People often want to know why they should use an interior designer for a remodel or new construction project. Isn’t that work reserved for the contractors and architects of the world? Why not just save the interior designer until the end, when you actually need some decorating done?
This is one of the most common misconceptions regarding the interior design world: that interior designers come in after the fact to pretty everything up. In fact, experienced homeowners and design firms understand that having an interior designer involved in the remodel or new construction phase of your home’s design can literally make or break the success of the project.
Suburban Oasis: Proof You Should Always Use an Interior Designer to Guide Residential Construction
We are going to use one of our own projects, one we call the Suburban Oasis, to serve as an example of why you should always use an interior decorator for a remodel, renovation or new construction project. In addition to saving you money, it will also ensure that your design is functional, fluid and reflects the interests of everyone living in the household.
Facilitate a Fluid Design/Build Process
Forget about the fluidity of the design itself (for a minute, anyway) and let’s just talk about the design/build process. If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up with a “which comes first: the chicken or the egg?” conundrum. Without a single point of contact working on your behalf, the design/build process can be a nightmare. Who’s deciding on the design? The architect? Your own perusal of floor plans you like? Neither of these options provides the personal, holistic approach required for a truly successful home design. You need someone who will get to know you, learn about your interests, passions and tastes, and can translate the tidbits they glean into a home design that is as functional and comfortable as it is attractive.
Suburban Oasis Example: Originally, we were hired to personalize the home. Our clients had recently moved from Seattle and used a popular home furnishings store for their design services, which yielded an interior that looked like one of the store’s showrooms rather than a home owned by individuals with their own personalities. We used paint, fabrics, etc., to create a more personalized interior. A year later, they were interested in a complete remodel and felt immediately overwhelmed by the process, even with the help of their architect and contractor.
The clients remembered the work we had done and contacted us while she was in over her head, trying to select tiles for all the rooms. Once we were hired, the clients were able to get out of “overwhelmed mode” and begin to relax and enjoy the process. We acted as guide, mediator and facilitator – making sure each half of the couple was reflected in a balanced way in the design and keeping them abreast of every important decision, action, and change required throughout the construction process so that things moved forward according to the timeline and budget. We put all the pieces together to create a personalized, cohesive look that would still appeal to potential buyers if our clients ever decided to sell.
Reign in the Loose Ends and Keep Costs in Check
Did you know that one of the most expensive parts of building or remodeling can be all of the delays and re-dos that occur as the result of change orders? The builder gets going, the homeowner sees half-finished or completed section and says, “Yikes! I don’t like that after all!” or “That isn’t what I envisioned,” and it’s back to square one. These time-consuming and costly changes are practically non-existent when you work with an experienced designer. We make sure that things are designed right the first time, and we are there (dare we say “micromanaging”) the project so there are few to no mistakes, and anything that doesn’t seem quite right is stopped and corrected before it requires significant effort to reverse or change.
Also, we have relationships with the best contractors, subcontractors and vendors in the business. You don’t have to do any of the work figuring out who’s who. We can provide referrals to the right people from the get-go, which results in top-quality craftsmanship every step of the way. No flaky or negligent contractors here! If a client already has favorite contractors and vendors in mind or in contract, we are happy to work collaboratively with them as well. Finally, we work with artisans and vendors that only establish relationships with professionals rather than the public. This results in more affordable prices for highly-customized work, and we are able to pass the bulk of those discounts on to our clients.
Suburban Oasis Example: While this project was technically a remodel, we changed so much – from knocking out exterior walls to expand the view, to redesigning the kitchen and bathrooms, master bedroom, all new paint colors, lighting fixtures, window treatments, flooring and carpet. We installed custom cabinetry and built-ins, new countertops and appliances, etc. A full remodel of that undertaking is only on-time and within the budget when you use an interior designer and professional build team that knows what they are doing.
Gain the Advantage of an Artistic Eye
Many people know what they like when they see it, but few are able to create and invent the little (or bigger) extras that truly knit the design together and maintain the aesthetics and flow from room-to-room. An interior designer has that eye; she can tell you when to repurpose something you have, scour the flea markets for something you don’t and will share ideas for brilliant custom art and accessories that will be especially unique to your design. Like the idea of custom furniture, furnishings and art? A well-connected designer will make them a reality. This is something that can’t happen – unless you have an eye and the artistic connections – if you work strictly with an architect/build team.
Suburban Oasis Example: In the Suburban Oasis, there was a beautiful view that was mostly obstructed by walls. We knocked out exterior walls and windows in the dining room and replaced them with patio doors that completely opened up the space and increased the entertainment potential. To harness the viewing power, the kitchen layout was reconfigured by their architect so the clients can enjoy the view from the dining room and we added a full kitchen island while still managing to improve the flow of the space.
We took over the selection of countertops, backsplash, cabinets and other visuals to keep the views consistent. Since the home is surrounded by gorgeous vineyards and horse farms, and the couple are avid backpackers, we found and created multiple client-specific accents and art pieces that continued these themes throughout the home and created continuity from living space to living space.
Before and After
Here are some images taken by the realtor before the client moved in comparison to the work completed by Kristina.
Hiring an experienced interior designer can be one of the most powerful decisions you make before starting a new home construction or remodeling project because you’ll benefit from an adviser, inventor, artist and advocate from the moment the design phase begins through the completion of your project.