Blueprints: Interior Designer vs Builder

Interior Design Consultant Upper Makefield PA

Building a home from the ground up takes an entire team. When you bring an interior designer onto that team early in the process, it’s a huge win. You’ll avoid pitfalls and frustrations that interrupt ideal living to include problems on move-in day. You’ll also have a builder equipped to up his/her game because of the different focus your interior designer brings to the table.  Here’s why:

Builders think from 30,000 feet in the air down to 10,000 feet. As designers, we focus from 15,000 feet in the air down to boots on the ground. Literally how you will LIVE and FEEL in your home is affected by this partnership. The magic happens at that point where the builder and design team’s focus overlaps to inform each other’s thinking. Builder is in charge; but designer will catch things a builder would not think to consider.

Here’s how we work with your builder and architect to ensure your vision for your home comes to life and, that it works in actual application beyond the drawn blueprint. 

Walls vs. Furniture Placement

In simplest terms: A builder is thinking about keeping the walls up, and I don’t!  A builder is concerned with structural integrity and structural aesthetic. One involves the mechanical workings of a home, the other placement of fixed elements such as stone, tile, wood. Architects are equally brilliant in their specialty in conceiving structures, all of which is brought to life by super talented builders. It is an important marriage.

But neither of these disciplines focuses with precision and boot-on-the-ground detail on how real humans want to daily live, love, feel, function and, past COVIID, entertain in a home. When you bring the disciplines together, though, that’s when the magic happens!

Here’s an example: A client wanted a bar in their new residence; it was very important to them. Naturally, the architect included one in the design. When I spoke with the client, I delved into areas that would not be addressed by a builder or architect: I asked how the client liked to entertain, how many people did the bar need to accommodate, is there a flat screen integrated into it; do they like barstools with arms or armless stools – each requires different amount of space. The client’s answers totally changed where the bar is located and what size it needed to be.

In many instances, our team will identify a room on the blueprint where the amount of actual usable space is impeded by a door swing, a room opening, or a non-weight-bearing wall placement. Due to process and timelines on the architect and builder ends, spaces are often conceptualized without a detailed understanding about furniture placement which drives desired end use. 

Ensuring you have a professional who specializes in luxury interior design services early in the building process means that problems are identified and corrected before nail hits wood. It also means that once you live in your new space, rooms will look and function as you’d hoped. 

You will not be the client who we have seen who ended up with a home office that didn’t accommodate the kind of seating he’d wanted; a master bedroom that didn’t accommodate the amount of seating a couple hoped for; a dining room that sat too few people even though it “looked big” on the blueprint.

I could go on, but hear me on this one. Builders are brilliant and expert at what they do. So are architects. But so are designers. They are three different disciplines with three different but necessary “hyper-focuses.” 

Put the right team together and clients get the trifecta of teams and outcome. It means that all the details are covered by each of the disciplines as well as respectful collaboration between the teams.  Our luxury interior design team specifies materials, finishes, and even outlet and light switch placement with the builder so we get the best result for the homeowner. 

Interior Designers and Builders Must Work Together

Our job as interior designers is not to dictate to the builder what to do. We stay in our lane and work alongside the builder, always nodding to the builder’s processes and timelines. This respectful collaboration ensures that our client has the best possible experience during building, AND after they move in. 

When you’re looking to bring on luxury interior design services, always look for an experienced team that’s open to working with architects and builders. And be sure to select a builder and architect who understands the strong payoff for you in having a designer on the team watching you back as well. 

One of my core philosophies as a designer and even as design entrepreneur is the importance of leaning into the expertise and excellence of the people we work with and to support the specialists we work with, builders and architects alike.  Hands down, this is the best way to build a house and ensures best outcome. 

Are you starting a new home build project? Let’s chat about how we can help you bring your dream home to life. Contact us today to learn more.