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How to Hire an Architect or Designer, Part I

July 19, 2016

Remodel Help Lori Dennis Interior Design SoCal Contractor

So you want to remodel your home and you’re not sure where to start.  Don’t panic.  We’re here to help guide you through the steps of starting your project and will point you in the right direction.
If this is your first time, the whole process of building your dream might make you a little nervous.
Just relax and read up on our 3 Part Series that will help you along the process.

Depending on what you’d like to do,
you will mostly likely need a Builder or Contractor and an Architect or Interior Designer.

Architects and Designers Roles

#1

What is the Difference Between an Architect and an Interior Designer?
While they each have their own special skills, they often overlap in certain areas.  A simplified description might be that Architects focus on the exterior and structure of a building, and Interior Designers focus on the interior (and sometimes exterior).  If you’re interested in adding on to your home, you will most likely also need a Structural Engineer.  Both Architects and and most Interior Designers have years of training and are certified to design all types of buildings – not only homes.  They have studied design, architecture, construction, building codes and sustainability.  Both will redesign and move interior walls, plumbing and electrical, and create computer generated construction plans and elevations.  Both specify finish materials for your walls and floors and oversee the progress in construction.  And both focus on beautiful form, function, needs and safety of the users.

It’s common for people to assume Interior Designers are merely decorators.  While it’s true that designers have an impeccable eye for aesthetics, more importantly they are designing how you use and feel within a space.  They create a space plan and appropriately select furniture, lighting, drapery, art, color, texture and finishes so your space feels rich and layered.

Green Interior Design Book by Lori Dennis

Looking for a Professional who is a Green Design Expert?
Look for an Architect or Interior Designer who is LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional).  Designers and Architects who are LEED certified have advanced knowledge and training in the world of green design and are one step ahead in creating a healthy space for you.
If you’re interested, I happened to write the book on Green Interior Design which will help you create beautiful interiors while lessening the waste and pollution generated by the building industry.

 

#2

How Do I Find an Architect or Interior Designer?

Word of Mouth
This is one of the best ways to look for a professional to help you with your space.  Ask your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.  Reach out to your online community on Facebook or Nextdoor.

Find Pros Houzz

Online
Check out sites like Houzz or The Franklin Report and Look for Pros in your area.

AIA ASID IIDA LOGOS

Local Chapters 
These organizations are a great source for finding licensed Architects and Interior Designers near you.
AIA (American Institute of Architects)
ASID (American Society of Interior Designers)
IIDA (International Interior Design Association)

Designer Website Search Lori Dennis

Websites
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of Designers or Architects, look through their website.
Does their work excite you?  Do you have a similar design style you’re interested in?
Really think about the kind of space you want and start collecting images.  You can easily start an Ideaboard on Houzz, Pinterest or your own computer files.  Having images you like will help you visualize and begin the creative path.

Ideabook Lori Dennis Houzz

 

 

 #3

Pick Up The Phone

When you have your list of people you’d like to potentially work with, it’s time to start a conversation.

Be Prepare to Answer Questions About Your Project:
  • What is the style of your space?
  • When was it built?
  • How many square feet is it?
  • What are your goals with the project?
    (Would you like to add on? Remodel the kitchen and bathrooms?  Add new windows, doors, flooring, paint and lighting? Do you need new furniture or will you bring in your old items into a fresh space?)
  • What is your personal style?
  • What are your priorities
  • What is on your Wish List?
  • What is your budget?
    (They ask not so they can spend every dime, but so they know what level of work to be done and finishes they can specify.)
  • When would you like the project to be completed?
    (They should be able to give you a rough estimate of how long this might take.)

 These 3 Tips should be enough to get you started.
Stay tuned for Part II and Part III on How to Hire an Architect or Interior Designer.

Next Up:
#4 Meet Your Architect or Interior Designer
#5 Understand the Designer’s Process
#6  What are the Architect’s or Interior Designers’s Services
#7  The Digital Age of Design
#8  How Much do Interior Designers and Architects Charge?
#9  Who Will Hire the Builder or Contractor


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