Insight #1 – A designer imagines you in the house.
We always recommend that the interior design process begin in tandem with - if not even earlier than - the architectural process in order to ensure the design of a home is built with the intended homeowner in mind. An interior designer is there to make sure that due thought is given to how the rooms will be used, what function they will have and what furniture will populate the spaces – all information that will affect layout, size of spaces, flow between rooms, door and window opening sizes, etc. This information is critical to have set in stone before the contractor sets it in concrete. It is very costly to move a concrete footing, a lot less expensive to change it on paper.
Insight #2 – Stay in control of the game.
The process of renovating or building a new home can become a game of chase. You can find yourself constantly being chased by tradespeople for answers to their questions and this can be stressful. Snap decisions operating on instinct can sometimes be the right ones but more often than not, they can be the decisions that you live to regret or that you have the tradesperson change at further cost to you.
Working with an experienced design and project management team keeps you in control and removes the stress of having to make a decisions in 10 minutes. An experienced team will know in advance what questions will be coming up and ensure that decisions are made well in advance of getting the ‘where do you want this’ phone call.
Insight #3 – Most details needs to be thought through at the very beginning.
Some homes are designed from the outside in. Traditionally, this is how homes were built (think of the symmetrical repetition of a Georgian exterior). In this style of home building, the furniture layout is of little concern to what the house would look like from the outside. However, in our modern age, with so many options for customizing spaces to how we live, windows and doors can be of any shapes and size and are often guided by the spaces within rather than imposed upon the layout of the house.
A lot of thought should happen early on in the design process so that there isn’t a resulting conflict of furniture vs. windows and doors. For example, where the dining table is going to go and how big it will be, will impact size and operation of the patio doors – or, conversely – size of dining table may be impacted by the operation of the doors - door swing vs. clearance around table. Thinking through all of these details on your own at the beginning of a project can be completely overwhelming. Working with a great designer who will navigate you through these decisions will save you time, and so much stress!
Insight #4 - A designed space is still your space.
Choosing to work with a designer and project manager means having expertise, experience and connections to various tradespeople, artisans and suppliers to get the best outcome possible for your project. Just because you aren’t doing all the work yourself (often not possible!) or not making everything a DIY project (stressful!!), doesn’t mean the end result won’t feel like your own. A great design team will work to ensure the house is a reflection of the people living in it, and often include personal touches in the end result, so it really feels like home.
Having both gone through renovations ourselves, we can honestly say working with professionals will help so much with the decision-making process as they are not as close to the project as you, the homeowner, are. A professional team is emotionally removed enough that it allows the freedom to bring new ideas for layouts, wall coverings, unusual fabrics etc., that you, the homeowner, may never have thought of.
Insight #5 - Time is money, duh.
While there are some variables that even the best project manager can’t control, hiring a team to manage your renovation project means everything is done as efficiently as possible. They’ll have the experience and knowledge around often lengthy permitting processes, work with reliable tradespeople and suppliers, and be able to give you a reasonable timeline for your project. While you will pay a fee for the design and project management of your renovation, you’ll be saving money in multiple ways - through discounts on various design finishes and fixtures and in the time taken to complete the project, not to mention your own time, which is very valuable.