You have been dreaming of your remodel for months. You have collected ideas for the room, you can’t wait to get started but where do you begin? Choosing the right design team is more important than you can imagine. Your designer and contractor will be working with you for several months or more through the beginning stages of design, selection, construction and completion. The crew will be there, in your home, everyday for the entire project. It is important that you have a check list for choosing the right design team.
My best tips for choosing the right design team.
Do some research. Start with magazines, house tours, show houses, friends and family. Do you like what you see? Check out their portfolio. The best designers can work in a variety of styles from contemporary to traditional, farmhouse to urban loft. Your home should reflect you not them. I work as a design build team. Although you do not have to use my contractor, I have found that team work trumps all. We work on one project at a time and stick to our remodel time line. Multiple projects can delay the completion of any or all of the projects. That is a big reason choosing the right design team is so important.
Ask for referrals. I have a list of clients who love to talk about the great experience they had with us. Once you get the list, call! Ask about the job site, is it neat and clean at the end of the day? If you are living through it, a tidy job site is a safe job site. Did the team stay on budget? Did they stay on schedule? What is the quality of the design and the construction work.
What does the budget really mean? You know what your dream project looks like right? Do you have a realistic budget for that dream? I am always realistic with my clients when discussing budget. I am very clear on what your project will cost. My contractor and I never “low ball” the quote just to get the job and then charge for additions omitted from the project to “keep the quote low” I recently spoke with a visitor to my show house room who was surprised I tiled the shower ceiling. She asked why I used tile on the ceiling. After I explained the issues with mold and mildew and having to repaint peeling paint, she said her designer told her it was cheaper to leave it out. Of course for the short term it is but what are the long term consequences. Design details are what shows the quality of the finished project. It is the little things that count.
Credentials do count. The NCIDQ (www.ncidq.org) Certification meets the interior design profession’s legal and regulatory standards established by over half of the U.S. states and Canadian provinces. That makes it the highest qualification in the industry. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (www.nkba.org) certifies kitchen and bath designers. American Society of Interior Designers (www.asid.org) founded in 1975, is the oldest, largest and leading professional organization for interior designers. In New Jersey, I am also a Certified Interior Designer as well as a Licensed Home Improvement Contractor. You may wonder why these credentials are important. They all provide evidence of proficiency. Would you visit an unlicensed medical professional? You should use the same level of scrutiny with the team remodeling your home. Health, safety and welfare are important issues to consider along with the finished look.
Whether new construction or remodeling, your planning must start with choosing the right design team. They will work together with you to develop the design and construction plan for your home and stay with you through the final detail.