For this post, we are drawing on a format developed by Jeffrey Veffer[i], in a houzz.com article. Mr. Veffer is a fellow architect and MBA, who suggests that working with a residential designer is similar to working with a dentist although not as painful! We liked the analogy so decided to go with it. Avoid a lot of pain by working with a professional at the outset.
Just like you understand that your dentist has specialized expertise about oral health care, an architect or interior designer has special knowledge about home and room design.
He says it is well worth the money to hire a professional for the following reasons:
- Save time – you may lack the full understanding of how a remodeling project may impact the infrastructure of your home, may not know what permits are required, or who the best contractors are in your area. Professional residential designers and architects have a rolodex (ok, maybe nobody uses those anymore, but you get the point) full of contacts that can save you many hours of comparison shopping, wrong numbers and questionable companies.
- Leverage full knowledge and expertise of the professional – most interior design people, if they are “in for a penny, are in for a pound.” They are more than willing to share their expertise and help you with your project in any way they can. Most have many years of experience and a wide understanding of the industry so you get lots of advice that comes along with your contract to work with them.
- They know the language of the industry – you may think you understand construction, but a lot has changed over the years and you may actually have no clue about how things are done today vs. how they were done many years ago. There are so many new tools, technologies, materials and services available, you could wind up spending time and money with outdated approaches to your project
- A built in advocate – when it comes time to start spending on your project, you want someone to watch your back. Construction contractors are famous for starting a project and then moving on to something else while you wait in vain for them to come back to yours. Professionals know how to avoid these delaying tactics and will make sure your project starts and ends as scheduled with milestones and payment strategies designed to keep things moving.
- Design sense and attention to detail – nobody understands more about how things will really look vs. how they look on paper better than an architect. They spent many years in school, on the job and in the real world so they understand why it is so important to pay attention to the details.
In another excellent article, Ted Goodnow of WoodMeister Master Builders says that planning a construction project or renovation project can be exciting, but also result in a lot of frustration. As he says, it is far too easy to skip the details and get right into knocking down walls or digging holes in the ground only to find out you demolished a portion of hour HVAC system, dug into a buried cable or damaged the foundation of your home. It pays to work with someone who knows how to avoid unnecessary expense and hidden problems.
He suggests that you approach a building or renovation project as a collaborative effort between yourself, your builder and a design professional. We could not agree more!
He recommends that the pre-construction and design phase include a schematic, design development plan and all the construction documents (blueprints, material lists, etc.) that you need for your project.
Save yourself time and money by working with a professional. You’ll be glad you did.