It’s a question almost as old as the chicken and the egg; who do you choose first – architect or interior designer?
Designers and architects aren’t always the most comfortable of bedfellows – while there is a lot of overlap, the different skills, perspectives and priorities can create challenges. To an extent the answer is in the scale of your project and how dramatically a space needs to be remodelled. But, however you begin, the earlier the team gets together the better the results will be – and the key to the success of any project is that everyone involved truly understands and is aligned with the needs of the client.
Whether remodelling a property to accommodate a growing family or adapting an old building to let in more light, whatever the story, good communication between architect and designer is key.
At NJ Architects, we are often asked to assist with the design of kitchens, bathrooms, bespoke furniture and more. For all of our team, the ability to take a client’s vision from a piece of paper (computer programme, beer mat…) to a fully functional, practical and beautiful home or business is why we’re here.
Start as you mean to go on – clarity is king!
At the beginning of a project, we’d suggest a whole team meeting, to ensure a cohesive approach and allocate specific areas of responsibility. Building the concept – the ‘look’ – requires collaboration right from the outset.
A good interior designer will often have useful insight into ways a space can facilitate a desired end – even if they don’t have the technical know-how to build it. In the same way, a good architect will get to know your taste in soft furnishings, cookery or music, enabling them to design an over-arching structure that will incorporate personality, and allow you to flourish and relax. For example, while your architect might take the lead in space planning – the way a room is constructed – knowing the designer’s (and the client’s) ideas for placement of furniture, lights and other accessories will create a more satisfying result and avoid the need for ‘bolt-on’ solutions further down the line.
It’s important that everyone understands the goal and the way each individual speciality fits in. Blurred areas of responsibility can include things like built-in furniture, electrical sockets, and interior doors and windows – confusion about who is ‘in charge’ can lead to power struggles or, worse, no-one taking responsibility. By nurturing strong relationships with interior designers, we deliver a holistic approach for all your needs, right through to furnishings and soft fabrics and make sure you’re not paying for the same service twice.
At Aldeburgh House, in Suffolk, as well as designing significant external extensions, we were responsible for considerable interior changes, including new bathrooms, purpose-made joinery, and oak floorboards in the new sitting room to harmonise the space. We also advised on paint colours and paper hanging.
View more photos of this project on our Suffolk site:
NJ Architects offer an end-to-end service
Our team of experts can help with everything, from planning permission to technical drawings, from exterior landscaping to interior wall coverings, and from cabinetry to lighting. We have a network of designers we trust and work with regularly – but are always open to new partnerships.