Why you should hire an Interior Designer before building your new home

Sponsored by March by Shane Griffin 

It may seem counterintuitive to call an interior designer before a house is even built. But having one on board from the earliest stages of planning a new-construction home can have many benefits.

“When people are building homes, I usually like to get involved from the very, very beginning when they’re still selecting the architect,” says Shane Griffin, of MARCH by Shane Griffin. “I’ll give them an estimated cost to do the project, from plans and designs with an architect all the way through furnishings. That way they can build that into their overall budgets.”

From deciding which way doors should swing open to choosing locations for electrical outlets to selecting flooring materials and cabinets, there are many things to think about when a home is under construction. Then there are the numerous choices to make about furniture and décor.

It can be overwhelming for homeowners — which is where a designer’s touch can come in handy.

With his eye for detail, Griffin works with his clients and their architects to create floor plans to suit the homeowners’ preferences. He can help interview and choose builders. Once construction starts, he accompanies his clients at on-site meetings with builders and during walkthroughs for electricity and plumbing. He stays involved all the way through checking items off the punch list at the end.

Being there every step of the way ensures his customers get what they need and want.

“So many times I get brought in after people make choices they wish they hadn’t,” Griffin says. “If I can be there from the beginning, it cuts down on problems later on. That’s the value of bringing up those questions or issues they may not be thinking about at the time.”

Getting to know a house from the time it is planned to being completed helps Griffin craft a vision for how it should be decorated.

“I know every part of the house like the homeowner does,” he says. “It makes it very easy to bounce ideas off of each other and it seems to help it run smoothly.”

His involvement helps keep timetables on track. When it comes time to choose paint, tile and other finishes, Griffin’s guidance allows clients to easily make decisions and meet builder deadlines.

For clients wanting to update existing homes, Griffin also provides his expertise for renovation and redecorating projects.

“For kitchen and bathroom remodels, I will go in and put a price to the overall project so they have a snapshot and know what the renovation will cost,” he says. “I oversee the project, design it and pick the finishes, and I usually charge a flat fee — a percentage of the project.”

Customers interested in smaller undertakings, such as refreshing their drapery or adding new furnishings, can get Griffin’s help for $150 an hour.

“That way people can use me as much or as little as they want,” he says.

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