Frequently Asked Questions

Many homeowners have faced challenges with finding great architect, including candidate qualifications, team dynamics, and bottom-line financials. Our unique solution addresses these concerns.


About ZenVita

How does ZenVita work?

ZenVita connects you to Japan’s top architects to create the perfect Japanese design for your home.

Step 1 - Find a Designer
Browse through the portfolios of some of Japan's top architects and share your project with your chosen professional. Discuss your plans, wants and needs with no financial obligation. Communication is easy with our linguistic support.

Step 2 - Go from Concept to Design
Once you have approved a project proposal, and made a deposit, the architect will begin to work upon your vision. You can pay the remaining fee upon completion.

Step 3 - Start Building
Hire your favorite building contractor or let us suggest top-notch professionals in your area without any commission. Either way, your architect will provide assistance throughout the project.

Get started today by signing up for a free consultation.

What does ZenVita offer for free when signing up?

When you sign up, you gain access to top quality Japanese architects, a free consultation, and facilitated communication through a messages section and translators.

Is it really risk-free?

Yes. All of our projects begin with a free consultation with up to 3 architects. This means that ZenVita architects have time to prove to you that they are absolutely exceptional and visionary in their work.

You will not be billed until you are satisfied with the consultation and all of the project details such as milestones and cost.

Other than design, what other products and services does ZenVita offer?

ZenVita offers a wide variety of decor for your home that has been crafted by Japanese designers. We work with the top brands for Bonsai and Tatami Mats, with more brands to come. To browse our products, you can visit the ZenVita Shop.

ZenVita also offers translation services included in your project to ensure everyone understands clearly project vision and milestones.

What does ZenVita offer that comparable services do not?

ZenVita was established to bring high quality, original Japanese aesthetics to homeowners around the world. In the past, if you wanted to work with a designer in Japan, it became a very expensive and troublesome process finding a talent provider to connect you with a designer. Even then, you may not find a reliable designer due to the lack of sufficient screening.

Now, with ZenVita, we represent top class home design professionals who are all based in Japan. We thoroughly screen our architects to ensure we only introduce architects of the absolute highest caliber. At ZenVita, we go to extreme lengths to provide and guarantee quality.

Is there a satisfaction guarantee for the final product?

Throughout your project with ZenVita, communication is essential to ensure satisfaction from start to finish.

If you are in any way unsatisfied with your architect and have communicated with them on your project, we will all work together with you to resolve any disputes. If a project has no work completed on it, you are eligible for a refund of your milestone deposit.

If you are currently unsatisfied with your project, please contact the ZenVita team so we can work with you to resolve any issues.

Is my credit card information secure?

ZenVita accepts all major credit cards through Paypal. Paypal is a global online payment system that has processed billions of dollars since 1998. For additional information on their policies and security, visit the Paypal Policy Guide.

Who do you share my project designs with? Is it safe?

ZenVita and the architect of your choosing are the only parties able to view your project material. We will never share any of that information to outside companies and will hold a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for all documents and materials relating to your project.

During the free consultation period, you are required to provide minimal personal information such as your full name, address, and dimensions of your project space. After the consultation and before beginning the first milestone, the architect will prepare a proposal which includes ZenVita’s security policy and NDA agreement. These documents are then signed by both the architect and yourself. Any other architects on the project, or contractors in your area, will also be required to sign these documents before being allowed to view any of your project details.

For more information on your security and privacy, please view our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

General Questions

Are there any upfront recruiting or contractual costs?

For each engagement, we require a $500 deposit that ultimately gets applied to the first invoice. In the event of a failed trial period, the deposit is refunded.

Is it really risk-free?

Yes. All of our engagements begin with a predetermined free consulting period. This means that ZenVita architects have time to prove to you that they are absolutely exceptional and worth to work on your design projects. If you're completely satisfied with the consultation, we'll bill you for the time and continue the engagement for as long as you'd like. If you're not completely satisfied, you won't be billed. From there, we can either part ways, or we can provide you with another architect who may be a better fit and with whom we will begin a second risk-free trial.

What does ZenVita offer that comparable services do not?

ZenVita was established to offer a solution to the lower-than-expected performance of resources obtained through the myriad of talent providers. It's become incredibly difficult to find reliable and designers through these services due to the lack of sufficient screening.

At ZenVita, we thoroughly screen our architects to ensure we only introduce architects of the absolute highest caliber. At ZenVita, we go to extreme lengths to provide and guarantee quality.

Architects & Contractors

Where are your architects located?

Our architects are physically located in Japan. This is to ensure you are getting the most authentic Japanese design and influence for your projects. Many of them have experience working with clients internationally and ZenVita facilitates communication across multiple time zones and languages.

How do you screen your architects? (What are your screening practices?)

All of our architects undergo a vigorous screening process by ZenVita. We verify each of their historical projects, the quality and uniqueness of their portfolios, if they have had media exposure, and the quality and consistency of awards they have achieved.

Do all of the architects speak fluent English?

Most the architects speak and write fluently in English. If an architect or yourself needs translation services to facilitate communication, ZenVita offers English, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Japanese translation services as part of ensuring the success of your project.

If you are looking for translation services in any other language, please contact the ZenVita team to request your language.

When am I able to speak directly to an architect?

