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Part 1: Building custom homes or large scale renovations

Why Hire an Interior Designer with Project Management Experience?

I often get frantic calls from clients who are knee deep into a project , but have no idea what to do or how to fix a bad situation.  These are clients who thought they didn’t need a designer, and suddenly begin to see the value that a designer could have added to their complicated project AFTER they are along in the process, are frustrated, and are not getting the results they dreamed of.

In terms of custom home building I find that the client often hires a builder based off of a spec house they walked though, yet they wanted that spec house builder to do their house “better” and more “custom”.  Yet they don’t know specifically what that means for them. They may know what styles they like,  but to put that into a plan that flows nicely and works room to room is time consuming and not in their professional work realm.  And they don’t understand that trying to make a spec builder into a design-build type of builder is NOT for the inexperienced because it’s comparing apples to oranges. The two different types of professionals each have completely different methods of working on a project, and different philosophies on building. I will explain the difference in a later article between the two different types of builders because I think its a very important distinction.

When the client has a full time job of their own, and can’t spend it taking care of their project,  and also will not spend money hiring a professional, he or she often finds that the house is not turning out to be the house of their dreams, but rather an extra job that they feel unqualified to make decisions for. Sadly, the client starts to bemoan how hard it is to build, when in fact building & renovating is exciting and fun for the most part– especially when you have qualified assistance in all the decisions it takes to bring the project to fruition with the look the client dreamed of.

If you have an interior designer who has great management experience with similar projects that they took under their wing, with great photos and references, then you will have the necessary component for fielding MOST daily questions from the contractor and subcontractors, and will have a qualified pro who can deal with job site  headaches– which are very much part of building and renovation–no matter how fabulous the designer or builder is. But it’s the details that make spaces great and without the right designer and project manager to hold those contractors and subs responsible for the details, many of the details are not implemented  at all, or incorrectly.

We designers work on behalf of the client, and their interests.  Yes, we definitely help the spec builder and design build firm in getting our clients to make timely decisions,  and to also make experienced decisions.  But we are specifically focused on the client and making sure they understand the questions, concerns of their builder and contractors, understand what something will look like, and in order to facilitate decisions we draw up specifications for the client to review and the subcontractors so they know how we want tile laid out, what the grout color is, provide millwork drawings and specifications on finishes, provide trim profile mock ups and samples so that the client can better understand what they will be seeing and provide consultation and opinion on hundreds if not thousands of decisions for homes. So its worth the investment to have someone by your side who works directly for you, to make sure that your dreams are turned into reality and all the work, that this entails.