Vail Design at Altitude column: The great debate: Do-it-yourself or a hire a designer | VailDaily.com

Vail Design at Altitude column: The great debate: Do-it-yourself or a hire a designer

Kim Toms and Oshi Gardarian
Design at Altitude

We've met many of our favorite clients by answering the question, "Why should I hire a designer?" There's a designer hidden in many of us, and with the proliferation of do-it-yourself television shows and magazines, homeowners who have had success picking tile and installing it hesitate to hire a designer.

There are people who are accomplished do-it-yourselfers — they envision what the finished project will look like as they demo; they understand the nuances of design and how to create their look. They know what they want and understand the work it takes to create it. Others, though, start a project, get muddled in the middle and don't know how to get to the end.

For homeowners who are not sure which way to go, design associate Oshi Gardarian suggests incorporating a DIY project with the professional expertise of an interior designer. She knows from firsthand experience that clients can be as hands-on as they want. And she adds that a professional designer can strengthen a great DIY idea with input and core knowledge.

Oshi suggests that accent pieces can be a great way to get your feet wet and see if do-it-yourself is the way to go. You might have a piece of art from the Almalfi Coast or a sculpture picked up in Jo-berg. That one piece can influence the design for the rest of the room. When more technical know-how is needed, it's the perfect time to reach out to a designer.

We're obviously biased, but hiring an interior designer for a remodel or a new build is well worth it. Designers are experts in their field — knowing best practices, codes, standard sizes and measurements. Designers have strong relationships with reps, know what's available, what should be used where and how different applications work, i.e., why one tile works in a bathroom instead of a kitchen, what type of hardwood holds up best in high-traffic areas and what type of carpeting is best for a baby's room. Designers translate ideas of what you like into your final design.

Kim Toms, Slifer's interior architect, is constantly hunting for new fixed finishes (faucets, tiles, flooring, backsplashes, appliances), and even with two decades of experience, she still is surprised by how many options are available. The process can feel overwhelming.

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Toms points out that even seemingly simple decisions, such as appliances, require thought and knowledge because of the vast plethora of manufacturers, finishes, sizes and specs. Designers are invited to formal trainings, where they receive hands-on experience, complete with demonstration and input from a manufacturer.

Our bottom line? We love working with our clients and bringing their design inspiration to life. It's what we love to do and what we do best.

Kim Toms and Oshi Gardarian work to create inspired interiors, whether designing a kitchen or updating a spacious living area.