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Creating Beautiful and Livable Spaces

Do I need to hire an interior designer if my builder offers in-house design services

Building a custom or semi-custom home is so exciting! & nerve-wracking. Even the most organized and decisive person can quickly get inundated with the seemingly non-stop decisions you’ll be asked to make throughout the process. 

That’s why, I always recommend hiring a designer to help you through the new build process, and early.

Many builders have in-house design teams, so I have been asked, ‘what’s the value in hiring an outside designer?’ I’ll try to explain! The builder’s design team is focused on the construction of the house. They are there to help you make decisions efficiently, and then to deliver the order to their suppliers, so that they can get the selections installed & ultimately, ensure the transaction can be completed on time. 

While a builder’s design team will be focused on the house finishes themselves, an interior designer that you hire externally will be thinking more long-term for you personally; thinking about what will happen after the finishes are complete and if these choices correlate with your lifestyle.

For example, a designer that you hire externally (like us) will ask questions about how you plan to use the space, how long you intend to stay in the home, whether you host family for the holidays, what textures and colors you love, and minute details like preferences on what type of bed you plan to have in your primary bedroom. 

We’ll keep these things in mind as we guide you to make decisions around finishes and selections. We will be thinking about the furniture layout before we decide where to put the floor outlet. We’ll know that you need durable flooring in the mudroom because your kids love to play dirty. We will know that you need a large dining room table to host your large family, before we let you sign off on dining room plans that won’t fit the table you need. The list goes on.

Something else to consider when building, do you know if the allowances your builder has budgeted for your project will allow for that beautiful kitchen backsplash you have your heart set on? & if not, do you know where you may be able to cut cost elsewhere to fit it within the budget, without compromising the quality or overall vision of your project?

A couple of examples of places I’ve seen my clients get stuck, and I was able to assist: 

  • Can I mix metals? How large should my pendants be over my island? Do my paint colors go together? Do I pick knobs or pulls for my cabinets? What is leathered marble? What is honed tile? 
  • One time, cabinet hardware wasn’t mentioned in the builder’s contract, so my client just assumed she had to go out of pocket for this expense. While we were in one of the design meetings with the builder, I asked the in-house designer what the allowance was. She wasn’t sure. She came back to us a couple days later and confirmed we had an allowance of $5 per pull/knob. Huge win & savings for my client!
  • Did you know that your builder will probably charge you more to lay tile in a unique pattern or to install marble? You’ll want to know that before you fall in love with a marble herringbone flooring.
  • Speaking of, do you know all the lingo that will be thrown out in a design meeting, such as the way tile can be laid? Running bond, herringbone, stacked horizontal, stacked vertical, brick lay.

Cross-eyed yet? It’s helpful to have someone who can help you understand these options and choose what best fits your overall vision for your home after the construction is complete. This is most likely the largest purchase of your life and it’s worth getting right. That’s why I always recommend hiring a designer by your side to help you make these seemingly small decisions that will all add up to creating your dream home.

We created two packages with your needs in mind. Check out our Full-Service package and Designer by your Side for new construction assistance!

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