Updated: May 13, 2022
The answer to this question can sometimes be obvious, other times not so much. Sometimes you only need one of them and sometimes you need both of them. So, let’s have a look at the different type of home renovations.
Starting with the obvious situations
1. You need an architect
When your home renovation includes alteration to the outer shell of the building, you do need an architect. Roof, external walls (and their thermal performance) are the most common that gets upgraded.
2. You need an interior designer
If the upgrade only concerns the interior finishes, furniture, soft furnishing, decoration, which eventually gives the character and feel of your home that you experience EVERY DAY (so you want to get it right!) your go to person is an interior designer.
3. You may choose to hire both
Anything in between can be done by either but it will largely come down to the level of expertise and experience of the individual you are looking to hire. And you may choose to hire both.
The architect can, and probably will, specify some interior finishes, but they won’t specify everything you need for a beautiful finished home. A good architect (but NOT ALL of them) will recommend floor finishes, internal doors, often a functional kitchen layout and lighting. They will not, however, specify furniture, fabrics, decoration, styling.
This means, if your project require works to the outer shell of the building it is highly recommended you hire both an architect and interior designer. It is also advised that they start collaborating as soon as possible, as some interior design element may need to be considered at a very early stage of the renovation. A good example of this is integrated lighting, but the list can be quite long depending on your interior designer’s creativity and your ambitions with regards to your dream home.
Bigger studios will have both architects and interior designer in house, but when you select the professionals, makes sure BOTH OF THEM meets your expectations and you don’t just choose one or the other purely because they “come in a package”. A remodel is a big investment, make sure you are not restricted in your choices and explore options independently, as well.
Let’s have a look at the most common projects and which consultants they require
1. Kitchen and bathroom renovations
This is something most people try to take on by themselves, so we could say you do not require a consultant. Kitchen and bathroom suppliers can also provide you with design for free. (Well, included in their price of their product and services.)
These are not easy projects to plan on your own and there are many design principals to be applied, so not having a consultant at all can lead to costly mistakes and less than impressive result. The same budget can be way better utilised if hire an interior designer, even considering their design fee. Bathroom and kitchen renovations are for long term and don’t want to spend all that money on something that is not perfect.
2. Building extensions, loft conversions
Although your builder may tell you they can do it for you without an architect, I do not recommend it!
Architect is a profession for a good reason. Again, you can get some extra square foot or you can get a well-designed, functional, comfortable and beautiful extra space in your home. Which one would you prefer for your money?
In this case I would recommend hiring both an architect and an interior designer. A good interior designer is a master of space planning (I even used to provide this as a standalone service until recently), however, an architect understands the directional advantages of certain roof types, window locations and can come up with truly creative ideas of getting the maximum light into your home, which is essential when you build an extension as the newly added space can take natural light away from existing rooms.
As mentioned in the introduction though, you will also need an interior designer to create a finished home. It is advised that the consultants are engaged at the same time as your expectations from the internal décor and style may well have an effect on the architecture of the new build structure. Strategically considered window locations are a good example for this. Or, if the extension is for a kitchen – which it very often is – you want to finalise the kitchen design with your interior designer to makes sure it will actually fit in to the planned extension.
3. Internal wall removal
An interior designer with great space planning expertise can make the most out of your existing footprint by re-arranging a layout to something more suitable to your lifestyle. They will, of course, advice if some alteration will need a structural engineer’s report, but other than that they are good to go. Removing internal walls and possibly building new ones – if it is done thoughtfully can completely eliminate the need of a costly new extension, so it is clever to explore this option first if you suspect the area of your existing home should be large enough but just doesn’t work for you as is.
4. Whole house renovation
You will definitely need an architect and it is strongly advised that you have an interior designer. On top of that, you will need a few more consultants, as well. In this case, it makes sense to have your architect as a principal designer who will overlook all design aspects for you (mechanical, electrical, structural engineering included), as well as all duties with regards to planning permission.
As you see, the answer to the opening question very much depends on the nature of your project and I recommend you take your time to consider your situation carefully.
If you wish to learn more, from a slightly different perspective, I recommend you check out the view of the well-respected British Institute of Interior Design (who I am a member of) on the matter to make a fully informed decision when time comes.
And when it finally comes to managing the implementation of your project, a whole lot of other things will pop up that needs to be considered. But that is for another day. If you want a peak into how I can help you with that, have a look here.
If you wish to book in a free discovery call to talk about your upcoming project, send an enquire to receive my booking calendar.
Relax and plan ahead, and share my post with your friends who are also planning a renovation.
Until later, Agnes