For those of you that are new to remodeling, the first issue you may face is who to call. Because a homeowner’s focus tends to be “How much is this going to cost me?” they gather up a group of contractors and have them quote a price without ever considering design. What the client may not realize is that this quoted price is based on each contractor’s design vision, instead of his or her own. As Bob Bravo, owner of BRAVI puts it, “You are comparing apples to oranges because there are so many ways to approach a project’s design. Instead, you want to be comparing apples to apples.” Starting the remodeling project with a solid design will ensure that you get the room you have been wanting, and allow contractors to give you a firmer cost estimate.
So how do you avoid this common mistake? The key is to find a remodeling firm that offers a full-service package. In other words, look for a firm that has a team of designers, as well as contractors. The designers can sit down with you, one-on-one, to discuss the style of kitchen, bathroom or room addition you are envisioning. If you are like many homeowners, you know what looks good but you are not sure how to achieve that look. Interior designers are there to help take the ideas that are floating in your head, and transfer them into real life through room layout, product selection and overall aesthetics.
A note of caution, interior designers do not always understand cost. Often times, they will present to you a design without considering your budget. It takes both designers and contractors to have a well-designed space. The other advantage of using a firm where both designers and builders are working together is the avoidance of miscommunication. They can collaborate with one another and keep the other one in check. Interior designers have the talent and ability to create a space that reflects your personal tastes, while contractors can give you a cost estimate and take the conceptual and turn it into reality.
So who should you call first? An interior designer should be the first person you consult. They can take your ideas and solidify them so that when you take it to the contractor, he can give you an accurate estimate. As Justin Bravo puts it, “Think design, plans, and then construction, in that order.” If you follow these steps, you can come out of the remodeling process with a positive attitude and a well thought-out space that matches your needs.