• Dafna Adler

A different approach to home renovation

Updated: Jan 11



Consider a Different Approach to Home Renovation

If you are a homeowner and are considering doing a major renovation such as extending your family room, gutting your kitchen, adding a new addition to your home, creating a usable finished basement or other such projects, your first thought may be to look for a contractor and possibly an architect and begin your project there. I would like to suggest another path.

It has been my experience as an interior designer that homeowners gain from involving the design professional from the inception of a project. According to Deborah Martin,in a blog on February 28,2014, “An Interior designer employs a holistic approach based on both functional and aesthetic aspects”. The designer, with input from the client, can provide essential information into how the client will use the potential space and give insight to both the contractor and architect and should work with a them as a team.

The design professional with access to builders, architects, and other professionals are most qualified to manage a construction project. Experienced designers have an understanding of the time lags for different aspects of the projects such as projects that require custom work. For example, sometimes built-in furniture makes the most sense in a space, planning, designing and installing the custom cabinetry takes longer time than choosing paint colors, tiles, wallpaper or other materials. The designer, with access to the best resources can assist with work load prioritization, ordering the material and keeping abreast the potential interdependencies that may arise.

Additionally, the designer considers furniture placement, lighting, window treatments and other aesthetic aspects that are not a priority for the architect. If the furniture placement and space planning is done ahead of time, it can eliminate costly problems or awkward spaces after the space is built. For example if having a sofa with seats that lean back is on your wish list, but the architect did not plan for sufficient space, it may be difficult to put that type of furniture in the spot you want. Windows and radiators may be placed in a location where a piece of furniture will not fit. Designers can plan ahead and eliminate these potential issues.

Armed with a floor plan, furniture plan and space plans, designers can create a lighting plans to determine where light fixtures will be installed, electrical plans to determine where the switches will be, what kind, how many and a reflected ceiling plan which indicates what finishes or built outs will be done on the ceiling. Also, thoughts about where TV and cable units will be placed, and having enough electrical input in the correct places. These are important things to take care of in the planning stages and are usually not something architects focus on, and contractors are thankful for.

Designers have access to resources and have experience that can help a client choose the appropriate options in advance. Contractors don’t have the time nor inclination to go shopping with the client, or typically use materials they are comfortable with and have easy access. Designers will try to create a space that is unique to their clients taste and budget and consider how the entire space will come together cohesively.

Contractors and architects who work as a team with the interior designer always create the best solution for the client, and that is the goal.

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