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Who To Hire First?

An Interior Designer or Contractor?

A general contractor is a builder. They're trained to execute a vision, not create one.

So you decide that you want to remodel your kitchen and/or bathroom.

I'm guessing it all started when you moved in. You thought, "This kitchen doesn't make sense." Or, "I hate my bathroom, the caulk is peeling and it always feels dirty."

Your next step is Pinterest. You collect a million ideas. You're inspired! You have a fight with your significant other other cost and reality and design taste.

And then you decide. WE'RE GOING TO DO IT!

You find a way to make it work financially.

Then you Google, "Contractors in Portland, Oregon." You read reviews. You make phone calls. You schedule site visit with contractors. You show them your inspiration photos and floor plan ideas.

They submit their bids and estimates. And then you decide on who you're going to hire.

And then this is where the stress starts to pile up.

Your contractor writes you this email-- and it says something like this:

Dear Client,

We're happy to move forward. We can start in 4 weeks.

Please have all of the materials and finishes on-site in 4 weeks before we start demo.

I will need to know what paint color and sheen you want in 1 week and where the tile should stop.

I need to know how much grout to order.

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Insert record scratch sound--WAIT WHATTTTTT--I thought that was your job! I showed you pictures of what I wanted!

And I showed you what I wanted? So your bid didn't even include material costs?

This is how I like to explain it. A contractor is like a baker. Imagine if you walked into a bakery and you showed a baker a picture of a cake. You told the baker, "I want you to make me a cake that kinda looks like this one."

The baker would respond with a dozen questions:

"What flavor of cake?"

"How thick do you want the frosting?"

"Are there any allergies to keep in mind?"

"Do you want the high-end local sprinkles?"

A general contractor is a builder. They're trained to execute a vision, not create one.

I recommend always speaking with a contractor after you have your design plan nailed down.  

What's a design plan? The design plan answers all of the questions. It nails down the vision, outlines the exact materials being used, the quantities of materials, the colors, textures, sheens, etc.

Design Planning Software Materio.com

A general contractor will be able to take a look at the design plan and give you a detailed estimate that includes labor and materials.

The design plan will also help inform the timeline of the project. If you're set on a certain stone for your bathroom floor, but you know that the lead time is 6 months, that knowledge will help guide the order that things should go in.

Trust me, you don't want to start, only to find out that the item you love is on a shipping container in LA with a 3 month delay. Living with a bathroom that has been half-gutted for 3 months is no easy living.

Soooo....the next time you decide to embark on a remodel project in your home and you DON'T want to play project manager or designer, try Googling, "Interior Designers in Portland, Oregon" FIRST!

For tips on working with an interior designer, check-out my post on my 5 Tips for Working with an Interior Designer.

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