DIY Design: Find a Home Designer or Architect.

5 steps to find the perfect designer for your project.

Want to remodel or redecorate but have no idea where to start? How much money will you need? How long will it take? How do you find the right team? No matter if you're doing a small bathroom renovation, a new house build, or just furnishing your new apartment, you need a team you get along with.

There are SO many ways to get to your dream home but you should start by finding a designer or contractor. They’ll guide you through the rest.

 If you follow Meldrum Design on Instagram or Facebook, you know this is my friend and client, Jessica. If you have a trustworthy friend in the design and construction industry, contact them first!

If you follow Meldrum Design on Instagram or Facebook, you know this is my friend and client, Jessica. If you have a trustworthy friend in the design and construction industry, contact them first!

1. Ask friends!

Have friends done projects of a similar size? Ask around for recommendations. Word-of-mouth is one of the quickest, cheapest ways to find trustworthy building professionals.

2. Get online.

Check on your friends’ recommendations. Look through the company websites. Check out their Yelp reviews, Google reviews, or Facebook reviews.

You can also find companies on websites such as Houzz, Home Advisor, and Angie’s List. Most of those listings are paid advertisements but you can find some fantastic deals.

Storytime! For the first 6 months of my business, I relied entirely on paid leads from Home Advisor and referrals from my dad (the land surveyor). I provided a fantastic service and, because I was new, charged a fraction of my current rates.

3. Setup interviews on site (your house).

Most companies offer a free in-person consultation. It’s important that the builder or designer see the “before”. They’ll know almost immediately if they’re a good fit for the job.

It’s also a great way to get ballpark budget. An experienced professional should be able to give you a realistic price range.

Be prepared with a list of questions. There are lists all over the internet: “Questions to Ask A Contractor or Architect”.

4. Call references.

This person will be a big part of your life for 6 months, a year, sometimes longer. They’ll have some control over your money and they’ll know every detail of your personal space. You need to trust them. Unfortunately, there are many companies who take advantage of their clients or have dreadful business management practices. Some are just terrible people.

Call at least two references, even if you got the lead from a friend. Never know what you’ll find out.

5. Trust your gut.

Again, you need to trust this person. They should be your guide, your advocate, the person keeping you informed when others want to keep you in the dark.

I’m a big proponent of gut feelings. If the building profession makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, move on. If they are calm, comforting, and make you feel excited about the project, go with it. Be sure to double check yourself (see #3 & #4 above) and then hire them!

Questions? Need recommendations in the San Diego, Boston, or Austin area? Feel free to email me! ashley@meldrumdesign.com

Ashley Hopwood