As an Interior Designer, I understand the basics of construction, enough to know how to communicate with and understand the technical aspects of the construction trade. Consulting with a contractor allows me to design within the contractors skill and efficiency, it is a critical piece of the design process. A good design isn’t any good if the person making it happen doesn’t have the skill to do it.
My experience and growing up in a family of contractors, I know enough about construction to know when to collaborate with the pros on strucutural and best methods. This helps me design efficiently. But trust me, you DON’T want me to build you a house! I dont’ know the first thing about actually DOING the work. even if I did, my skill is pretty non existent when it comes to power tools. I trust the contractor to know what he (or she) needs to know to build a safe, efficient and high quality home, addition or renovation.
Now let’s talk about the skill set of your contractor. Hopefully you have done proper research to know they meet the qualifications of your needs, are familiar with local codes and regulations and are compliant with proper licensing. Your contractor may know a little about design, enough to understand and communicate the basics. It is most likely based on what he has seen or done himself. Your contractor has specific, go to resources to find the basic materials and finishes necessary to get the job done. (in stock and readily available, non exclusive and limited to the current trends in building style)
But he doesn’t go beyond the realm of his resources. He knows he is not in the business of design, but of executing a finished space efficiently and effectively. He may have visualization skills to know how to construct a stairway, or move some walls around, but does he know the best type of lighting for your needs? His reference point is his experience, not what your specific preferences and style are. He may have some good ideas, based on other ‘designs’ he has been given the opportunity to implement, but those choices weren’t made for you, for your unique taste and preferences, they were made for someone else, by most likely, another designer, for another client.
So do you REALLY want your CONTRACTOR to DESIGN your project?