Architects, Designers & Builders:
How These Professionals Work to Realize Your Renovation Dream

When people dream of renovating their home, they sometimes overlook how important a professional team can be to realizing their project. Some folks imagine they can do the work themselves; others believe their good taste is enough to make their new rooms look like a spread from a decor magazine.

In reality, few people have the time or expertise to bring a complicated reno project to life. Here’s a look at what experienced professionals can do for you, how they work together, and why you should consider bringing them on board when it’s time to give your home a major makeover.

Architects do much more than draw. These professionals can be the point person on your renovation, the one who makes all the decisions, supervises changes or modifications, and approves scheduling of the crew. Once you’ve approved and signed off on their concept and vision, they take it from there. Conversely, you can hire an architect to develop a vision and do the drawings if the reno isn’t too complicated and you want to save money. That is done for a reasonably modest fee, and the builder proceeds from there.

The builder you choose is key. This is where research is vital – read websites, talk to their former clients if possible, and get referrals from friends and colleagues. Everyone has heard horror stories about late or incomplete projects that went awry; you can avoid that by hiring a builder with great references and lots of experience. If you find one who specializes in the type of renovation you want done, so much the better. And remember: choose a builder who tells you frankly what time frame you’re looking at, the cost of supplies, the trades people needed, and other critical factors. A builder who “low balls” the cost is probably not the one to hire – get references! (See our blog post on “Red Flags when hiring a renovator.”)

Designers are an investment that pays off. If you know what colours you love and what furnishings you prefer, you may think hiring a designer is an unnecessary expense. But often, designers have visions for interiors that homeowners don’t, particularly when you’ve got a brand new, finished space and are unsure how to incorporate its look into an existing area. For example: let’s say you’ve had an addition built to the living room, extra square footage so entertaining large groups is a breeze. A designer can help you develop a new look for the whole room, and seamlessly bring other areas (hallways, for example) into the look of the new one. Even getting a consultation helps, rather than hiring them to do the new area from top to bottom, if budgets are a concern.

These three professionals are key to a successful renovation project when doing something like an addition, or adding a second floor. If your reno dream is less complicated, or you happen to work in one of these areas yourself, then hiring all three may not be necessary.

But remember: having this team on board before construction begins or having them all involved in the planning stages, increases the likelihood tenfold that your renovation will turn out exactly, and as beautifully, as you’re imagining!