Remodeling
Residential Designers (Space Planners) are trained to use space most efficiently and tend to focus on floor-plan design, detailed lifestyle evaluation and design functionality. If you’re considering a floor plan, a family room, bathroom or kitchen, consult a residential or interior specialist. This specialist can spend additional time and attention on specific areas of the home that are especially important to you and your family. Often, residential designers’ expertise can overlap with interior designers because they both offer advice about the latest trends and products.

Structural Engineers need to be consulted if your project requires any structural alterations to an existing building. The role complements the work of architects, who are the spatial and aesthetic experts of building design and construction. A structural engineer can provide advice on any strengthening required and the design of new lintels, beams, walls or foundations that may be needed. Structural engineers also can perform a site inspection to establish the nature of the ground and design suitable foundations for the building.

Kitchen and Bathroom Designers provide expert product knowledge within their specialties, but they may lack construction experience or miss design opportunities associated with additions or movement of walls, according to building experts. If the project involves high-dollar budgets in which expensive cabinets, materials and appliances will be used, consider either of these professionals.

Home Center Staff Designers are an easy, immediate and cost-effective way to learn about basic design ideas. You can check your local home-center store to learn about classes it is offering or simply visit the store and discuss with staff designers what you’re planning to build. You will find that design skills among the staff varies widely. Also, be aware that the staff will recommend solutions using their store’s products.

Interior Designers and Home Decorators are specialists who offer advice on furniture, wall coverings, colors, styles and overall physical appearance of your project. While not essential to the process, these professionals can save you both time and money by helping you narrow down your choices and utilizing professional discounts for materials, such as furniture, home accessories, wallpaper or paint. Communicating your personal style and preferences is important when you meet with an interior designer or home decorator. Be prepared to show examples of styles you like that you’ve found in magazines or books. Based on your input, these professionals will develop ideas that will work for the space and help create a setting that represents your artistic sensibility. Keep in mind that while an interior designer also may do some interior space planning, most of them usually focus on interior decorating by selecting finishing touches such as carpets, drapes, paint colors, fabrics and furnishings. You may find that their duties overlap or can be interchangeable with those of both residential designers and interior decorators.

Draftspersons primarily prepare technical drawings of designs created by others although some can assist with the design. These days, most drafters work in Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) programs. You already may have a good idea of a floor plan you like; if that’s the case, it’s not uncommon to hire a draftsperson to draw the blueprints and have them checked by an engineer before speaking with general contractors to bid, apply for permits and build.

As you speak with these various professionals in the home-building process, look for people whose experience, designs and ideas best reflect your taste and sensibilities. There also should be good communication flow and understanding about the project. After all, it’s about building your new home, one of the largest investments you’ll make in your lifetime and the center of your family’s life.

— Other Remodeling Resources
Following are other ways to look for remodeling professionals in your area:
  • Jobsite signs: Pay particular attention to homes with signs from their contracting companies on their lawn. Is the site clean? Are tools and materials being handled in a responsible manner? Are there dust covers over the owner’s belongings to protect them?
  • Local media coverage: Look for articles about local remodelers. Also check out local home-improvement columns in the newspaper and on TV and radio talk shows in your area. They can be a great source for finding a qualified, reputable and personable contractor.
  • Seminars: Attend local seminars on home-improvement topics. Some firms host free seminars on how to choose a remodeler and other interesting remodeling topics. Check your local newspaper community news section for information.
  • Home trade shows: In Denver, each year the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver hosts the Builder Product Expo. You’ll find it a great place to gather information about companies and to make an initial contact with potential contractors. Later it is possible to meet with them at their place of business or in your home.

THE PUSH FOR GREENER HOMES
The people of Denver place a high premium on sustainability and conservation. Following are a few local and national programs and resources for homeowners interested in building and remodeling with green standards in mind.

   
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