Different Types of Designers – Who Does What & Why?
To some people, this can be very confusing. Frankly, it is, because a lot of Designers in the Home building industry cross boundaries either because the project calls for it, or they like to stretch their skills, or it’s good for cash business. Whatever the reason, you need to know what you want out of a Designer and what their Specialty and Talent can provide for you.
These are the major types of Designers you will find in the Remodeling World:
- Architectural Designers
- Kitchen & Bath Designers
- Interior Designers
- Lighting Designers &
- Other Specialty Designers
Once you find a residential architect, make sure you find one that concentrates on the Design Concept as much as the technicalities of engineering , drafting, etc. Also have an in depth conversation about Budget. Architects have no true responsibility to the budget, and to be fair, they are working off your “wish list”. We all know how expensive those can be. So if your Architect doesn’t warn you about keeping your wish list in check and constantly referring to your budget, you run the risk of getting a project that you may not be able to build because it’s just too expensive.
Traditionally most Architects typically wanted to hire out at anywhere between 6% and 10% of the total cost of the Project. The range depends on the amount of services included. On the lower end, it usually includes the Design Concept thru layouts. On the higher end, it usually included Project Management.
Engineering, schematics, details, permits drawings, project management, etc., continue to drive the price upwards. Every Architect is different, especially in residential and in small firms, some even work by the hour. You can check with your local AIA chapter to find people in your area.
Generally found in Design & Build firms. Design / Build firms are all encompassing builders that have developed a single source of design and construction for people seeking a kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel, home additions or even new homes. There is an in-house Designer that works on Concept Drawings, layouts, and some perspectives only, thereby keeping the design fees low, while keeping the Budget in mind since they are a construction firm also. Design fees are generally based on a per square foot number or a per hour basis. When Design and Construction Budget/Proposal are accepted, then an Architect then takes the Design Concept drawings thru to working permit drawings and engineering, (these costs have already been folded into the construction budget).
Since these firms depend on getting the construction work, they have a vested interest in good design for their reputation, and keeping you on budget so the Project can be built. Many Custom Home Builders work this way also.
Kitchen & Bathroom Designers
This is a particular specialty that is highly detail driven. Remodeling kitchens and baths is a huge industry with it’s own trade association, www.nkba.org. You should always hire a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer, (CKD), when considering a Kitchen or Bath Remodeling Project. No other type of Designer is trained in the details, products, safety, and codes that will make your Kitchen or Bath a success. Design fees are generally based on a per Project basis. These fees can be Design only or Design with Project Management. If you are planning of DIY’ing a Kitchen or Bath , you may very well want to consider some Project Management services from your Designer.
These people make space come alive. I have done many showhomes over the years for kitchen and baths, and I still marvel at how creative Interior Designers can be when they make a plain room transport you to a different time and place with the use of paint, furniture, and fabrics. Faux painters typically come under this domain also, and faux painting is not what is used to be, long gone is the sponge painting. Most of the good Faux painters are into murals and historic techniques.
These creatures are illusive, if you have a large project, try to find one. Usually the better lighting showrooms have one on staff. They can make a world of difference for your home. If you have a beautiful space, but it’s not lit properly, the whole project falls on it’s face.