del mar home

Four Things Successful Architects, Designers, and Builders Do

The essential first step towards beautiful results in design is hiring the best person for the job… But as a layperson, it can be difficult to separate the good from the best! Everyone needs a few guidelines when choosing the right person to hire for a given project. When reviewing your options, use the categories listed below to assess the designer, architect, or builder in question. Let what you see in their work guide you in deciding if they’re right for your home project.

Tell Me About Myself

The first thing an architect or designer should do in describing their work is to tell their client’s story — and when reviewing someone’s past work, it can be very informative to ask what story is being told. For example, a kitchen expansion might tell the story of opening up space for a growing family; a landscaping project might describe the client’s love of the wild outdoors or, by contrast, their penchant for manicured perfection. A story can be defined by the limitations of a space – for example, the lack of natural light in a remodeled basement. A story can be told simply by the likes and dislikes of the client — as in a house that showcases Italian marble in surprising places. Whatever the inspiration for the story, a successful architect or designer tells it poetically, proudly, and clearly.

Prioritize the Details

The old adage that it’s “all in the details” was never truer than in good design. Every element of a built space serves a purpose – whether structural or decorative – and that purpose is reflected in the little details necessary to making something work. When even a simple wall is built, a designer makes many choices: what material to build it in, how high to build it, how it should be finished, how it will relate to the other walls and surfaces in the space. Using these choices as opportunities to elaborate on the stylistic theme of a project is what sets successful designers and builders apart from the competition.

updated kitchen

Be Bold

Humans have been designing and building since time immemorial; and while there have been plenty of experiments throughout history, we tend to follow a set of basic rules. Some of these rules are required by physics, while others are a simple convention. Successful architects and designers find ways to express themselves through bending or even breaking these conventions – like a window tucked unexpectedly into a corner, unusual use of old material in a new place, or using mixed materials to turn an exterior into a work of art.

Break Your Own Rules

Most of us have an innate need for at least a little order in our lives and in our living spaces – but it is the occasional departure from that order that elevates a design from a strictly utilitarian one to a work of art. When a designer has created a safe container with the overall look of a project, they can afford to mix things up a bit – as in the single stroke of metallic glamour in this otherwise classic parlor. A good design will bend to suit your tastes no matter how outlandish they may be!

It is imperative to connect with the past work of a designer, architect, or builder before hiring them for your project. Look deeply, read between the lines, and let their creations work themselves into your skin. Keeping these four essential qualities in mind – storytelling, details, boldness, and flexibility – you can be confident in finding the best person to turn your design dreams into reality.

If you enjoyed this blog you may want to read our blog about, “Communicating with Your Contractor Before Your Project Begins.”

Smith Brothers is a unique team of construction craftsmen, architects, and interior designers. Since 1978, we stress the absolute highest levels of quality, performance, value and service in each and every project. Our award-winning design ideas, expertise, and collective experience allow us to provide the very best in what we do. For more information please contact us at 877-230-0333, (+01) 858-350-1445, or

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