How can you tell if an architect has good ideas for your home?
I'm looking to do a second story addition to my tiny home. The current space has an odd layout, so the architect would have to be creative (in terms of where to put the staircase, etc). I'm loathe to hire a specific architect if they don't come up with any design ideas I like. Do you have to hire the architect before you get design ideas or is it reasonable to ask them to give verbal ideas or sketches first? And are there architects or design build firms that you love who are creative in terms of ideas/solutions? Some architects recommended on BPN don't have websites- how do you evaluate if they can come up with good renderings? Also I'm a single mom and last time I did a small remodel I think I was overcharged because the contractor knew I wouldn't have the knowledge to argue against the changes/updates that are inevitably made.
Thanks in advance!