HOME REMODELING ANSWERS:
Remodeling success requires a natural progression of logical steps. Understanding the process will relieve you from a lot of pressure. You will be able to communicate with construction professionals. Your remodeling project will proceed more smoothly, with fewer hassles, better results, within a reasonable budget. More information about remodeling is contained in my award-winning book, “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling”. Simplified, the Homeowners’ role in remodeling includes eight key steps:
1. Interview members of the main remodeling team (design professionals and a general contractors)
2. Check references and experience, licensing, then hire the best one(s) for your project.
3. Participate in the preliminary design process (weekly meetings).
4. Review value-engineering data from the contractor and the design professional.
5. Make all product decisions before the plans are finished, so they’ll arrive before construction starts.
6. Participate in the final design process.
7. Review and approve the final plans.
8. Participate in jobsite meetings during construction.
Not at all! Looking at a portfolio will tell you a lot. Ask specific questions about the designers’ personal and professional preference. A trained, experienced designer will be able to focus on your needs and incorporate your preferences, without imposing their personal taste or preferences on you.
A decorator typically specializes in finishes, furniture, and accessories. Specific education is not required for someone to call himself/herself a decorator.
A designer has years of education, and may have interior design degrees. Interior designers have specific knowledge of building systems, remodeling codes, architectural history, business practices, and surface finishes. Qualified designers know how to prepare detailed plans and specifications.
Ultimately, who you hire depends on your needs, and the type of remodeling project you are doing. Ask to see not only a portfolio of projects, but also samples of plans. Don’t forget to check references. If your project is a new home, or a renovation that includes an addition, a kitchen, or a bathroom, it’s very important for you to hire someone who has specific knowledge and experience:
> Building systems
> Products (appliances, plumbing fixtures, lighting/electrical, cabinets, doors/windows, etc.)
> Function and safety guidelines (especially important for bathrooms and kitchens)
> Code requirements
> Detailed plans and specifications preparation
A certified designer has the highest level of commitment to consumers and the profession, passing examinations to prove specialized knowledge and experience. Certified designers must meet ongoing education requirements about products, codes, environmental issues, and accessibility. Non-certified designers do not have a proven level of professional commitment.
I am a Certified Master Kitchen-Bath Designer, a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, and a Certified Interior Designer. I am studying to become a Certified “Green” Designer.
A new home or a large remodeling project may include a team of specialists (an architect, a structural engineer, a bath-kitchen designer, and an interior designer or a decorator). Building designers can draw plans, but may not be able to help you make product decisions or give you aesthetic advice. I have designed a multitude of projects during my 25-year career, including large remodeling projects and several new homes.
One of the homes I designed, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, won the 2009 Portland Home Builders’ Association Excellence Award for Best Home.
It’s wise to talk to two or three designers who have been referred to you, before you make your final decision. My award-winning book, “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” contains an important list of questions to ask, so you can make an informed decision about who to hire.
As an independent, fully-certified designer and homeowner advocate, I work with your contractor not for your contractor. I offer a wider selection of products and services than most design-build firms. I am available more hours of the day and more days of the week than someone who works for a design-build firm. You will be treated with highest respect as an individual with real concerns and needs, not just another consumer. If there’s a problem, I’ll be there to help you solve it.
I do not charge an hourly fee, or calculate my fee based on a percentage of your project’s value, because I feel that these are a potential conflict of interest. My fee is based on two factors: (1) your needs, (2) the services I will provide to help you achieve your remodeling goals. After the first jobsite meeting, which is usually a minimum of two hours, I always send a detailed Proposal. The Proposal clearly defines the scope of the project, my services, and my maximum fee and payment schedule for the entire project. For more information about the services available to you, please see the “About” page and the “Resume’” page.
No, for 99.99% of my projects. One of my greatest pleasures is to help my clients get the best value for their investment, which means that you can purchase products directly from suppliers at my discounted price (if your contractor agrees with this system). For many projects, this has saved my clients the equivalent to 50% (or more) of my fee.
Do I recommend products? Yes! I guarantee that every one of my recommendations is backed with valid reasons, or I will give one free hour of consultation, design, or drafting. “This is the way I/we always do it” is not an acceptable reason, under any circumstances!
Yes, as a member of several professional remodeling associations, I know qualified contractors and suppliers. I have developed working relationships with many contractors and suppliers, and like to “match” my clients’ needs with professionals who will provide the best service and value.
FOR THE RECORD: I never give or receive “kick-backs” for referrals! I refer professionals who have a provable reputation for quality and reliability.
For more information about the design process, and other pertinent subjects, see my blog on this site, and my blog on the “Today’s Home™” site. If you have any questions that haven’t been covered above, please ask it in the “Comments” section. I promise a direct, honest answer.
> Listen to Today’s Home (and download podcasts).
> Get more FREE information through my website.
> Request a FREE 45-minute telephone consultation.
> Contact me for an in-home consultation.