The Role of Interior Design in Construction

Most homeowners and contractors use the terms “interior designer” and “decorator” synonymously, not realizing there is a difference. It is generally thought that after you build, you call a decorator to help you with the prettying stages like painting, furniture and window treatments. This is true. The work of a professional interior designer, however, starts during the planning stage, prior to construction.

An interior designer knows building structures, will draft your working drawings, space plans, and lighting and electrical layouts. They will write specifications, design architectural features and prepare your interior finish schedules. The design concept in your home will flow through the design details: the openings between rooms, trim details, style of doors, hardware and stair components,

and the character of lighting and plumbing fixtures. Once the designer has completed the drawings and specifications, a contractor can quote on your project. Contractors also use designers to work with clients to prepare needed drawings so they can offer a quote, get a building permit and build the project.

One of the most important stages is the design of your kitchen and built-in cabinetry. The kitchen that was sketched on your house plan is probably not the kitchen you want. An interior designer will prepare detailed drawings of your dream kitchen, incorporating appliance and storage needs. Then you can take these drawings to retailers to request quotes, allowing you to compare quotes based on the same drawing.

An interior designer will guide you through design and decorating confusion to a solution that feels right for you. They can also help you save time and money, avoid costly mistakes, reduce frustration by prioritizing and coordinating your ideas, and introduce you to exciting, current design concepts and color.

Winter Reno Myths

Thinking of renovating this winter, but not sure if you have the available funds to do what you want? Many of us would love to make changes to our homes but are unsure of where to start. Before you start picking out new granite counter-tops, sit down, work on a budget, and figure out your financing.

Some people use lines of credit or credit cards to facilitate renovations, both of which can be expensive, with high interest rates. A different method is to use the equity in your house to finance the renovation; when the work is finished, the value of the home is typically higher than before the renovations were started.

Sitting down with a mortgage broker and discussing your options is one route to accessing free financial expertise. A broker can help you plan your budget, account for cost overruns, and find the right mortgage product for your project. Reduce renovation stress by properly planning your finances, and choosing a qualified renovator to help you get the home you envisioned.


1) Contractors tend not to work during the winter months. Winter months are traditionally considered a convenient time for “inside work,” but most contractors work through the winter. Projects like roofs, decks and siding of homes are not inhibited due to reduced temperatures.

2) Renovations in the winter are not energy efficient. A common misconception is that winter renos leave a home exposed to the elements during construction. Responsible contractors make sure a house is “weathertight” before any major demolition is attempted. In this case, “weathertight” means shingled, insulated, sealed (vapour barrier, acoustical sealant, spray foam, where applicable) with cladding to repel Mother Nature.

3) Canadian winter weather conditions make construction projects costly and time consuming. Local contractors adapt quickly to cold temperatures. When expecting a snowfall, material is covered up and measures are taken to prepare for precipitation. Once the snow is brushed away, it is business as usual. Tradespeople bundle up and embrace the chance to earn your business.

4) Spring and summer are ideal times to complete work in hopes of selling a home. Due to the aforementioned myths, contractors quickly “line-up” spring and summer jobs. Winter could be the best time to line up the contractor you want to work with for your renovation, so you are ready for spring.