At Michael Bell Architects we understand that classic design is always in style. Our commitment to preserving and revitalising classic design principles ensures that your home is both practical and timeless. Our design philosophy has evolved gracefully. It enhances your lifestyle and has enduring appeal.

Classic Design Never Goes Out of Style

We are known for elegant residential design, classic forms and details, in Sydney and beyond. Our buildings are of generous scale and correct proportion, whilst instinctively beautiful and functional for modern living.

Town and Country

Our projects include country homes and estates, horse studs and bespoke Sydney residences. Our core design principles are adapted to integrate each clients’ design and living brief within the site context. We undertake architecture projects in Sydney’s Eastern and Northern suburbs as well as many more distant commissions in country areas of New South Wales and Victoria. If we are the right fit for your project, you are never too far away.

New and Old

MBA has earned a reputation in Sydney for expertise in classic residential architecture. We are consistent in the production of beautiful yet practical designs, that sit harmoniously in their settings. In crafting our designs, we prioritize collaboration with our clients. Understanding your aspirations and lifestyle enables us to create bespoke designs that elevate your living experience while preserving timeless elegance.

Our commitment to excellence extends beyond aesthetics. By leveraging innovative technologies and sustainable practices, we ensure that our designs not only endure but also contribute positively to the environment and community. Whether you need a new house design, alterations and additions to an existing dwelling, or restoration of a traditional building, we are here to help. Partner with Michael Bell Architects to transform your vision into timeless reality, where classic design meets modern luxury in perfect harmony.

How can we help you?

Do you offer a free initial consultation?

Yes, we offer a complimentary initial 30 minute consultation with Michael either in our Ultimo office or via video call. See our contact page to make a booking.

What if I’m in the country?

For country locations we  start with an initial meeting via video call at no charge. If you are keen to progress further, we will arrange to travel to your site for a second meeting which will be charged at an hourly rate. We do not charge for travel time, just our time on site.

How are architectural fees calculated?

We start by charging hourly rates until such time as both parties are confident that the project is proceeding. We then swap to a percentage agreement for full architectural services, where fees are charged as a percentage of the construction cost of the project, ranging from 12-15%. This is charged in stages across the lifetime of the project.

How can I work out what my project’s construction cost is likely to be?

Construction costs currently range from  minimums of $5000 per square metre to $12,000 per square metre depending upon your location and the complexity plus standard of finishes of the project.

What does “full architectural services” mean?

A full service architect manages the project from the initial design all the way through to when you move in to your finished project, and even further to ensure that any construction defects are resolved. Full services cover the architectural stages of Sketch Plan, Design Development, Submission to Council and Council Determination, Tender Documentation, Tendering and Negotiating, as well as Contract Administration during the construction period.

Do you offer partial services?

We believe that a better outcome will be achieved for everyone concerned if we as the architects can manage your project through to completion. This ensures that the original design intent is what will be built, no corners are cut, and a high-quality build is the result. It allows you, the client, to get on with what you do best wile we worry about all the documentation required to get the project approved by the local Council. It means that we will run a tender process where competitive quotes are obtained from a number of contractors. We compare apples with apples and assist you to choose the contractor that is the best fit for your project. 

Having said all of that, sometimes we will agree to doing partial services of just an initial design or up to Tender Documentation stage. The reasons for this can vary from a very distant location to an experienced client who wishes to manage the build themselves.

Do I need to move out of my house while it’s under construction/renovation?

We highly recommend having somewhere else to live during construction. Yes, this is an additional cost but in the long term it can save you both time and money as the construction will take place more quickly if the builder has access to all areas and can make decisions with that freedom. It will be a much smoother exercise and you will be in your new home faster.

How long will the council take to approve my project

This varies from council to council and even different times of year. E.g. councils can be temporarily short staffed or there is a sudden influx of development applications. The wait time can vary wildly from 4 weeks to 6 months or more.

Will Michael Bell be my architect or someone else?

Michael will be your design architect and after that he will oversee all stages and assist other staff until your project completion.

What are the benefits of using an architect as opposed to a draftsman?

An architect can only call themselves that if they are registered with the relevant state’s architectural board. To maintain registration each year, an architect must continue to update their knowledge by completing a required number of hours of professional development each year. When designing, they will consider the greater picture; how you live or want to live, what design is suitable to the location, what budget is appropriate. They will optimise the available space and orientation for the best design outcome. An architect is experienced at knowing what other consultants are required and can bring other design professionals to the project. Apart from a more considered design, you will get all the benefits of full architectural services as described above.

A draftsman is a wonderful technician that will draw what you tell them to draw. If you have a simple project, and you have already decided a plan arrangement and don’t want guidance as to improvement of that, then a draftsman is probably a better fit for you.