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The Advantages Having a General Contractor Who Is Also a Designer

Who do you call first when you’re ready to remodel your home: a designer or a contractor?

Of course, there’s no one perfect answer to that question. Like every other home building or remodeling project, the answer depends on your unique circumstances: are you gutting your space and essentially starting from scratch? Are you only changing an element of your space, like switching the flooring or replacing your countertops? Do you want to change the function of a room, like maybe turn a spare bedroom into an office and library?

Amanda Adams/General Contractor, Designer

Hiring the right people for the job first entails knowing what those jobs are. It also means knowing who does what in the process. For example, a general contractor specializes in different things than a designer.

A general contractor is a project manager. She’s there from the very beginning, helping you understand how you can use the space and then creating the plan to execute your wishes. She’s the person who takes care of whatever you need to get the room to function the way you want it to function: she makes sure the cabinetry is planned and installed correctly in the kitchen, for example. And that the layout of the master suite bathroom makes sense. She’s there before things get installed and she manages the actual installation. This doesn’t mean, necessarily, that she’s doing all that installation on her own. She’ll likely have a team of subcontractors that she works with. The best general contractors work with the best subcontractors, meaning they are experts in whatever it is they do. The painter, for example, understands every nuance of paint finish and application. Because all of those subcontractors can be tricky to schedule and manage in an effective way, a general contractor does it all for her client. She knows what needs to happen first, so she can schedule the right subcontractors at the right time. She can also assure quality work so that you, as a homeowner, don’t have to micromanage every detail of the process. She does it for you.

Amanda Adams and Ashley Kellner, Amanda Lee Interiors

A designer, on the other hand, takes that functional space and makes it beautiful. A designer is integral in decisions like color choices, design finishes, and the like. It’s the designer who sees the final project before it’s done and helps guide the process so that the ultimate goal is realized. For example, if a homeowner wants a sleek, modern kitchen, the designer is the person who makes sure that the colors are on point, that the fixtures evoke a sense of modernity, and that the features that the general contractor has subcontracted for, such as the tile work or cabinetry, is in line with the overall end design.

In a perfect world, a general contractor and designer would work together from the beginning, so that a homeowner’s personal aesthetic and goals are clear to each as the process moves forward. That’s the main advantage of hiring a general contractor who is also a designer: there’s no confusion between the two roles, because the person you’ve hired understands both functions and can execute both seamlessly. Hiring a general contractor who is also a designer decreases the chance of miscommunication during the remodeling process, which can mean fewer mistakes and misunderstandings. This is huge, because let’s face it: the process can be stressful no matter what.

Working with someone who is both a general contractor and designer means you communicate once about your budget, your goals, your worries, etc. You don’t have to repeat everything to multiple people; instead, you can work with one person and be assured that you share the same priorities and goals for your project.

This is the type of company we are: a design-build firm whose general contractor is also a designer. She knows the language and has both residential and commercial experience, and she works with only the best subcontractors because the only thing that matters to her is getting your job done right. When you’re ready to turn your space into the place you’ve always wanted, reach out to see what we can do for you.

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