Whether you plan to use a contractor or complete a remodel yourself, there are benefits to hiring professional interior designers and licensed architects.
Why should you care?
Many remodels involve structural changes to your home, and those changes (and associated permits) require professional construction drawings. Would you trust those building plans, and the structural safety of your home, to someone with limited knowledge and little oversight? Licensed architects bring extensive training, experience, and an industry stamp of approval to every building project.
Architects earn their licensure by passing a series of seven rigorous tests administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Becoming an architect is so challenging, in fact, that every year one-third of all applicants fail the NCARB Architect Registration Examination® (ARE) – a testing process designed to protect the consumer.
According to Cathy Rosset, Executive Vice President/CEO of the American Institute of Architects, Colorado (AIA), “While architects are not required in the state of Colorado for single-family homes, the benefits of hiring an architect are many and stem from the foundation that all licensed architects are charged with protecting the health, safety and welfare of the people who occupy their designed buildings.”
Licensed architects, like Jeff Gaines and Anne Nelsen at HighCraft Builders, can produce your important construction drawings, permit drawings and early phase 3-D renderings before interior selections are made. They draft the architectural “bones” for a remodel, and their construction experience and insight ensures their designs are structurally sound.
So, what does an interior designer do exactly, and how can they help?
Let’s start by clarifying some terminology. Interior designers and interior decorators are not necessarily one in the same.
Interior designers have the specific training required to plan the restructure of an interior space. Designers also work side-by-side with homeowners, architects and contractors throughout the entire remodeling process. They can do everything from suggest wall demolition to finish selections, and all things in between.
Decorators, on the other hand, are not involved in designing the layout of the space. Rather, they typically come in at the end of a project to help homeowners select furnishings, accent lighting and fabrics.
Good interior designers are great listeners and adept at helping you define your style. They have construction knowledge, which allows them to quickly determine if your ideas are realistic given your budget, timeline and intended use for the space. They work with you from the beginning to the end of your remodel to ensure the finished project meets your lifestyle needs and reflects your individual taste.
Once you share project goals with an interior designer, your level of design participation is entirely up to you.
They can help you create a focal point for your space – such as an architectural element, fireplace, window, piece of artwork or furniture – and then design the interior layout around that inspiration. They will also develop new floor plans and 3-D renderings to help you visualize your project and guide the scope of work.
Once you approve the final layout, interior designers can walk you through the process of selecting and purchasing finishes, lighting, paint colors and materials to achieve a cohesive, functional and pleasing space.
Interior designers, like HighCraft’s Kira Koldeway (Allied Member ASID, Affiliate IIDA), will order, ship and track all products and materials for your project and orchestrate carefully timed deliveries to keep the production schedule on track. They also make sure all materials are installed according to plan. And most importantly, a good designer will keep an eagle eye on your project budget, which is invaluable.
When choosing a professional remodeling contractor, it’s wise to work with a “design-build” company with at least one AIA-licensed architect on staff, and at least one interior designer affiliated with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), or both.
If you’re tackling a large remodel yourself, then search for an architect and interior designer with experience and credentials, and involve them as early as possible in your planning process.