Step Four: What to Expect During Design

After you select your “remodeling team,” you’ll meet with the designer to start the design process. At the initial meeting, be prepared to discuss your budget, goals, and likes and dislikes. You don’t need to know how to achieve those goals or exactly what the finished space will look like – that’s what the designer is for. However, if you have specific ideas – here’s where that “idea file” comes in handy – communicate them so you get what you want.


Design-build firms will usually present a design agreement and ask for a retainer to develop the project. This will assure you a well thought out, detailed plan for your project. With a commitment to enter into a design agreement, the designer will make an appointment to come measure your space. Then she’ll develop preliminary specifications, drawings and an estimate.


After you’ve met and approved the initial concept, you and the designer will go shopping for elements that will help solidify and coordinate the design. For instance, if remodeling a kitchen, you may be shopping for appliances and choosing floor coverings, countertops, and light fixtures. The designer then will review and revise drawings and specifications, and present them to you. Leading up to construction, she will walk through the jobsite with trade contractors to review the project. Finally, she will meet with you to review final drawings and specifications.