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Working with the Trades

I completed a project for a building firm at the end of last year, it was a new build with a nod towards the victorian era. This was a learning curve for both myself and the firm I was working with. The client the building firm were working for likes attention to detail and going that little bit further than magnolia walls and off the shelf fixtures, and so I was hired for my creative input. This led to some really useful conversations about when exactly is the best time to contact an Interior Designer and how exactly they can help you. The answer is as early as possible.

I talk a lot to clients about how to work with trades people, here are my top tips;

RESEARCH is key..

1) Know your project inside out, research your project, try and learn the language of various materials and techniques, that way you can be informed when briefing your chosen trades person.

2) Spend time researching to ensure you find the right trades person for you. This should not always be a price decision, it’s more about expertise, quality of work and references, did you have a good rapport when talking with them?

3) Don’t assume you’ve been understood, you may get nods of agreement but always reiterate and get confirmation in writing. Use pictures to communicate your final vision. Tradespeople use different language and think differently to you. Drawings really assist to ensure your both on the dame page.

4) Check in daily once the work has commenced. What’s the aim for the day, any current and foreseeable problems, make sure you have an agreed timeframe for the works, but be prepared for delays!

5) Be flexible and build in contingencies both time and money. Things do unfortunately go wrong (a trade person can’t anticipate problems), having a good relationship with your trades person from the start is the only way to ensure that your project is completed with a quality finish, in a timely manner, which is not necessarily the time you agreed from the outset.

The biggest tip I have is to engage an Interior Designer for your project. An interior designer is already streets ahead of you in terms of experience with working with trades people and has the time to manage them effectively. We can offer guidance on so many aspects that need to be considered at this early stage of your build / renovations, from the positioning of light switches and electrical sockets to how the flow of the house will work. Successful interior design isn't just about selecting the colour palette but also considering how the space will be lived in, about the natural light levels and how you will use the space.

As with a lot of things in the design industry, relationships play a major role in how a project comes to fruition. The benefit that comes with working alongside trades that your designer has used in the past is just that 'They have worked together in the past'. Because trades will be familiar with the designer and the way they work, there is less back and forth, the tradespeople already know what is expected of them. Overall, there is less room for error because they have completed projects together and have already worked out ways of working.

Here's a little snippet from an Interview I then went on to do with Micheal of 'The First Fix', here we're talking about paint choices and why I feel opting for an eco-conscious paint choice should really be considered.

If you want to use Eco Paint on your Self-Build or Home Renovation I would recommend the following paint manufacturers:

Further information on paint suppliers can be found on this blog post where I discuss the pros and cons of eco paint.

The full interview with Michael of Creo is available over on his website and is included in the free Self-Build course.


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