Why Interior Design Should Be Part of the Renovation Process from the Beginning

Janet McCann | Janet McCann Associates

May 22, 2021

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What makes a house a home? 

When you’re looking for a home, scrolling through real estate listings or walking through open houses, it’s easy to imagine yourself living there. But once you buy a home and start a renovation project, it can get more challenging – What color should I paint this room? Where should my existing furniture go? How can I best light this space?

Indeed, interior design makes a house your home. If a home renovation project is like a makeover, the interior design is your personal (and personally meaningful) look. What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you.

It makes sense, then, for an interior designer to be part of the team from the very beginning. Whether it is a new home or a renovation, there are considerations that only an interior designer can address, such as room size for desired furniture, the type and size of furnishings, and window size and styles integrated with window treatments, among other elements of décor. 

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Working with a designer isn’t about her or his style – it’s about discovering and executing yours. Some people know and articulate their style quite well. Others struggle with defining it. 

If a client truly cannot explain their taste and style, I pick up on clues, such as their current living situation. I also have them look at pictures from magazines, Houzz or Pinterest to share what they like. I make sure that their taste in the architecture matches with the interior design.  

As part of the team, an interior designer has a particular point of view which is distinct from the architect or builder yet complementary to the integration of the project. The interior designer keeps the end result in mind, monitoring how design and building decisions impact the overall look, feeling and budget of a project. 

For example, as part of the NextHaus Alliance team, I am involved in all initial conversations with the architects at Kipnis Architecture + Planning and with the builder at Berliant Construction. Close collaboration continues with them and with other NextHaus Alliance partners through several stages of the project.

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Our most recent project – the renovation of a historic home in Evanston – is an example of this type of collaborative work. The home’s unique and beautiful history adds another layer of excitement and invention. 

I believe it is very important to honor the integrity of the architecture of any home. At the same time, I bear in mind the fact that, just like a person, homes evolve. Because a house ultimately serves the people who live there, it must change with the times. 

To see how the Evanston historic home changes during the collaborative renovation, follow along on the NextHaus Alliance Facebook and Instagram over the next several months!

Janet McCann, president of Janet McCann Associates, is a core member of NextHaus Alliance.

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