How to choose a good designer?

When considering a home remodel, renovation or new home design, the first consideration is selecting the right designer.  Who is right for you?  What are their qualifications?  And how can you identify them?  The old saying that there is no substitution for experience comes into play here.  An inexperienced designer can create a real headache for you down the road and in some situations drive the costs up while not reaching your desired lifestyle goals for the project.

The most important question?

The first question to ask is "How many times have you done this before?"  Actually I consider that to be the most important question to ask of most any trade, craftsman or professional.  I am not just suggesting you ask if they have designed something before, I mean how many times have they encountered your specific type project like yours before?   If your project is specific to remodeling a residential ranch style home, how many times have they done?  If designing a new home with a specific style architecture and flair, how many times have they done that before?   If they have not encountered or done many times (<10 ) then that suggests that the high potential for "challenges" exist during the process, and also that you will more than likely be required to have higher level of involvement and time to get to where you want.   If they have a vast experience of your scope (>50 projects) then they can thwart most potential challenges that might exist down the road.  In addition, your level of involvement and time will be lessened with a greater chance of reaching your desired goals.

How to choose

A designer that has worked on similar projects and seen them through the end will have an edge on most as he/she will be able to understand the needed steps and help you navigate this complex process.  This person should take the lead not only during the design process but be available to interpret and answer questions through the construction phase as well.  This person may have experience in the construction field and who better to ensure the project is being built according to the plans and the design intent.

An experienced designer is your best advocate whether it is a small home renovation, complete remodel, site planning or new home construction.  They are the ones that work with you to ensure the course is set correctly and the road map is drawn to ensure you get to where you want to go.  In the Atlanta area there are many qualified professionals to pick from.  Suggest interviewing several and beyond asking the most important question "How many times have you done this before?", confirm that this is someone that understands your goals for the project.  If anything special for you or your family is to happen, it happens during the design process.  If any money is to be saved, it happens during the design process.  Once the course is set, the design complete, all costs should be understood barring any unforeseen circumstances that often occur during a home remodel or renovation.

What makes a good designer right for you?

A good designer will listen and listen well.  A good designer will explore all the design alternatives and understand the limitations of the project.  A good designer will understand not only the design goals but also the financial objectives for the project.  Most importantly a good designer will be able to "read between the lines" so as to catch all the subtle hints to ensure the plan not only moves towards the stated objectives but also the underlying desired intent.  A skilled and seasoned designer can craft a plan that reaches both your goals and intent.  A good and professional designer is a problem solver.  There are ALWAYS design solutions - just need to know where to look - out of the proverbial box.


Whether you are looking for custom home design, architectural design concepts, kitchen remodeling or landscape architecture, Sanctum Design Build is here to help.  Sanctum specializes in custom homes, remodels and renovations, as well as residential landscape architecture in Atlanta and the southeast.

Feel free to email us or just give us a call at (770) 777 0100 if you want to talk about your new project.  All inquiries will be handled promptly.