“Hi Tawna! This is so-and-so, and I’m remodeling my basement/kitchen/master bathroom. I need to figure out a floor plan and was wondering if I talk to you or a contractor first?”
I get this question more than any other, and I would like to set the record straight today.
You see, it’s not a straightforward as it might seem, and I suppose that is why the question comes up.
The answer is, you need both. And which one is first depends on the people you are hiring.
Some designers have architects or other credentialed people on their team to make structural decision. One of my interior design colleagues became a contractor after she found the work around her to be less than satisfactory. One the whole, however, most designers are not qualified to make final decisions regarding engineering and the structural integrity of a home. This must be figured out by a qualified contractor, architect, or engineer.
What is our role? We are the visionaries, client advocates, and the professional that helps the client wade through and make sense of the thousands of choices available. We can certainly give input (GREAT input) on a tearing out walls, but it will still have to be approved and stamped by the appropriate professional.
Contractors (most of them) are wired for efficiency. This is why having both a contractor and a designer on the job, who work well together, is the perfect situation. The designer should be able to come up with a plan that is beautiful and cohesive, and then the contractor can hit the ground running with that plan. They can even create that plan together. Contractors hold designers accountable for the decisions and can be a great “check” in the balance of the plan to move it forward.
Can you hire a contractor without a designer?
But I would ask yourself this question before you go that route: Does the contractor have a creative enough vision to get you what you want? If the answer is no, it might be time to get a designer on board.
Have more questions?
You can reach me anytime via my contact page.