I don't need a designer, I'll just Do It Myself!
Understandably, this is a common thought among home owners... you know your own tastes, you've conquered smaller projects on your own, and you may even be handy around the house. While there are certainly success stories, as Designers, we are often called upon late in the game to try to save the day for a DIY project gone awry.
Architects/Designers are trained not only to innovate, but also to execute a design. Unfortunately, many issues can arise that result in a conceptual design looking distressingly different than the final product. In addition to creating the most beautiful looking design, Architects/Designers are experienced in sourcing materials, balancing proportions, and optimizing the efficient use of space. In this post, we'll provide you with information of which homeowners are often unaware, based on our experience with residential design projects.
The top 5 reasons you should hire an Architect/Designer for your home remodel, renovation, or addition:
1. Your Sanity
You will spend 100x more hours than any Architect/Designer searching through tile showrooms, not even know where to begin when it comes to flooring, and your head will really start to spin when it comes to lighting selection. That's because this is what we do! You may know Home Depot and one or two really high end showrooms, but we know everything in between.
Architects/Designers do this for their job every day, and even the specifics we aren't as familiar with, we will find out in half the time it would take you and will only show you the best and most closely aligned to what you are looking for. We not only have the eye, we get all the trade magazines/emails, go to all of the events, and always know about new products because the companies come to us. Oftentimes the best products (and the best deals!) are only available for purchase by an Architect/Designer. This is our job and there is a reason that people pay for it, because they don’t want to lose their minds.
2. The Most Aesthetically Pleasing AND Efficient Environment
The best Architects/Designers go to school for 5-7 years learning primarily one thing: how to make beautifully functional environments. We take everything into consideration: proportion, rhythm, material, details, distances between objects, thicknesses, electricity, plumbing....The list goes on and on. These are things you might not ever think about or even know are present, and that is the best reason of all the hire an Architect/Designer - because the essence of your project is in the details. If you've ever seen a bad tile or drywall job, you know what I mean. Your Architect/Designer is not going to let that happen.
Aside from just the details, when you have a space that needs a new flow or function, we look at hundreds of options and configurations before showing you the top 2-3 results. In other words, we spend the time so you don’t have to. Because of our many years in school and access to amazing 3d graphic programs, we can do this stuff pretty quickly!
3. Great Solutions to Issues That May Arise During Demolition
No matter the age of your existing abode, chances are you don’t really know what’s going on in those walls, unless you built it yourself, in which case, you probably aren’t reading this because you are an architect/designer/contractor.
The thing is, we’ve seen the best and the worst case scenarios.
Best case: when demo happens, the guts of your house have no issues and the contractor can follow your Architect/Designer’s plans without delay or a hundred change orders.
Worst case (and this is a true story that we have dealt with): one entire side of your house has been completely eaten up with dry-rot due to slowly leaking windows over the past 20 years. It needs new structural columns and framing. It was one earthquake away from falling down. You need new windows, because they are compromised everywhere in the house and you don’t want this issue to continue to happen. You will need brand new stucco job on exterior because of all of this new work. All of these unforeseen issues snowball and now you are looking at a total interior and exterior renovation that began as just a few rooms of your home interior renovation.
Luckily you have your Architect/Designer on hand to help you through this process. They can design great, on the fly solutions specifically for your home and its conditions, adapting their existing drawings, pulling new permits as needed, and staying in close contact with the contractor along the way to ensure you don’t get hit with more of a bill than is necessary. After all, if you've been smart in your renovation/addition project, you've had your Architect/Designer on hand since your initial idea phase and they know the project better than anyone at this point!
4. Someone to Coordinate the Team Working on Your Project
The Architect/Designer is the person in charge on a project. For small projects, usually we are all that you will need. But when projects get larger in size, we hire the engineers, lighting designers, and interior designer (of course, we are also interior designers, so in this case, you wouldn’t necessarily need a separate one!)
If you are doing anything structural - you need a structural engineer to do calculations and give advice - we know structural engineers and hire them for you. Ditto for electrical engineers, lighting designers, and interior designers - as well as any other type of speciality that may come up (again, depending on the scale of the project), such as a kitchen designer, LEED specialist, etc. Your Architect/Designer will be able to recommend, hire, and coordinate the best of all the other specialities needed to bring your project from concept to completion.
5. Someone at the Construction Site with Your Best Interests in Mind
Referred to by Architects/Designers as Construction Administration - CA for short - this is by far the most important aspect you want to ensure you keep your Architect/Designer on hand for. Many people wrongfully think that since the Architect/Designer already did construction drawings and specified all the finishes and fixtures for your space, that they don’t need there services anymore. The problem with this thinking is that contractors never know 100% how to build everything per the plans and other documentation, there will always be questions - called RFI's (requests for information), no matter how detailed your Architect/Designer has been. It can be some small detail that was overlooked, a drawing in question because they contractor does not understand something specifically, etc... Either way, during construction is the time where you will rely on your Architect/Designer to answer all of these RFI's for your contractor as well as be on site occasionally to oversee that all the materials and details are coming together as planned and that your project will be as beautifully built as it was intended to be per the design.
Some people may shortchange themselves because CA services are billed hourly, but don’t be one of those people! The nominal amount of hourly dollars that will go to your Architect/Designer will actually save you money by not having to make the contractor fix things he messed up that you didn’t notice until it was too late - your Architect/Designer will notice right away before the cost to redo things becomes an issue.
Don't worry that your Architect/Designer is just spending time on site to make money, they aren't! They have an equal investment to ensure the project is built correctly and beautifully, because they want photos for their portfolio and a happy client to give them future referrals. To keep cost concerns at bay, you can ensure that your contractor sets benchmarks with your Architect/Designer as to when they should come to the site to review the construction progress and specific details. Oftentimes it will be once a week or a few times a month, depending on the length and scope of the project, with phone calls and emails with the contractor in between. Ultimately, having your Architect/Designer around will keep everything running smooth during the construction phase and ensure a beautifully constructed finished product.
We hope this post has been helpful in your beginning thoughts of your upcoming home renovation/remodel/addition. If you want any further advice, feel free to give Bone Carroll Studio a call at 424.273.5053 or email us.