To speak with an architect, you need to create a job and invite up to 3 architects.
1. Create an account and sign in.
2. Click Create New Job. You will then be asked to fill out some information about the project you want to begin. Fill out this form to the best of your knowledge.
3. Click Invite architects. You will be shown a list of architects that match your job requirements.

Once you have invited architects, ZenVita will notify you when they send you a message.

What is the availability of the architects across timezones?

Normally, our architects are available between 9:00 a.m and 6:00 p.m GMT+9. If you need to communicate with an architect outside of this time range, certain exceptions can be made. Please contact the ZenVita Team to discuss your particular needs.

For which languages do you offer translation services?

Currently, we offer English, Chinese, French, and Spanish language translation services. If you are looking for translation services in any other language, please contact the ZenVita team to request your language.

What professional qualifications/recognitions do your architects have?

All of our architects are first-class or second-class architects. Architectural designers and construction supervisors must obtain licenses as first-class Kenchikushi (architects and building engineers) and second-class Kenchikushi or wooden building Kenchikushi. Some of our architects are also members of the Japan Association of Architectural Firms, Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ), and the Japan Wood Research Society.

To see a full list of an architect’s qualifications, click on their profile from our Professionals page.

Where can I see examples of the work done by your architects?

Each architect has a photo gallery of each of their projects available from our Professionals page. Click on a photo or click See all projects to view examples of their previous work.

Will the architect's design keep in mind what resources/contractors are available in my area?

Yes, the architect’s will take into account your region. You will communicate directly with the architect to ensure that your needs and restrictions of geography and materials are taken into account. If you need assistance finding the most qualified contractor in your area to execute a design, ZenVita will include this in your project for free.

Is it possible for me or my contractor to speak with my architect during the building phase?

Absolutely. ZenVita will help you see your project from start to finish with your contractor and our architects. If you need assistance in finding a contractor in your area, ZenVita will include this in your project for free.

Can I speak with an architect even if I don't know what I want?

Yes. After signing up with ZenVita, you can have a free consultation with up to 3 architects of your choice. After the free consultation, you can choose to work with one, two, or all three of the architects depending on your needs.

How can I contact my architect during the project?

Once you have invited an architect to your project, all communication will be available on your Messages page. To take advantage of translation services or to arrange a video meeting, please contact the ZenVita team.

Your ZenVita Project

If I sign up, what comes next?

After signing up, the first step is to create your first project. You will be asked some questions about your project such as which part of your home (or all of your home) you want to design, the type of building, approximate budget, a description, and any photos of the project site. Once you submit this information, we provide you a list of architects that are suited for your project.

You can choose up to 3 architects to consult with on your project during your free consultation. While speaking with the architects, you will discuss your vision and needs for the project together. This initial consultation can be as long as you need to feel comfortable before continuing with your project.

After both you and the architect agree on the project, proposed design, milestones, and price, ZenVita will send you your first invoice. A 10% deposit is required before the architect starts their work on your project.

Can ZenVita help me find a contractor in my area to build my design?

Yes, ZenVita commits to assisting you in completing your project from start to finish. We can recommend quality contractors in your area and facilitate the communication between them and your architect.

What are the phases and deliverables I can expect for my project?

Normally, for design projects, each project is split apart into 2 or 3 milestones. You and your architect will agree on these milestones and deliverables before beginning the project.

The first milestone is a design brief to confirm the project and vision. This includes all of the approvals of each milestone and cost. The second milestone includes architect and local contractor collaboration for the design. It includes sketches, the design, any graphics and illustrations, blueprints, and (if your project requires it) models of the design. The third milestone consists of architect and local contractor collaboration on execution.

ZenVita can assist you in finding a contractor in your area, and then facilitate the communication between both parties.

For any questions about your project and price, please contact the ZenVita team.

How do I make changes to the scope of my project?

You can update your project information at any time.
1. Log in to your ZenVita account.
2. Click the edit pen icon beside your project name.
3. Make the changes you want.
4. Click Invite Architects to save your changes.

If you have started your project with your architect, you need to contact them from your Messages page to discuss the changes you wish to make.

If you have any questions or concerns about the progress or scope of your project, please contact the ZenVita team.

How do I reset my password?

To reset your password:

1. Go to the ZenVita log in page.
2. Click Forgot your username and password? Located under the sign in button.
3. Enter your email address and click Continue to receive your password.

If you do not receive an email within a few minutes to reset your password, check your spam folder. If you have checked and have still not received your password, contact the ZenVita team.

Do you offer custom decor services for my country?

Currently, ZenVita is working with top bonsai and Tatami mat brands. Soon, we will be offering household decor such as kitchen items, bathroom items, and more that have been crafted by Japanese designers.

To browse the products we currently offer, visit the ZenVita Shop.

All products can be shipped worldwide.

What happens after I invite architects to my project?

After you invite architects to your project, they will review the project information that you have provided as well as your message to them. They will respond within 24 business hours between 9:00 a.m and 6:00 p.m GMT+9.

To view messages from your architects, go to your Messages page.


Where are your architects located?

All architects are physically located in Japan. Many of them have experiences to work with international clients.

Do all architects speak fluent English?

Yes, most of ZenVita architects write and speak English fluently. And we have several multilingual staffs who can speak English, Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese to fully support your communication with the architects until the end of the your projects.