Learn how working with a Designer can improve your home renovation project! The last few months have given us all an opportunity to take stock of our surroundings at home. Some people find themselves on the DIY networks and in the isles of Home Depot while others choose to call in the experts.
I sat down to talk with Krista Schwartz from Indicia recently to discuss the benefits of working with professional designers.
Krista explained that she met Joe through a recommendation at a NARI function 14 years ago. She chose All Seasons Fireplace and Joe for this job because this long time client has a discerning eye and appreciates unique solutions to common design challenges.
All Seasons has unique products and working with Joe is a big advantage because the project stays on schedule and it just 'gets done.' Our relationship makes it easier to complete projects because we are comfortable with each other.
Designers Can See the Possibilities
Professionals are experts on their subject. If you want tax advice, call a CPA. If you want legal advice, call an attorney. If you want to design a space, hire an interior designer. Professional services in fireplace design include interior designers who create solutions that will incorporate your individual preferences in ways you could never image on your own. And designers have a vast knowledge of materials and finishes as well as reliable trade partners to pull the design together; all of this can save you precious time.
“I think that a designer makes it possible to explore options that may bring more value than the solutions the homeowner would envision by themselves.”
The Mendota Heights project we completed with All Seasons was a good example. I have worked with the homeowner on several projects over the past 6 years to turn his town home from the 1980’s Golden Girl vibe to what it is today. He is the type of client who is open and willing to explore ideas that I bring forward. My client likes to use unique products and I knew All Seasons Fireplace would have the right fireplace; we chose an Element 4 as the focal point in the great room.
We were especially pleased with the way the fireplace design turned out; but it was not without its challenges. We tore down the interior brick and had to work around some framing issues and the final result was wonderful.
The Project Gets Done on Schedule
When you work with a designer you get a team of professionals who work seamlessly together in a process that ensures that the project stays on schedule. There is a huge demand for talented craftspeople these days and a designer will have access to the best of them.
The Designer Advocates for the Client
The builder on the project was Rick from Clairmont Design Build.
One of the special things Rick does is that he creates a temporary wall which allows the homeowner to remain in the home while the remodeling is being done. The wall keeps all the dust contained in the work area but also includes a door so the client can be available for quick discussions throughout the process and easily monitor the progress. This is just one example of how a designer will advocate for the client to make the process as painless as possible.
Construction Details Will Be Managed By The Designer and Communicated To The Homeowner
Changes are an inevitable part of the construction process. Without the steady eye of the designer, the original vision can be lost. The designer will keep the final outcome top of mind and will orchestrate the process to guarantee a predictable result.
In this project, the cantilevered cement hearth required significant engineering because of the substantial weight of the cement and the porousness of the cement prescribed a special sealant to protect it against stains. All of these challenges are routine for the Indicia team.
The steel wall surrounding the fireplace was another custom design which required careful fabrication and installation.
And who wouldn’t love the rolling ladder on the built in bookcase? Classic! Krista explained that the original “golden girls” design of the room included cabinetry that went to 8’. Bringing the book case all the way to the vaulted ceiling was a big improvement and tied all the materials, wood cabinets, metal surround and linear fireplace, together
Bringing Your Vision to Life
Designers are skilled project managers and use their communication skills to orchestrate the completion of the project to reflect the original design intent. Krista created these six phases in her project management process.
- Programming- A good designer is a skilled listener. At Indicia, the design is client driven. Krista listens for the priorities and lifestyle choices that will guide the design intent. Clients collect images and communicate their likes, dislikes and objectives.
- Schematic- The schematic takes the inspiration gathered from the programming meeting and takes it to the next level. Function within the space will determine the scale of the space, traffic patterns, lighting and audio and visual requirements.
- Design Development- These drawings start to refine the schematic into a document that conveys the design intent in terms of overall design including elevation drawings, architectural details, materials, finishes and furnishings.
- Contract Drawings- These are the final drawings that will be signed and handed off to the contractor and the craftspeople. These drawings convey the design intent and give the specifications for proper installation.
- Construction Oversight- A good designer will be in close contact with the construction throughout the process in order to guarantee that the design intent is met through the construction. As an advocate for the homeowner, the designer will always be available to the homeowner to answer questions and to keep the project on schedule.
- Interior Furnishings- This is the final touch which involves everything from custom window treatments and bed linens to decorative objects that bring in that special color you are so fond of. At Indicia, they are sensitive to the tastes of their clients. If there is a special vase or painting from a favorite aunt, your designer will find a way to make it shine in your new space. Maintenance will be addressed with every selection as well. You will want to know how to keep your new space looking fresh as you start to live in it. Your designer will help you choose finishes that will fit into your lifestyle.
Skip the DIY network and put your next renovation project in the hands of the experts.