Explore our guide on how to choose the right designer to bring the vision of your perfect future home to life
Image Courtesy Aboda Design Group
So, you’ve decided to build or renovate? Congratulations, you’re about to enter a fantastic, often lifechanging phase in your life; that of creating a home for you and your family. This should be a time of excitement and enjoyment and in the hands of the right team, will be. But how do you find the right person or team to design your new home or renovation and bring your vision to fruition?
I’m often asked who a client should use to design their new custom home or renovation. There are of course several options available.
Whether you choose to work with a registered architect, a building designer or draftsperson, each performs a similar function and that is to design structurally sound buildings and create documentation for council approval and in the case of an interior designer to create living spaces that are functional, safe, practical, ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing. So how do you choose?
Who you select to work with comes down to personal preference and sometimes, budget. Depending upon where you live in Australia you don’t necessarily need to work with anyone to design your own home – you can do it yourself if it meets the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and local council requirements. However, there’s no clause which says, “must be aesthetically pleasing” – which of course in many respects is a matter of opinion.
Many houses in Australia are not designed by professional designers, and perhaps that’s why the standard of mass-housing in Australia leaves much to be desired in this writer’s opinion. Using a professional who is skilled and experienced will help you achieve the best outcome for your individual site and you’ll need to find someone or a team, with whom you can work during what will be at least many months up to several years, to design and realise your home.
As an interior designer I believe it’s important to also work with a firm that includes interior designers or find a team that can work together. The successful integration of the building and interior design will ensure a greater outcome than if these two professions work independently of each other. Adding a landscape architect or designer to the mix is the final icing on the proverbial cake as our exterior environments have a huge impact on our building’s aesthetics and thermal performance.
Getting the right people to design your project will come down to several points, including:
- Do you like each other?
- Have you seen, and do you like their work?
- Are they experienced and competent in the design of homes?
- Does their design philosophy meet yours?
- Can you afford their fees?
As with all professions, there are great designers and there are average designers. Researching yours will be the most important job to undertake well before you start. So where is that place?
Professional associations offer a referral service and include:
- The Australian Institute of Architects
- Building Designers Australia
- Australian Institute of Landscape Architects
- Landscaping Australia
- Design Institute of Australia (interior architect/designer)
- Friends and colleagues can also offer referrals, so ask around. Referrals from satisfied clients are a great place to start.
- Go online and research your designer’s website, read books, magazines and journals.
The qualities required in choosing the right person for your job should include:
- A great design vision
- An understanding of functional performance and environmental issues as they relate to residential buildings
- Competence with documentation and attention to detail
- Commitment to your timeline
- An ability to stay on budget
And last but by no means least, a great personality that is in sync with yours!
While the above is not an exhaustive essay on finding your designer, it’s a great start in the process of finding that perfect person to realise your vision.
As with all professions, there are great designers and there are average designers. Researching yours will be the most important job before you start.