Are you considering commissioning an architect for your project? Your decision to pursue quality custom design and construction will benefit you now as well as future generations. At Modus Operandi we want to help you achieve your goals. We work with you to identify your core values, key ideas and design goals to create a tangible and sensible return on your investment. Discover how working with an architect can ensure your space reflects your character while enhancing life in ways you have never dreamed. Let's get your project started TODAY!

Great design can improve the quality of your living environment. The fabric of your built context unfolds around you with every movement in every moment.  A well designed context wraps around and embraces you.  A poorly designed or accidental context bumps and pokes and subliminally repels you. Living is better when living in a context employing the language, rhythms, harmonies and resonance of architecture.

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At Modus Operandi Design, we aim to treat each square foot, surface, and space with the same attention to detail, regardless of project size and scope. Everything from an entire building to a custom millwork insert is our opportunity to create something special for you to appreciate and enjoy for years to come. Through the pursuit of the best living through building quality designs, we want to improve the environment and strengthen the community one client at a time.


Jes Stafford, AIA

Owner. President. Architect.





Annmarie Stafford

Owner. Marketing Director.






Virtual Studio CAD and BIM Team






Virtual Studio Spec Team





American Institute of Architects


National Council of Architectural Registration Boards


Construction Specifications Institute

Remodeling and Home Design

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“Architecture is an expression of values.”

~Norman Foster


MODwelling is dwelling on... Topics covering clients, architects, building, and living nicely. Is there a topic you would like to see covered? Let us know.

25 Jul 2016

The Dog Days of Summer

Dwelling on... Summer with a new  and trusted family companion.   Another post in the #ArchiTalks blogging series. #ArchiTalks is organized by Bob Borson at Life of an Architect. A group of architects writes blog posts around a single theme or subject and posts them all at the same time, ensuring a good range of various takes on the subject or theme. Last time, before a little break, we wrote a post on the theme of

18 Apr 2016

A is for Architecture in April

Dwelling on... Architecture Week and Architecture Month with a quick tour of the Interwebs.   Here is a quick post to wrap up Architecture week - #Archweek16 - with an invitation to follow some of the traffic on the web. Hashtag lovethisstuff. Click here for the top #Archweek16 posts on twitter. Click here to view #Archweek16 posts on Instagram. Click here for #Archweek posts on Facebook.   Also, Activate NC is doing #Archmonth16 on Twitter

11 Apr 2016

Dear Future Architect, Listen Here

Dwelling on… What it takes to make a great architect.   Future Architects via fotosearch.com Another post in the #ArchiTalks blogging series.  #ArchiTalks is organized by Bob Borson at Life of an Architect.  A group of architects writes blog posts around a single theme or subject and posts them all at the same time, ensuring a good range of various takes on the subject or theme. Last time we wrote a post on the theme of

4 Apr 2016

Zaha Hadid and the Rubber Band Theory

Dwelling on... what is one reason that the work of Zaha Hadid is iconic and what makes great architecture.   Zaha Hadid in her London office, 1985. Photo Credit: Christopher Pillitz/Getty Images A Star is Lost Shock waves rolled through the architecture world with the news that Zaha Hadid had died on March 31. Likewise were the shock waves, that became sustaining forces of her influence sent through design communities, schools, and practices with each

28 Mar 2016

On Drawing – Foundations of Skill

Dwelling on… Cultivating the skill of drawing. I started a new project at the beginning of March. The career and vocational technology education (CATE) center building will be an opportunity for our design team to illustrate the process of computer aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) in making that CATE center come to exist. We met last week about BIM standards and the basics of how construction documents should look. A problem came

21 Mar 2016

Periscope, Anchor, and the Commuter Architect

Dwelling on... Leveraging Periscope and Anchor to enhance the modarchitect social media presence.   Announcement for the : : Ride with MODarchitect # AskTheArchitect : : afternoon periscope broadcast. Engaging vs. Consuming I have been delivering tidbits of architectural narrative content, one social media bite at a time and this post is to tell you a little about that operation. After transitioning to McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, a career move you can read about here, I

14 Mar 2016

The Way – A Compilation

Dwelling on... how the Way of the Samurai can be used to improve one’s pursuit of happiness through work, trade, or profession.   The following is a compilation of every post in the Way of the Samurai Architect series, assembled for your convenience and reading pleasure in following my thoughts on how an ancient Japanese Text, the Hagakure aka The Book of the Samurai, can lend itself to every day battles in modern life, and becoming


Category: MOD News
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Category: MOD Projects

Category: Architects Blogging

Category: Architects Building

Category: Design



James Edgar Stafford, AIA

Please note that MOD will currently be accepting new clients by appointment only, or referring projects to trusted colleagues. Please feel free to contact us about your project. We know some awesome firms that are ready to get started!       Thank You. ~Jes  

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Whether  your project is a residential renovation, new build, or commercial endeavor, consider Full Service Architect services vs. A la Carte Architect services with Modus Operandi Design. Visit each tab below to learn more about each approach.  There are benefits to Full Service Architect services to consider; single point of contact throughout the project, enforced design integrity until completion, third party verification for contractor, progress and payments and architectural solutions to any issues that arise during construction. However, A la Carte Architect services might be a better fit for your project, with focused efforts on a key part of your design needs. I appreciate your time and the opportunity to serve. I look forward to learning more about your project. Any questions?  ASK THE ARCHITECT.


