ne cannot stress the importance of an interior designer enough. While architects will design a structure as a whole, various consultants may be brought into the process. Architects need to have a broad knowledge of all aspects of the design and construction process to be effective as professionals, but it is virtually impossible for us to be experts in all that is involved in the complicated building enterprise. We rely on consultants who are specialists in various disciplines to help us design buildings and to contribute in making them a reality. One of these consultants is the interior designer.
We recommend involving interior designers in most of our projects. While we often will draw up interior elevations, lighting plans, furniture plans, material specifications and schedules, we like to defer to interior designers for their expertise in refining interior spaces to the highest level of comfort and aesthetic quality. Typically we like to involve them in our initial meetings with the Owner. In that way we are looking at the project as a team with a cohesive goal in mind, rather than designing the architecture and then trying to make the interior colors and spaces work.
Interior designers specialize in choosing color schemes, as well as selecting furnishings, fixtures and finishes. Anyone who has ever attempted to do something as seemingly uncomplicated as selecting coordinated fixtures for a home, or choosing interior finishes that work well together knows that the sheer number of choices is overwhelming.
Researching and shopping for fixtures can be incredibly time consuming, and having someone come to you that knows how to select and source these products is a huge time saver. I have seen homeowners attempt the task of decorating a large house, only to be overwhelmed and eventually taking over a year to furnish it incompletely. Interior designers are not free, but they can complete the task in a much smaller amount of time, and can actually save owners on costs. These cost savings may be in the form of cost discounts, more cost effective fixtures, and "time is money" savings.
While some homeowners can do a passable job of selecting furnishings and finishes, interior designers have the experience and knowledge to specify coordinating and tasteful products that will enhance any interior space. Finding what you want at a price that fits your budget isn't always easy, but interior designers are experts at this. They have a vast knowledge base of what products are available, where to get them, the level of quality, and what other products can be selected to compliment them.
The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright was so worried that his clients would select inappropriate interior finishes and furnishings that he would often design the furniture, fabrics, light fixtures, and occasionally even the tableware for his client's homes. Mr. Wright was an extremist in this sense, but his intention was to see his designs achieve their greatest potential by being adorned with quality, tasteful fixtures and furnishings. Most interior designers can help achieve this objective with less zealous design autonomy and more input from the client.
For the projects we design, we recommend that clients consider Jane Scott of Jane Scott Design to help with the design of their interiors. Jane does a great job of designing many of the interiors of the mountain style homes we specialize in, and she has a way with people that makes them feel comfortable and confident in her abilities. We enjoy working with her and our clients appear to as well.
For more on Jane, see the January 2009 issue of Cowboys & Indians Magazine or the March 2008 issue of Spokane/ Couer d' Alene Living Magazine.
John Hendricks, AIA Architect and Tom Russell, LEED AP
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