by Don Vandervort, © HomeTips
When it comes to remodeling, the difference between a so-so result and a stunning result is often one thing: good design. Design, after all, is the home improvement puzzle piece that makes things work, both functionally and aesthetically. With or without good design, you can easily pour well over $30,000 into a new kitchen remodel, so it only makes sense to ensure a successful result by going the extra mile to get quality design work.
In some cases, getting the involvement of an architect or designer isn’t really a choice—you need one to prepare the necessary drawings, handle structural calculations, and deal with complex design issues.
So, who can assist you, and what can they do to help? Here is an overview:
Architects are the most qualified to handle any and all aspects of planning and design, from concept to project management. Working with an architect is particularly important if you’ll be modifying the structure of your home or expanding beyond its footprint.
An architect holds a university degree. If “AIA” follows the name, it means he or she is a member of the American Institute of Architects, an association that establishes ethical standards and practices for its members and keeps them informed about developments in the industry.
Architects may charge hourly or by the project. Hourly fees typically run $100 an hour and up. When charging by the project, fees are typically about 12% of the project’s cost.
If you don’t need full-blown architectural services that include building-load calculations and the like, an architectural designer is a slightly more affordable choice. An architectural designer does not have the same extent of training as an architect but definitely has the skills to work through structural and space-planning issues and set you up with working drawings. Many architectural designers are members of the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD). Their rates typically run under $100 per hour.
Kitchen, Bath & Interior Designers
When little structural work is required and space planning and aesthetic choices are your main concern, your best bet may be a kitchen, bath, or interior designer. Experienced professional room designers have typically honed their skills in the art of sensible traffic patterns, selection of surface materials, interior lighting, and similar issues. Those who are members of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) work according to an established code of ethics.
Interior decorators deal with colors, fabrics, furnishings, and the like. If this is all you need, consider going with an interior decorator. Decorators may belong to any number of associations, the largest being the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
For all of these specialized designers, rates vary widely depending on their ability and level of service.
To get free recommendations for top-rated local architects, call the most reliable and comprehensive referral service, HomeAdvisor, at 866-350-2983 (toll free).