Friday, March 16

When you should hire a designer.

Many home owners don't know what designers and professional assistance is out there for their projects, much less when to hire such professionals.  With all of these professionals, it is important that you know who they are, what they specialize in, and when to hire them and for what projects.  Sound a little tedious?  Don't worry, it is pretty easy to figure out.  

Firstly, there is my previous post on certifications within the industry.  I always recommend going into hiring a designer or decorator with this basic knowledge.  You can read about these certifications in my previous post, "What are all those letters after your name?" from July, 2011.  This post gives basic information on various certifications in the kitchen and bath industry, as well as green building an interior design.  There are various other certifications available, both elective or required, depending on where you live, so research on your part is always recommended.  If you want to know what is required, talk to your neighbors who have done similar projects, or look online.  You can also speak to companies in the area who specialize in the work done, for example, if you want to remodel your kitchen, talk to some appliance shops, cabinet shops, granite shops, etc.  Chances are, they will know what certifications are required, if any, and may have some designers they can recommend to you.  

Now that that is said, lets get onto who to hire and when.  Sometimes you may have more than one designer, other times a designer may be a bit overkill for the project at hand.  As a home owner, you should know who would be best suited. 

I am going to start with a major project.  Say you are building a new home, or creating an addition.  Of course you are going to have an Architect and Engineer helping you with this task, however, what about that new master suite you want?  It's best to have the assistance of a kitchen and bath designer helping you, and the teaming up with the Architect and Engineer, to get exactly what you want in this new space.  Really, any time a Kitchen and or Bathroom is included, it is best to have the assistance of a Kitchen and Bath Designer.  If you want this new addition to be a Certified Green addition, or want to be sure the materials and products used are environmentally responsible, then enlisting the help of a Green Professional should be used.  While most Kitchen and Bath Designers are more than capable of specifying green products, some home owners want the experience from someone who specialized in these specific products.   

Keep in mind, however, if you are just giving one of these spaces a generic face lift, Painting the cabinets, new counter tops and appliances, perhaps new flooring, etc.  This project can be done with an Interior Designer or Kitchen and Bath Designer, and if it purely is a cosmetic face lift, an Interior Decorator is the best result.  

If you are trying to adapt your home and space to accommodate medical limitations, then not only the help of an Interior Designer, or Aging Specialist, but also an Occupational Therapist.  Most CAPS professionals will want to meet with you and your O.T. to verify they are designing the space to best benefit your condition, as well as adapt the space for the future of your limitations.  For example, you may be showing early signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis, but still able to use everything in your house just fine.  Your O.T. and Designer should be able to design the space accordingly for the more advanced stages of R.A. for ease of use, as well as an aesthetically beautiful design.  

When redesigning a space that doesn't include a Kitchen or Bath, and Interior Designer or Decorator is recommended.  Designers are more skilled with systems, including lighting, electrical, and more.  Designers are also typically educated both formally, in a class room, as well as on the job training.  Decorators are typically trained on the job, and typically don't have as much technical skills when it comes to codes and systems within the house.  While Decorators have their place, (assisting in space planning, colors, textures, finishes, etc,) be sure when hiring them that the project is well within their capabilities.  With Designers, you shouldn't have a problem finding one that can handle the project. 

Please note, this post is my opinion, and there are always exceptions to the rules.  It is always best to do your homework before hiring any professionals, even contractors and skilled tradesmen.  It is up to you whether you choose to use a certified designer or not.  There are plenty of non-certified designers out there who are more than capable than handling any project you throw at them.  The end decision is ultimately up to the home owner.