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How Can You Enjoy Working with Your Architect and Interior Designer?

Updated: May 26

Whether you’re renovating your kitchen, enhancing your primary bedroom suite, or enlarging your house with a new addition, remodeling involves time, money, planning, and often a little stress. So, what do you need?

You need experienced design professionals, architects, and interior designers, who are masterful guides and creative partners, able and willing to shepherd you through local regulatory issues, budgeting, scheduling, procurement activities, and the many phases of construction.

You will enjoy their creative genius and passion for design. Allow them to engage you in their design process. Remodeling your home should be a meaningful and memorable journey; it is your home, after all! It can also raise many questions .... such as: How best to work with my architect and interior designer?

Ask your design team the following 10 questions:

  • What is your design philosophy?

This is your chance to talk about the ways in which your architect and interior designer will design and deliver your project. Whatever is important to you should be important to your architect and interior designer, this is the time to bring it up!

  • What is your design process?

Most architects and interior designers follow a sequential design process moving from general concepts to developing those concepts into specific constructable plans and specifications. Typical phases include initial consultation, developing a project brief, as built documentations, generating concept designs, development of those concepts for your review and approval, construction document preparation, bidding, procurement, and construction administration. Remember to discuss your expectations and preferences for your design team’s design process.

  • How do I best participate in the design process?

Visit your team’s design studio to get a feel for their work, their staff, and their design process. Schedule regular design review meetings. Do not move onto the next design stage until you are satisfied and have signed off on the design work presented. Ask for regular updates on your project’s progress. Be curious and allow your architect and interior designer to surprise and delight you with their creativity.

  • Who will I be working with?

Regardless as to the size of the firm, you will want to clarify who will be designing and managing your project, and who your contact person will be.

  • Discuss any major challenges you foresee with your project.

Does your project present a difficult site, an HOA, a limited budget, or other complications, be upfront. How the architect and interior designer respond to these challenges will tell you whether they’re suited for your project.

  • How much time will the design process and construction take?

Be sure the architect and interior designer have the time to devote to your project and can bring it to completion in a timely manner. Remember design professionals can account for their time, but not delays caused by indecisiveness or a contractor’s scheduling conflicts.

  • Ask your architect and interior designer for a few references, particularly for projects similar to yours.

It may be possible to view work they’ve done on other houses similar to yours. If so, take advantage of that opportunity. When you call references, ask specific questions. How responsive was the architect and interior designer to your inquiries? How did he or she handle conflicts? Was the project completed on time?

  • How will the architect and interior designer present their ideas and work to you?

Will you be able to view your project on a computer screen in 3D, or do you prefer a more traditional paper presentation? Neither is an indication of a “better”, but if you’re more comfortable with one than the other, bring this up.

  • What will your architect and interior designer be responsible for, and what will you be responsible for?

Designing a major remodel is a partnership. Make sure you both understand what is expected of each other.

  • What is covered in the design fee, and how is it structured?

Do not commence work without a firm understanding of what the architect’s and interior designer’s fees are, what they are based on, and how and when you will be billed. Generally, there are four typical fee structures:

  • Not to exceed fee based on the Square-footage and work scope of the project

  • Percentage of overall construction costs for the project

  • Hourly fees plus reimbursable expenses

  • Lump sum fee requiring a well-defined work scope, budget and schedule

Ask these questions, and together with your architect and interior designer, you will be ready to create a beautiful, and wonderful new home!

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Kamil Kapica
Kamil Kapica
24 Ιαν

I wasn't sure where to start with my house addition, great cheat sheet!

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