Vandana Sharma


My Blog

An Unusual Skill Set - I am a product of today’s market demand



 As a fresh graduate with a bachelor's degree in architecture, my first job as an Intern was at Niles Bolton Architects in Atlanta for almost 7 years. It was an amazing experience designing each residential unit from concept sketches to working drawings to actual living and breathing spaces.

Carefully piecing the individual units in various configurations to complete a floor plate and then stacking the various floor plates together to form a vertical skeletal structure to be wrapped in an aesthetically yet durably designed skin for years to come and hopefully become an impactful, iconic, bursting with life milestone. Focusing on detailing, a small powder room layout to a strategically placed expansion joint that blends in with the plaster grooves of the vast elevation. Making sure the layout works with safety compliances, while aesthetically placing each offset on a large periphery of a floor plate takes a fine balance between art and engineering.   The best part of being an Architect is the ability to think and visualize in three dimensions what you draw in two-dimensions. 


I had the opportunity to design several multifamily projects in Atlanta, then worked as a senior designer with KB Homes, sketching a variety of elevation styles from traditional to gothic to Tuscan looking homes, and later worked abroad with Dar-al-Handasah doing large scale  airports, retail malls, and hotel projects as the head of design.   

I’m a big believer of having a “go with the flow” attitude in life, coupled with sharpening your skill-set according to each change, and if you are paying attention, the market will always determine the skill upgrades for each of us. My recent move to Jacksonville, Florida, brought me to a great coastal lifestyle in the middle of palm lined streets and the timing couldn’t be more perfect, as Jacksonville is ranked the Number 3 fastest growing residential market nationwide.

It’s not a surprise looking at the stunning variety of waterfront homes in the picturesque surroundings of hundreds and hundreds of miles of golf courses, waterways, marshlands, and beaches!

Jacksonville is the only city with that much space, where there are only 1,100 people, or roughly the population of an NYC subway car during rush hour, per square mile. Add to that a low cost of living lower than most other states, this coastal paradise becomes an obvious choice.

With all this new information plus my love for homes, isn’t it a sign from the dynamic market conditions that something has to be done to tap this huge potential, while still staying within the realms of my professional knowledge. How could I bring my skills in helping my friends and customers in a big way and make an impact in improving their lives?

Getting a Real Estate License was the answer that came from the market demand for my skill upgrade to reach my goal of touching people’s lives in a way to help them live better. I can not only provide an exceptional service as a Realtor but also offer a huge benefit of architectural consulting services to my customers.

As a home buyer, when working with me, my customers gain from having free architectural consulting at their fingertips.  Finding the "perfect home" is not an easy task, every home needs some tweaks to make it fit any lifestyle.  Whether it is to open a kitchen out to a family room or to "formalize" a dining room, or to add a master suite extension, my customers will benefit from me sitting down with them to help identify their needs.

I assist with other design consulting aspects like materials, color selection, and furniture arrangement - especially with an endless list of decisions at the design centres of new built homes. I’m very enthusiastic about making intelligent design choices that make sense.

Ultimately, you’re going to be the person living in your new home and my goal is to make sure you are happy about how your home makes you feel every day.

As a home seller, the advantages an Architect on the team can bring are endless. Acquiring floor plans of properties (most cities will have floor plans and are easy to order), and having those floor plans ready to show any prospective buyers, goes a long way. I present possible easy alterations to the plans, at an early stage to the buyers so they can eliminate any weaknesses in the current design and see the potential right away. Features such as a well-designed façade, maximizing views by well-placed windows, solar orientation, integration of exterior spaces in a design can be well accentuated in a listing, which are things an Architect can never miss.

I also help stage any property with a very detailed list of suggestions that is customized to the home and its condition. I even help with hiring the right construction professionals to prepare a home for showings (like floor refinishers, carpenters, painters, etc.).  A lot of our customers are absentee owners and we take care of the coordination of these jobs for them.

Having a passion for great design and for helping people visualize the potential of a property is what makes my job so much fun. Where people see problems with a home’s layout, I see opportunities. Bringing solutions is my passion, and I go out of my way to make dreams become a reality within my client’s financial parameters.

An Architect by profession, plus a Realtor by trade, isn’t that a winning combination?

Oh, wait, did I tell you about how I’m also getting intrigued about technology solutions and the power the right technology choices can bring to any business? it’s not my fault, it’s the market pulling me again to improve and upgrade as always..:)

*Read the article on Washington Post

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