The office of residential architect John Milnes Baker


John Milnes Baker's philosophy is simply this: "There should always be a place in our communities for comfortable, livable houses that express the character of the region, the site and the people who live in them...above all, let's build houses that live comfortably with their surroundings, are courteous to their neighbors, and are deferential to the environment."

Mr. Baker will gladly provide prospective clients with a list of representative former clients and references but only after an introductory meeting.

If you have an architectural question, give a call...I go anywhere once for a cup of coffee. -- JMB



The first step in any residential project is a meeting to discuss the clients goals, program, and the scope of the project. This meeting often includes a site visit to the property whether it is a new house or an existing house to be remodeled. The architect usually shares his portfolio with the perspective clients at this meeting, but more importantly, the architect should state how he would approach the design of their specific program. There is no charge for the Introductory Consultation.


Before "getting married" it is prudent to "get engaged." The architect may be retained by the prospective clients to proceed with Initial Design Studies. These take the form of exploratory designs complemented with numerous thumbnail sketches conveying a feeling for one or more possible design solutions. If the architect and the client are on the same wavelength and the relationship promises to be a fortuitous one, the project can then be formalized with a standard Owner/Architect Agreement form. The charge for this phase should be an agreed upon fixed fee and, though non-refundable, will be credited as payment-on-account toward the agreed upon architectural fee.


Mr. Baker also has a portfolio of house designs that are available to builders, developers, as well as individuals, where cost and time are of particular concern. He performs the same services that he would for any project, but the architectural fee is considerably reduced.

Whichever route one chooses, John Milnes Baker provides personal design services that includes working closely with his clients and with the contractor throughout the entire building project.


NOTE: The following passage from an earlier AIA Web site was based on an Appendix in How to Build a House with an Architect. New York: Harper & Row, 1988 by John Milnes Baker, AIA

The architect's fee is usually a relatively small part of the cost of the entire building project, including the estimated construction cost (on which the architect's fee is computed), the furnishings and equipment, and the interest paid on the mortgage.

If you consider the cost of a house over a thirty year period, your actual expenditure is probably two and a half times the initial price tag. See a simplified hypothetical case for a new house:

Land Purchase Price $200,000
House Construction Cost $800,000
Landscaping, Driveway $  20,000
Architect's Fee @ 12.5% of Construction Cost $  75,000
Miscellaneous Closing Costs $    6,000
Interest on $500,000 Mortgage @ 4% x 30 years $859,320
Taxes @ $10,000 per Annum for 30 Years $300,000
TOTAL $2,260,320


The architect's fee, a one-time expense, is actually approximately 3.3% of the cost of the house over a thirty year period, not counting maintenance costs, which would reduce the architect's percentage even more.

If the mortgage accounts for 75%, instead of the 50% indicated in this example, the architect's percentage, overall, would be reduced to around 2.8%. It is also worth noting that, even with a tight set of plans and specs, the range of prices in competitive bidding often varies by more than the amount of the architect's fee.



76 Spooner Hill
South Kent, Connecticut 06785

Phone: 860.927.4262

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by architect John Milnes Baker

John Milnes Baker's residential projects number well over five-hundred. These cover the gamut from kitchen remodeling and small additions to houses in excess of 7,000 square feet.

No matter the size of the project, the key ingredient is communication or, as John states, "The word, 'harmony,' comes from a Greek carpenter’s term meaning joinery or things meshing neatly together. Not only should there be a harmonious integration of all the component parts of the house but also a harmonious relationship among the owners, architect, and the builder as well."


  • You could not have created a more appropriate, handsome house for clients than Tower Ledge for us. ...It was a joy from beginning to end and we are filled with admiration for your ability and for your specific quality of understanding people.
  • You have worked a miracle! The new space is added without disruption to the existing space, the charm of the old is enhanced, and the new space will appear as though it was always there.
  • We want you to know how happy we are with our house and with your critical contribution to it. Your creative approach combined with a sense of reality and attention to details, and an insight into how to translate what we wanted into specifics, resulted in a place where we feel really at home.
  • How lucky that we met, and I was smart enough to let you design the house and smart enough to listen to you and learn because you were always right.
  • This is our third project's not often that you hear of an architect capable of batting three for three with three homeruns!
  • The Christmas Library is superb. You planned every aspect of it with the greatest care, attention to every detail, and enthusiasm.