In our previous post, we covered the key items you should ask your interior designer. So, on the contrary, in this article, we’ll be taking the opposite perspective – and discuss a few things your interior designer will need to hear from you for a successful project.
The questions your interior designer asks, and the responses you give, will shape how the entire home renovation project comes together. When responding to your designer’s questions, it’s best, to be honest, and transparent. As well, if you’re unsure of terms or language they are using – ask for clarification! It’s paramount for the communication between an interior designer and client to be on the same page for all parts of the renovation. If not, the chances of expectations being met will be low, usually resulting in dissatisfaction with the completed project.
Qualify your interior designer – or design-build team – with these questions
Along with questions from your designer being used as a tool for them to learn about you and your project, you can also use the questions they ask to qualify them for the job in the first place. Any experienced interior designer should be asking you these questions – before they move into any sort of contractual agreement with you. Without the answers to these questions, the chances of the renovation suiting your needs and requirements will also be less likely. And, do you really want to work with a designer who doesn’t understand the needs of your home?
Now, onto the questions, we feel any interior designer you choose to work with, should be asking you.
What is your budget?
This is one of the most important questions as it determines how much the designer can show you. It’s important to be realistic about what can be achieved within the budget you have set. Often clients will have big ideas that they think can happen within the tiny budget they have set. Keep in mind that you may have to break your project into stages if it’s too big for your budget, or simply increase your budget. Materials and design time are just a percentage of the overall budget; the bulk of your budget will be used to build your project. We want to provide you with quality materials, excellent design time, and exceptional tradespeople, and these things cost more than people realize. We would rather save you money by doing it right the first time than waste your money on fixing problems down the road.
What is your timeframe?
It’s always best to start the design process well in advance of when you want your project to start. Interior designers are professionals that consider more than the finishes included in your project. They analyze the existing space, look at how you use the space, gather information about you and your wants and needs, space plan, look for solutions, and much more. All of these things take time at the beginning of the process and set the stage for a successful project. Once the planning and designing stages are complete the actual build time depends on the scope of your project. Typically, a bathroom takes anywhere between two and four weeks to renovate while a kitchen can take anywhere from six to ten weeks. Additionally, the number of projects the contractor has on the go can factor into the timeline. Sometimes contractors are booked out months in advance so it’s best to contact someone sooner rather than later so that you can get your project started and in the production pipeline.
Have you worked with a designer before? Have you ever done a renovation?
This is essential. If you’ve worked with a designer before we want to know what worked and what didn’t so that we can make sure to serve you as best we can. If you’ve never worked with a designer before then we want to use this opportunity to guide you through and educate you on the process. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve worked with a designer before and haven’t had a good experience. Every designer is different and not every designer is a good fit for every client.
Additionally, we want to know if you’ve ever done a renovation before and how it went for you. We are very careful about adding to the stereotypes surrounding the hiring of a contractor and make every effort to ensure your renovation is easy and seamless. We can’t guarantee that issues won’t come up, however, we can guarantee that you will be informed at every stage, have respectful tradespeople in your home and that we will show up and produce quality work every day until your renovation is complete.
What is your design style or vision? Do you have any pictures of things you like or dislike?
Do you just want us to tackle the kitchen? Or do you want us to touch on the adjoining rooms as well so that things are cohesive? Is this project part one or three of a series of projects? Which colours do you love and which colours do you hate? The best way to approach a designer is to already have a sense of what you like and dislike. This doesn’t mean that you need to know what the style is called necessarily but showing us pictures of things you love and things you hate allows us to understand the design direction. Maybe you’ve been obsessing over a kitchen you found on Pinterest. Show us! Maybe you were at your friend’s house and they had a feature that you loved. Tell us! Maybe you were watching tv and saw something that you didn’t like. Share that with us too!
What do you like about the current space? What do you dislike?
Do you like the current layout and just want to refresh it? Or is the layout preventing you from doing things like entertaining? As designers, we want to know how you currently use the space and how you intend to use the new space. If you love to cook and entertain family and friends but your kitchen is closed off to the rest of the house, then let us know so that we can rework the floor plan to accommodate this request. Also let us know about things such as the amount of light the room gets during the day, whether you like the windows, floors, walls, ceilings, the relationship to other spaces, and anything else you can think of so that we can properly plan your new space.
Are there any special requests that need to be accommodated?
This can range from anything accessibility related to the fact that you want a special coffee station in your kitchen. One of the many aspects of interior design is making your space function best for you. No request is too frivolous. Let us know what you’re looking for and if we can’t make it happen for whatever reason we’ll be sure to explain why and possibly suggest an alternative. Many people are also staying in their homes longer, effectively called aging-in-place. If you intend to do this let us know so that we can accommodate this necessity. It’s always better to plan for these things before you need them and we can help you out with this by providing blocking behind shower walls for future grab bars, or other solutions.
Who uses this space? How do you use the space?
Do you have young children? Adult children? Grandchildren? A parent that lives with you? Pets? All of these people factor into the design. We need to know who uses the space as it affects both the materials we specify and the entire design plan. For example, if you are an empty nester but sometimes have grandchildren come by for a visit then we’ll design the space to meet your needs, but in a way that can also accommodate children. This may include flooring that can take more wear and tear, minimizing sharp corners, using materials that reduce fingerprints, and much more.
Knowing how you use the space is equally important. If you are the one that does the cooking instead of your partner, then you may have certain criteria that you want addressed to make it the most functional useable space. While a bedroom is meant for sleeping, many people also use it as a retreat and might want a tv, fireplace, seating area, or other pieces in the room for times when they are not sleeping.
What does your future look like?
With any life change, planning for the future is important. We suggest thinking about your goals today, but also consider your life goals 5-, 10-, 20-years out, or longer. If you’re planning on staying in the home for many years to come, putting in the extras or getting it the way you want – despite pushing your budget to the limit – can be worth it in the years to enjoyment after. However, if you realize you might not be in the home long-term, there might be areas you can skimp on to keep your renovation costs reasonable.
What must stay and what must go?
You inherited your grandmother’s dining room set and don’t want to let it go or you’re ready to replace all of your living room furniture. It’s best to let us know these details so that we can incorporate that much-loved dining set into the design plan or have new furniture in mind for staging at the end of the process.
What is the extent of the services you’re looking for?
Are you wanting just a design? Do you want us to build the design? Do you want us to paint the whole main floor? Do you want new furniture to be included in the final product? We need to know the parameters of the project so that we can plan accordingly.
What area of the city do you live in? How old is the home?
The area of the city often determines the age of the home unless it’s an infill project. Knowing the location and age of the home gives us a preliminary idea of the style of home so that we can design to fit the space. Unless you’re renovating the entire house, any new designs need to fit within or complement the existing home.
What else do you want me to know about your project?
If there were any other important things that you didn’t address earlier, this is the time to share them with your designer. Each project and each house are different, so take the time to think through your expectations for your renovation and discuss them in-depth! Again, the entire interior design and build process will go much more smoothly if both parties divulge all pertinent information and continue to keep the line of communication clear and open.
Our interior designers are standing by for when you’re ready to renovate!
Our interior design and build team enjoy new challenges – and are excited when a potential project comes along. Our past base of customers should give you peace-of-mind that Hammerdown Home Renovations are the right choice to handle all parts of your renovation. We’re Winnipeg’s premier design-build contracting team – and we’re ready to show you what we can do when you’re ready to renovate!
To start your project with Hammerdown, contact our design-build team via our website or call us 204.793.0500 to book your consultation appointment.