As a Westchester County interior decorator and designer, I sometimes meet with new clients looking to remodel either parts of or an entire home. They often tell me that they already have an architect and ask why they should hire an interior designer. When I will ask them directly “why did you call me?” the discussion will open right up. Somewhere in their gut, they know the answer.
For most small projects, such as enlarging a window opening or removing a non load bearing wall, a homeowner and their contractor can handle both the design and the construction of the job. But, for larger additions or renovations and new kitchens or bathrooms, a design professional should help plan the project. A design pro can make sure that the esthetic considerations work in tandem with the structural requirements of the project, so that the space is both livable and beautiful. Both architects and designers are trained in design theory and project management. Architects however, do have more knowledge and experience in engineering and are skilled when it comes to complicated roof lines and complex design issues.
However, some architects just don’t have that aesthetic sense. They are very well versed in getting your plans through the town zoning board and know when you might need a variance for your project – but they just don’t have a strong sense of design. In this case, an interior designer can really make a difference. He or she can work with the architect to help interpret the structural requirements of a project into the most elegant design solution. Interior designers can work with your contractor to manage your project – advocating for you with the contractor and the subs.
While designers do not all have the academic training in engineering that architects possess, they are very experienced in interior space planning, furniture scale and functionality and of materials, textures and colors. A good designer typically works well with a contractor – as a teammate, not an adversary.
While I don’t necessarily believe that a home remodel “takes a village”, I do believe that after speaking to an architect about your remodeling plans and getting your first set of renderings, you will immediately know if you need a fresh pair of eyes. Sometimes hiring both an architect and a designer can produce a collaboration that with extraordinary results. When you are making this kind of an investment, the input of a professional is probably one of the most inexpensive elements of the project.