square foot? I hear this question a lot and people generally think I will give than a specific dollar amount that they can then multiply based on their potential project and think “Oh, there’s my budget.” However, that is only one piece of the remodeling puzzle. Typically, with an addition, you are blending the old and the new, which often involves blending and remodeling the old to go with the new. When I provide a number estimate, I am talking about the addition, but you need to add more on for the remodel. When it comes to new construction, projects generally run between $250-350 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the site. What you’re adding on will influence the price as well – bathrooms, for example, entail plumbing and electrical, so the price will be higher than that of an updated great room. If you have questions about a specific project or anything in general, you can find me at In Summary Thanks again to Bobby Tone from Studio B Elements for her time and insights. We also covered ADUs and costs related to home-remodeling projects. You can always reach out with questions at or leave a review on iTunes. LET’S CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Instagram: Facebook: Twitter:
March 25, 2020
Manufactured Drama with DIY Shows - Warning Rant Ahead
Revisit Interview with the Contractor Redress show questions I got on Episode #4 - Design Build - I wanted to redress some comments during the last podcast [Episode #4 Interview with Mark Marshall]. I got a couple of questions from architects and others about how the discussion went. Some thought I was just abdicating my responsibility to the contractor for the project. I was not. I am open to completing a project so my client has an excellent experience and achieves their dream. That doesn’t have to mean that I am driving the bus. My ego is ok with letting the contractor be in control. Are there other ways to complete a project yes. But if it is the contractor controlling the project - I want to make sure that I have contact with the homeowner and we are having discussions about their home. I have been in projects where the contractor used me as drafting services and tried to slash my fee to get costs down. That doesn’t work. That is not what I was signing on with the contractor Manufactured Drama - What’s Wrong with DIY Shows? WARNING!!! Rant ahead! We will be talking about DIY shows and they can hurt your project Latest on San Luis Obispo County ADU Ordinance We will also review what is happening with San Luis Obispo County ADU ordinance.  What the City of San Luis Obispo and other cities San Luis Obispo County ADU ordinance Here is the Link for ADU Summary of SLO County’s ADU Ordinance: Client Question Invite the audience to submit questions to What are typical steps for a home remodeling project? However, I know that it is still hard to walk into an architect’s office cold so I created a report that I would like to offer to you. The report is titled “Why Almost Every DIY Show is Wrong About Home Remodeling!” It will walk you through step-by-step the initial process of home remodeling or new construction. I have added a link in the show notes to get your free copy. You can also go to our website Closing Comments Well that is our show today - I hope you liked it. It certainly was loaded. We got to hear from a contractor that I work with and he shared his insight on the home construction process. We reviewed the latest on the San Luis Obispo County’s ADU Ordinance We reviewed affordable housing we have just started the past week. And lastly, we talked about a common client question - What are typical steps for a home remodeling project? Don’t forget your free report that is available that can help with this question. Looking Ahead We will have a current topic effecting the home remodeling market. Continue to stay on top of the ADU Ordinance We will talk another project we are working on And answer a common question from clients. LETS CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Instagram: Facebook: Twitter:
March 6, 2020
Interview with a Contractor
Hi and welcome to MSA Podcast Episode #4. We have a great show Today. I love when I can have guest on the show. I want to share not only my knowledge and experience but other consultants and professionals. And that is what we have today. One important partner in a home remodeling or construction process are contractors. I will be talking to several general contractors over the next several months.  Today we have Mark Marshall from JM Construction. I am going to let Mark tell us a little more about him and his company in a moment. We will also review what is happening with San Luis Obispo County ADU ordinance. We will review what is happening on a current project we are working on - Duplex Remodel Client’s Questions Interview with a contractor Interview with Mark Marshall - JM Construction Current Events in Design & Building San Luis Obispo County ADU ordinance Here is the Link for ADU Summary of SLO County’s ADU Ordinance: Project experience Duplex Remodel - Starting on the project. The project is remodel and adding on to an existing duplex in Santa Barbara county. The duplex was damaged in a fire - not so much that the building needs to be torn down, but enough that we need to repair and replace some structural elements.  The owner of the property wants to take advantage of the empty structure to make improvement son the property and add an additional unit turning a duplex into a triplex. We started the project like we start most projects - measuring the existing structure. We document the existing building so we can model the existing structure. My team will spend several hours sketching, measuring, and photographing the structure so they can recreate the structure in 3-Dimensional form on our computer. That is just what my team did last week. We are now recreating the existing structure so we can begin the design process. I will update you on future episodes on our progress. Client Question Invite the audience to submit questions to How do we start? I am asked that question almost every initial meeting. It usually sounds like this, “we have never worked with an architect before and we are not sure how this process all works…”. If you feel this way, you are in good company. I will spend the next 10 to 20 minutes describing our process and how we (the client and I) will work together to achieve their vision for their home. That is what the initial meeting is for - getting all the questions out in the open before we get too deep in the process. There are no dumb questions, all are important so don’t hold back. However, I know that it is still hard to walk into an architect’s office cold so I created a report that I would like to offer to you. The report is titled “Why Almost Every DIY Show is Wrong About Home Remodeling!” It will walk you through step-by-step the initial process of home remodeling or new construction. I have added a link in the show notes to get your free copy. You can also go to our website Looking Ahead We will have a current topic effecting the home remodeling market. Continue to stay on top of the ADU Ordinance We will talk another project we are working on And answer a common question from clients. LETS CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Instagram: Facebook: Twitter:
February 20, 2020
ADU Changes & San Luis Obispo County, and Client Questions
Hi and welcome to MSA Podcast Episode #3. Today we are going to looking at the changes that have been made to California’s ADU Law and how that is impacting San Luis Obispo County or any county in California. We will review a current project I am working on and the lessons learned Client’s Questions Current Events in Design & Building ADUs in California ADUs in SLO County ADU Live Event Here is the Link for ADU Summary of SLO County’s ADU Ordinance: Project experience New procedures at SLO County on existing structures on your property. Klemme. Client Question Do I need an architect? No you don’t!! What are you saying Mike - you’re an architect. A draftsman working with a structural engineer can design and prepare plans for a permit. Do I think that is the smartest idea. Of course not. 30 yers of experience, hundreds of situation and clients. I stamp my plans - I am liable for those plans. Looking Ahead Continue to stay on top of the ADU Ordinance Interview with a contractor LETS CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Instagram: Facebook: Twitter:
February 6, 2020
MSA Episode #002 - A Talk with My Client
I recently finished a home remodeling project for Glenn Olander and Shirley Sloper.  I went back and spent some time with Glenn.  We talked about the project from buying the home to the end of the remodeling project.  Unfortunately, Shirley could not join us.  However, it does give a really picture of what my clients went through during the 2 year process. If you have any questions email  Connect with us on Facebook at MichaelSmithArchitect.
January 22, 2020
A New Year, A New Beginning! MSA 1st Podcast
Mike Smith, an architect in San Luis Obispo, has been talking about publishing a podcast for over a year.  He has taken the first small step.  He is still developing his format so please share your thoughts and come back to see how the podcast develops.
January 8, 2020