The Who What When and Why of Design Professionals
Updated: Nov 17, 2019
by April Guillory
The expectations from Clients are changing in both the new build and remodel markets. HGTV, Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram are shifting the environment from which they derive their inspiration and ideas. That shift is to an expanding world of great design with its various styles and trends. The exposure tothis great design has replaced the “do whatever your standard is,” with, “this New England farmhouse I found online is so me!”.
Clients want their home to be a creative experience and more than just a functional investment, in all price points. They know what they want; they just need to find a team of professionals who can accomplish it. And, a great design professional is an artist whose medium is the stuff of construction: they can observe, innovatively process, and create with grace and technical ability. Having the means to communicate their taste with found imagery, Clients are wanting their home to be a reflection of exactly that…their own curated style and they want to see it. Pulling it all together with visual aids like mood board presentations and artistic renderings are becoming highly sought after in the Architectural, Interior Design, and Interior Decorating fields. It’s a highly effective planning tool which serves the client and allows for client-centric design to beexciting and collaborative work! Homeowners-to-be are indeed creative and possess a wealth of ideas for their project, and I believe it’s time we fully embrace it.
Of course, here lies the biggest challenge, what exactly does all this creativity cost? Clients depend on those they hire to know or find out. When we think planning, blueprints come first, right? (Though personally, I’d say a complete budget assessmentcomes first, but I digress) Regardless, it is too late to plan the interior vision and establish its costs after the slab is poured. Planning is essential when it comes to creating an aesthetic for both the exterior and the interior. A great design professional is an excellent planner. They should also be a knowledgeable liaison between the Client and the Contractors, Trades, and Vendors, assisting those responsible in establishing the costs. I haven’t been on a project that hasn’t had to adjust the vision to accommodate the budget. “It’s just another $500” adds to $30k quickly, and the disappointment that follows with the final bill. When a client works with a collaboration/team of design professionals (Architects, Interior designers, Decorators) AND a knowledgeable Contractor who puts the time into cost estimating that specific design, the build can be a much more enjoyable process! As it should be.
So, who doesn’t want to see the big picture: to dream all thecreative dreams, to implement a plan to accomplish it, to assess the budget (ahem, squeeze the dream a little), and also establish the actual RETURN ON INVESTMENT? There are more Homeowners building on a budget than not. The budget contingency shouldn’t be absorbed by an architectural feature,light fixture or a ship-lapped laundry room. That needs to be saved for other things like lumber and concrete and those darn tariffs. While the stuff of beauty isn’t free, a great design professional CAN work within a budget. Yes. They will also recover much of their cost impact on the project through proper planning and alleviating the dreaded working-backwards ofexpensive on-site “revisions”. There is real value.
Acadiana has a growing and thriving design community. There are architects and design professionals available to every price point being constructed. And who they are and what they offer are as diverse as the clients dreaming of building. I believe every home project can benefit from a collaboration/team of designers who are striving to be great for the betterment of the construction experience.
About the Author: April Guillory is the owner of April Guillory Design and holds a Louisiana Residential Building Contractor’s license, a Louisiana Real Estate license, a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and is the recipient of a 2016 InDesign Award. She resides in Scott with her husband, Robert, and their three children.