My kids have been after me for years to bring an interior designer into the fold for our job sites. And up until recently, I resisted it. Why? Well, for me, it didn’t seem necessary. I felt that our team was up to the task of making the decisions that would usually fall under the responsibility of an interior designer.
But as I let my kids take on more responsibility on the job site, they persisted, and Dad relented. And I have to say, they make an incredible addition to the team. Their knowledge and expertise makes our job as contractors easier — and at the end of the day, that makes for happy homeowners.
So why do you want the services of a contractor AND an interior designer? Here’s why.
What does an interior designer do?
When you think interior design, your mind might immediately wander to things like paint colours and furniture choices. Now, sometimes, this is part of it (and for homeowners who are renovating — a key factor), but interior design is more about how you’re going to fundamentally make use of your space.
Do you want an open concept home? They can design the floor plan. Do you want to add a skylight or some new windows? They can help find the perfect spot.
Interior designers are trained in code, and can help make recommendations on those major structural changes in your home. However, at the end of the day you’ll still need an architect to sign off on the plans.
Your renovation team
Your contractor and your interior designer will be working closely together, so it’s a good idea to look for a team that can work well together. Often, a contractor will have a designer or two they like working with and vice versa, and they can provide some references for you to check out.
This isn’t an excuse not to do your due diligence and thoroughly vet your team. Renovations are expensive, and you want to ensure it’s done right. Make sure you’re asking for several references from each, and calling their previous clients. Online reviews are a good start, but they shouldn’t be your only source when it comes to hiring the people who will be working on your home.
Integrating you team
The most important thing to remember when working with your contractor and your interior designer is that you’re a team. What you shouldn’t do, is hire a designer to come up with a plan — and then once you’ve got the sign off, hire a contractor to do the work.
You want them to each be part of the conversation from the very beginning. A contractor can provide a fresh set of eyes to the designer’s plans and let them know if they’re not feasible for the space. Identifying these problems early is key, because it means less time wasted on the job site, and less materials wasted, which will save you money.
Having the team involved from start to finish is a good way to keep communication open throughout the project. Your team can discuss who’s responsible for ordering which products, and securing permits, and set up a work schedule to ensure things go smoothly.
Why include a designer?
You might think that a contractor is sufficient, so what other benefits can adding an interior designer to the equation bring?
I’ve often found that as a contractor, getting homeowners to discuss realistic budgets with me can be like pulling teeth. But if they’ve already spoken to a designer about their vision — the designer can give them a realistic idea of what kind of budget they’d need to be working with.
Not only is this great for the homeowner, as it will allow them to view their renovation realistically — it makes things easier for me as well. This lets me put my focus on the construction of the project itself.
A designer can also get the homeowner to define the specifics of the project. This helps us create a plan of attack for the project, and helps ensure that it’s a success.
I’ve seen the light. From now on, my renovations will include an interior designer as a key part of your team — and if you’re serious about your project, you’ll consider it too.
To find out more about Mike Holmes, visit makeitright.ca