I get so many calls from people who have no idea where to start with their project. The confusion of a first time renovation, combined with the uncertainty of who to hire and what to do yourself can leave you scratching your head! There are so many design professionals that you can enlist the help of, but how do you choose, and who is responsible for what?
Renovation Consultant- That's me! or some one like me. Your renovation Consultant is the person you sit down with to brainstorm and come up with ideas for how to achieve the results you want in your space. You will work together to come up with a plan that fits your space restrictions, budget, and taste. If you are starting from scratch, they can develop a master plan to get you started. As your project progresses, a Renovation Consultant can also act as a coach, helping you problem solve and brainstorm as issues or complications arise.
Interior Designer- These professionals are an amazing resource for both general design input, or whole project planning and oversight. IF you are starting completely from scratch, a consultation with an Interior Designer might be a great way to kickstart your project, or get a fresh set of ideas. IF you are looking for someone to completely oversee your project, including making selections, sourcing product, and hiring managing contractors, an interior designer could be a good fit for you.
General Contractor- This person is the backbone of your project. Their job is to take your vision and make it happen. They work with you or your Interior Designer. They have a roster of either employees or subtrades to look after demolition, framing, drywall, electrical, plumbing and installation. They bill in a few different ways, so make sure you have a clear contract outlining cost estimates, payment schedule and work to be completed. Ask for references, even if their name was provided to you by a friend or colleague. If they haven't done work for at least 3 people who will vouch for their integrity and quality of work, keep looking.
Self-Contracting- If you are incredibly organized, hard working and resilient, then there is the possibility you can self-contract. I say resilient because it is not for the faint of heart. There is a reason many choose to just pay a contractor to set all this up and see it through. That said, if your project doesn't involve moving anything structural, or major electrical/plumbing, you may be able to oversee the work yourself. You'll need a few friends along the way though, and a Renovation Consultant can help coach you through getting the right trades lined up, and establishing a budget and timeline.
DIY- If you are truly hand, crafty, and not working on a tight timeline, you can do a lot of the work yourself! If you have some good quality tools, and don't mind getting a bit dirty, you can do demolition, tile your kitchen floor, patch some drywall and put up some new moldings. A few things I would leave to the professionals include kitchen and counter-top installation, major electrical and plumbing re-fit, and moving heating sources.
The team you have behind you should make you feel good about your project. If you get an off-vibe from anyone, pull the plug. Everyone you bring into your home should have the same passion for your project that you do.