Consultation with you and any other end users to determine specific project requirements as in goals and needs (not wants). Define key factors affecting your project: agencies, jurisdictions, area regulatory boards. Evaluate your site’s qualities and features that will help give the design a direction.  (2 – 3% of construction cost)


Define your project’s required functions. Estimate square footage of each usage type and other elements that will be part of the final design. Define spatial adjacency. Develop levels of privacy and security. (2 – 3% of construction cost)



Schematic Design

Develop study drawings, reports, and other materials to present your project’s concept and direction.  Explore and define the project’s scale and form. Research, discover and address zoning requirements or jurisdictional restrictions. Estimate overall project costs. (2 – 3% of construction cost)

Design Development

Refine you schematic design documents. Develop and coordinate the layout of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural, and architectural details. Specify material types and coordinate location of windows and doors. (2 – 3% of construction cost)

Permit Documents and Application

Prepare your drawings and applications for permit agency and design review board submittal.  Submit your project to authorities having jurisdiction. Apply and coordinate approvals and permits needed for construction.



Construction Documents

Refine your design development documents by guiding the specification of construction details and materials. Invite contractors for pricing or bidding. Finalize project cost estimates with contractor(s). (3 – 5% of construction cost)


Complete of your construction document’s final touches, final project budget and schedule. Assist in evaluation and selection of a contractor.




Construction Administration

Represent your interests in assisting the contractor’s project performance as designed, specified, budgeted and scheduled. Develop architectural sketches to resolve issues and questions that arise during construction. Negotiate and document changes that arise to maintain project schedule and budget. (3 – 5% of construction cost)

Project Transition

Facilitate the close out procedures and owner’s acceptance when the project nears completion: final clean up, equipment start-up, orientation and training. Coordinate efforts for final completion: punch list, warranties, record documents and delivery. (3 – 5% of construction cost)

The Chat

Architect consultation for up to 1.5 hours on your building design and construction concerns.

  • Discuss ideas with a licensed, NCARB Certified, AIA member and experienced architect.
  • Decide how to approach your next DIY Project.
  • Get a ‘tie breaker’ for important decisions about your property.
  • Deliverables are an Executive Summary and Design Scope sketches.



The Alt

Architect consultation for up to 3.5 hours on a 1-2 room renovation/alteration including The Chat PLUS:

  • concept sketch session
  • schematic design drawings
  • Deliverables are an Opinion of Probable Cost, Executive Summary and working drawings.



The Add

Architect consultation for 4.5 hours on an addition to an existing house or place of business, including The Chat PLUS:

  • concept sketch session
  • schematic design drawings
  • Deliverables are an Opinion of Probable Cost and working drawings.


The Ren

Architect consultation for up to 4.5 hours on remodeling or renovating throughout a large existing house or sized place of business, including The Chat PLUS:

  • concept sketch session
  • schematic design drawings and review
  • design development session and drawings
  • Deliverables are an Opinion of Probable Cost and working drawings.



The New

Architect consultation for up to 4.5 hours for schematic level design a new house or place of business, including:

  • concept sketch session
  • schematic design drawings and review
  • design development session and drawings
  • Deliverables are an Opinion of Probable Cost and working drawings.


The menu of service enhancements below are examples to be paired with one of the items above, or used when a client has already secured house plans from another design service.

+The Change

  • Architect consultation to custom design a previously acquired set of home plans to better suite your needs and taste, including:
  • concept sketch session
  • schematic design drawings and review
  • design development session and drawings
  • Deliverables are an Opinion of Probable Cost and working drawings.

Fee is negotiated based on scope of work


+The Bid

Architect consultation and administrative duties with up to 4 bidding contractors in order to evaluate received bids, and advise during the contractor selection process.



+The Manage

Architect consultation and administrative duties throughout construction in order to perform observation and documentation of the contractor’s work and progress. Evaluation of adherence to the design, local codes, and standards of care and practice.


Fee is negotiated % of construction cost based on project


Prices are based on residential and small to medium commercial project size and scope where, as codified in applicable state laws, the commissioning of a licensed architect is not required, but desired by the owner.

Realize the value of living in a thoughtfully designed home with each detail,surface and place full of artfully crafted finishes and textures.


Appreciate the security offered by a soundly constructed home with each joint, transition, and material assembled with highest standard of care.


Experience the prestige of the space, structure, or object designed by your MOD Architect.


Savor architecture like you never though you could with simple but effective and economic designs with good living in mind.


Invest in architecture and when you move on, cash in on the property value intrinsic to well designed space, structures, and furniture.


“The bitterness of poor quality remains

long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

~Benjamin Franklin


Here are examples of work in each of the project types offered at Modus Operandi Design.

  • All
  • Commercial
  • Custom Homes
  • Institutional


“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress;

working hard for something we love is called passion.”

~Simon Sinek