You’ve worked, dreamed, worked some more, saved, and now you’re ready to build your dream home. This is the investment of your lifetime, and you want to do it right.
But the pressure of it all is overwhelming.
There are so many decisions that have to be made. You’ve heard horror stories about banks, contractors, and regrets of other homeowners. What if you choose something you don’t like? What if you go over budget? What if your end result doesn’t match your dreams?
These are all very important questions. There are a million decisions that need to be made, and you definitely want to protect your hard-earned money and investment. And the good news is, there are people out there that can help. You don’t have to make all of these decisions on your own.
For the next five Mondays, I’m going to help clear the air and point you in the right direction. You aren’t going to simply hear it from me, either. Some of my very talented design colleagues have joined me to give you their best advice.
The first question we are going to tackle is this:
Which professional should you hire first? Should it be the contractor, the interior designer, or the architect?
Take it away, Adam.
Architect first, interior designer shortly after! Architects “ground” interior designers by letting us know whether or not our ideas are structurally sound, and we (interior designers) make architects think about things that they might not normally, like future furniture placement. Let me tell you, nothing kills the “mood” faster in your master bedroom than if you bed has to face your commode because there are radiators on the other 3 walls! (Extreme example, but it makes a point)! You need an architect for the outside of the home, and an interior designer for the inside!
Thank you for having me here today Tawna. This is such an important topic. Building a home is a wonderfully exciting experience, but it can also be stressful and expensive if decisions are not well thought out from the beginning.
In my opinion, an interior designer should be the first person you call. Our job is to understand how your family will live in the home. Will you float your sofa in the middle of the room, if so, you will need outlets placed in the floor. How tall are the cooks in the family? This will determine the height of the kitchen island. These are only two of the many decisions that will need to be made before your new home is built. If these decisions are not made first, then it will be very expensive and time consuming to change them later. An interior designer will consider all of these issues and work with your architect or contractor to keep changes to a minimum.
This is your dream home and it should work for each member of your family. An interior designer’s goal is to take your vision and create the perfect home that does just that.
Finding the right professional is easier now than it has ever been. Research is key! Go to their website and their Houzz page. Check out their work and call for references. Once you find 2 or 3 firms that interest you, meet with them and discuss the project. You will want someone who listens to you. Remember you are interviewing them, not the other way around.
Well, you should hire the architect and the interior designer at the same time. The architect and designer need to work in unison when building a home. The architect designs and constructs the structure economically and efficiently; the interior designer provides functional and supportive environments.
Why? Both the architect and designer understand what it takes to deliver a well-designed home environment for the client. They have years of experience, resources and efficient processes that potential homeowners will need to build a home without costly mistakes.
You will want to select a licensed architect to design your home. I recommend working with an architect and interior designer that has a similar aesthetic to the client. It is good to start from the common ground of aesthetic because the client can rest assured the interior/exterior of the design will match their taste level. If you love the classics you should not hire an architect/interior designer whose aesthetic is modern.
Before your initial interview with the architect and designer it is very valuable to have a set budget in mind. The misconception among homeowners is that they fear if they reveal their budget then the architect/designer will exceed it. On the contrary, if everyone involved with building your home understands your budget then they have a guiding point of what they can and can’t do within that budget. An architect and interior designer have one goal; they want to provide a design that is functional, efficient, done ahead of schedule, and done on budget. When everyone on your team understands your goals and budget then you will enjoy the process of building your dream home rather than frustration and anxiety.
I agree with Adam, Lori, and Elle! Thanks so much you guys.
Here’s my two-cents on the issue:
If you can, find all three at the same time. Every professional brings an expertise to the table that the other doesn’t.
Let’s make a master bathroom our example. The designer you’ve hired will think from the inside out. They’ll listen to your dreams, and then be your key advocate to make them become reality. Say you want a free-standing tub and two sinks. The architect will adjust all your walls to make everything fit. The designer will make sure your tile selections are durable, your colors match, and the placement of your towel bars are in the optimal place. The contractor is going to feed off of the decisions that the architect, homeowner, and designer worked though, and then they are going to make sure that the floor has adequate framing to hold up the weight of the free-standing tub, the blocking (extra framing) is throughout the walls for those extra towel bars, and that the bathroom has proper ventilation so it doesn’t mold.
If you get all three on board, it is magic! Take your time building your team….don’t skimp on this step. Make sure they all have your best interest in mind and can work together. The last part is so important. If you get an architect that is annoyed by the designer, a designer that won’t listen to the advice of the architect or contractor, or a contractor that hates “bossy” designers, you’ll be in for a rocky ride. Tons of time will be wasted in miscommunication.
There’s so much we could go into, but I hope this helps. Thanks again to Adam and Lori! Head over to their websites to see their amazing talent. And if you have someone you know that is building their dream home soon, share this blog series with them. I think they’ll appreciate the guidance.
Happy Monday Everyone!