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Old 12-04-2008, 12:31 PM   #1
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Remodeling home...consult architect or interior designer first?


I am planning on remodeling our very tiny galley kitchen and adjoining family room by expanding out about 8 feet. The problem is, neither one of us has an eye for what goes together. We both know what we like/don't like when we see it, but just aren't creative enough to coordinate things on our own.

So, are we better off getting an interior designer's perspective first, or hiring an architect? Are architects trained in any way to help people decide on things like what countertop color looks best with a particular cabinetry color? On the flip side, would an interior designer be aware of things like plumbing & electrical requirements/codes? This is the home we plan on staying in for at least the next 15 years, until our children finish school, so we'd like to make it very much "ours".

Can anyone help?

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Old 12-04-2008, 04:47 PM   #2
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Remodeling home...consult architect or interior designer first?


here's an opinion worth what you paid for it.....

Designer first, as long as it's the right designer. For a project like you describe it doesn't sound like there is alot of architectural requirements....push a wall out 8 ft. Don't get me wrong...an architect will be required. If I had to guess (from your limited post) the look and feel of the finished product is primary, and the designer will be better able to provide that. In this case the architect will provide the "how" and the designer will provide the "what".

The "right" designer is one with experience in new construction / structural remodels, not just an interior decorator....big difference. There are many decorators that will hang out a shingle and call themselves designers. They may be able to provide a good color board, but will be lost in construction details or have never been on a job site.

The best scenario would be a team, prefereably a team that has worked together. I heard a designer once say that an architect thinks from the outside in, and a designer thinks from the inside out. As a team they meet in the middle.

This is a biased response in that my wife has been a designer for 15 years. She primarily works with custom builders. She gets involved up front and works with the achitects and builders and spends most of her time on job sites. When the designer, architect, and builder work well as a team, the project really goes well.

Do designers know all the codes....no, that's what the archetect is for (and licensed for). However, the designer should be familiar enough with the codes so as not to design the client into a corner. They should have an idea on how things need to be built, but the responsibility of the working drawings and building details are left to the architect.

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Old 12-05-2008, 07:51 AM   #3
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Remodeling home...consult architect or interior designer first?


I would find out first if you have any restrictions concerning setbacks and building size before getting too deeply into design.
Going to an Architect with a conceptual design will make his job easier.
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:03 AM   #4
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Remodeling home...consult architect or interior designer first?


I can tell you from years of experience that most architects and Interior designers get along like cats and dogs. Unless you get them both from the same firm (and even then there might be conflict) be prepared to have a bucket of cold water to separate them. Get the architect first. He/she will probably recommend someone for the colors etc.

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