LESLIE: Now we’re going over to Michigan where Linda is on the line and wants to add onto a farmhouse. How can we help you with that?
LINDA: Well, I have about a 100-year-old farmhouse and I – the only bathroom is upstairs. It’s a two-story farmhouse. And I want to age in place, so I want to add another bathroom downstairs. And also, I inherited a doll collection from my mother and it’s stored in all the storage in all the rooms, so I kind of want to bring it into one room and add another room for that and hobbies.
People have been suggesting that I just put a bathroom any old place. But the rooms are really well proportioned; it’s good cross-ventilation. I don’t want to have a mess. I want to have some style to the additions, so people have suggested that I go to either an architect or a drafter or interior designer. I don’t know – I’m not sure what that process involves and how many I should go to or …
TOM: Well, I think that you hit the nail on the head and that is to hire an architect for this remodel. Because, essentially, you want to make sure that whatever you do to this house flows and maintains its structural integrity as well as its design integrity. So an architect can help you do just that.
Selecting where to put that bathroom will be a balance of compromises trying to decide where it fits best in the design, where the plumbing is now, what it would take to get the plumbing where it needs to be for this particular bathroom and then how best to design those rooms for your collections and that sort of thing. The architect can handle with the structure and the mechanical systems. Once that’s done, then you could consider bringing in an interior designer to help lay it out and choose colors, choose furniture and make it work for you visually.
LESLIE: And I think the other good thing about bringing in the architect is they may have an interior designer that they work with. You can bring in your own. They’ll be able to sort of work together to help you specify the right materials for the right areas. So it really is a strong partnership.
LINDA: I see. Now, do I bring – do I talk or consult with two architects and get their ideas? Or do I just go with one and get the designs?
TOM: What I would do is I would bring in one or two or maybe three architects to see the property, tell them what you want to accomplish, find out how they work. You get a feel for them, they get a feel for you and then you make a decision based on that.
LESLIE: I think you meet with somebody – you meet with two or three architects, as Tom suggested. Just get a feel for them, because you’re going to know if you want to work with them, you’re going to know how well you communicate back and forth. You’ll sort of spitball ideas there during that meeting and get a really good sense of how much they’re understanding you. And whoever you feel the most comfortable with, I think, is what’s going to lead you to the right decision. And then you’ll start drawings.
LINDA: OK. I did get a card from someone who used them but – used this person but he was – this card says he’s a drafting consultant.
TOM: You don’t want a drafter, OK? You want an architect. You just want am architect – a good-quality architect. So focus on that first. You can take – usually, they’ll have books that show some of their past projects. You can see what kind of work they do.
You know, it’s going to be – you’ll figure out, through a process of elimination, which one you’re most comfortable with and that’s the person that’s going to get the job. But they’re well worth the investment because they’re going to make this process easy and they’re going to be – you’re going to be assured that it comes out exactly as you plan.
If you bring in some – if you go right to the contractor step, they’re just going to squeeze this bathroom in wherever they think it fits and you’re not going to be happy with it. So get the architect; they’re well worth their investment.
LINDA: OK. Great.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.