3 must-knows when pitching home addition to planner

Tips from an architect

Editor's note: This is the first in a two-part series. No doubt exasperated by people asking how he came up with his brilliant designs, Frank Lloyd Wright once famously explained, "Why, I just shake the buildings out of my sleeve." It was mostly Wright's puckish sense of humor talking when he claimed to conjure up brilliant concepts out of thin air. Yet today there's still a widespread perception that architects design by invoking some kind of arcane creative voodoo, and that ideas just flow onto the paper fully formed. The fact is, there's a lot more hard work than magic involved in designing a building. This is a great advantage to non-architects, though you might not realize it: It means that if you're methodical and willing to perform the often-tedious procedure architects follow in the design process, you, too, could shake a decent design out of your sleeve. Suppose, for example, that you want to build an addition onto your house. Long before you ever put penc...