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Designer Series 01: DIY vs Hiring Professionals Part 2

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Designer Series 01: DIY vs Hiring Professionals Part 2

Emilie Kyle

Last week we discussed the benefits of hiring a professional to help you with your paint, lighting, furniture, home office, and bedroom design projects, noting along the way things you should keep in mind when going the DIY route. You can check it out here in case you missed it. This week’s post delves into projects that can involve a bit more planning and construction work.


Kitchen remodels are no small feat, so kudos to DIY-ers brave enough to tackle them! Keep in mind that the process may take longer than if you were to hire a contractor to get things done, especially if you have a busy schedule. Some contractors will let you do all of the demolition to help save money. Forming a solid plan is important not only for success, but also because your cooking areas will be disrupted for some time. If it’s your turn to host the family over the holidays, November probably isn’t your best option for a remodel that could compromise access to kitchen appliances! For the DIY-ers, know that there may be drywall and light carpentry work, painting, tile, electrical & lighting, plumbing, appliance hook-up, and cabinet hanging work. Hiring a seasoned General Contractor is beneficial because they usually have a number of specialists on staff that can complete specific trades for each job. A contractor who can devise different options and troubleshoot complex obstacles is well worth his weight in gold, and an interior designer should always have one who fits the bill. An interior designer can help you space plan your kitchen and will work with you to select all of the finishes, fixtures, and equipment you’ll need. Whichever way you decide to go, we're always here to help you, no matter the phase you're in!


A bathroom remodel is another example of a large project that you can do yourself or enlist a professional for help. For the most part, the above outline for kitchens tends to apply to bathrooms with a few exceptions, like how many bathrooms are tighter spaces to work in.


A lot of older homes weren't built with finished basements, so as families and space requirements increase, it's no wonder finishing the basement becomes a significant project. For the most part, these are pretty simple projects where flooring, drywall, electrical and paint are concerned. You can either do it yourself or hire a general contractor to take it on. If you're looking to create something with more personality or a space that is specific to a function (game room, wet bar), you'll want a plan at the start. There may be additional considerations with the mechanical system, mold, and overall damp areas. All of these potential issues will need to be mitigated before construction starts.


If you love where you live but simply need more space, a viable option is to expand your current dwelling. Although permitting requirements vary across jurisdictions, you'll want to hire an architect experienced in residential additions. An architect may take on the entire project, or they may pass off the interior portion to a designer. It's not unheard of to even work the other way. Sometimes a designer is brought in first and then an architect is hired to design the exterior structure based on the programming results with the interior designer. You'll also want to make sure you've got a good, Class A contractor to complete the build. At a minimum, they'll take care of the foundation, framing, siding, windows, mechanical, and roofing systems. Not only will they do a great job, they'll keep a safe construction site!


Need a more finished look to the jungle out back? If you're putting in a patio, you'll want to hire a landscape designer to make sure everything goes smoothly. DIY problems can arise upon the first shovel-dig! Landscape architects create spaces that combine natural beauty with function in such a way that your outdoor needs are met according to your desired aesthetic. They can help create steps going down a hill, add in water features (from fountains to pools), install benched seating, create beds full of plant life, and much more. Simple landscaped beds will take some planning and sweat, but the results can be very pleasing. You'll want to figure out what zone you're in to learn which plants work where and at what time of year they should be planted, transplanted, and pruned. It’s a good idea to plant according to your maintenance preferences. If you want it planted and done, lower maintenance flora is the way to go. Alternatively, if you have high-maintenance gardens on a large property, hiring an expert to tend to your blooms is a great investment. Once your new landscaping is complete and you start spending more time outdoors, you may find you want to add more furnishings to your space. If you are comfortable selecting off-the rack outdoor furniture, that is the way to go. If you are looking for something high-end, customized, or specialized, you'll want to reach out to your designer for help. 

We hope you've enjoyed the beginning of our Designer Series and that it's given you a little inspiration for creating that dream home you've always wanted. It's no secret that complex DIY projects can be a source of stress, so try to keep the end goal at the forefront of your mind. There's nothing like the satisfaction one feels upon successfully creating a beautiful space! If you find yourself in a tough spot, can't find the time to DIY, or lack the know-how, an interior designer is a wonderful asset when it comes to creating or transforming spaces in your home. Join us later this month when we give you tips on selecting an interior designer!

Written and Edited by Emilie Kyle and Cassandra Reinhart