Making a major change to your home can be exciting and rewarding. It can also seem overwhelming. There are many ways to approach a remodeling project. Some of the most common are DIY or hiring a handyman, jack of all trades, or general contractor. For larger, more complex projects there are two options – hire an architect and/or designer and then a general contractor or hire a Design-Build remodeling firm.

Over 27 years ago when George created The Cleary Company, he used the general contractor model working with different architects and designers over the years to create some amazing projects. After 15 years, he realized to best serve his clients it was time to add design to the company’s services. So, in 2009 George hired his first full-time designer, Laura Watson! Read more about our Design-Build process on our blog.

Differences Between a Residential Designer vs a Design Consultant?

What is a Residential Designer?

A residential designer, also known as a home designer, is a type of interior designer who specializes in working with clients to create functional and visually appealing living spaces. They work with client specifications and requirements to create the layout and structure of either new or existing homes. Our Designers advise on home construction features in relation to how each room should function to meet the client’s needs. They work closely with our Production Team to create a construction plan to help build the various features for each design-build project.

What is a Design Consultant?

A design consultant is a professional who provides aesthetic expertise and product knowledge based on the evaluation of the client’s needs and style. Our Design Consultants

  • Assist with client selections of fixtures & finishes
  • Create selection sheets for Design-Build projects
  • Price project selections within budget
  • Calculate material take-offs & place orders
  • Manage samples in design studio
  • Coordinate vendor meetings for new product offerings and lunch-n-learns

What You Should Know Before Starting Your Remodel Project

  1. HGTV is not reality, it’s for entertainment. The more research you can do before you hire a remodeler, the more you’ll enjoy the process of developing your design plan. And although the design process can feel long, especially when you’re ready to get started with demo, all the planning on the front end pays off during the construction phase.
  2. It’s not necessarily the product selections you make that drives the cost of your project but adding to the scope of work. It may seem obvious but when a project begins with a single room, a kitchen or bathroom for example, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking, “they’re already here so let’s remodel the mudroom or laundry too!”. This will certainly increase not only the materials but also the labor hours required to build a project.
  3. It’s ok to feel emotional during your remodel. Change is hard and remodeling is messy. Our Design-Build Team is with you through every step. We utilize our 27+ years of remodeling experience to have your best interest in mind.
  4. Friends, family, and others will offer advice and opinions throughout your project. It’s ok to listen but don’t let it dissuade you from choosing what makes you happy. Our Design Team enjoys getting to know you, your style, and your needs so that we can collaborate with you to create a successful remodeling plan.
  5. Remodeling is not EVER going to go perfectly as planned. There will be bumps, surprises, delays, and inconveniences. With over 27+ years of experience in remodeling, our Design-Build Team has pretty much seen it all and we’re prepared to take care of you and your home and manage your project to a successful completion.

To read more about what to expect during your home remodel, Check out our blog!

Meet Our Design Team

Laura Watson, ASID, UDCP – Design Department Manager – 30+ years experience, 12 yrs @TCC, Degree – BA in Interior Design @ University of Charleston

Matt Zimmer – Designer – 8+ years experience, 3 yrs @ TCC – BS Hospitality Management & Business @ The Ohio State University

Katie Florjancic, UDCP – Designer – 11+ years experience, 2 yrs @ TCC – BS in Interior Design & Business Management @ Ohio University

Cricket Kirk, NCARB – Designer – 15+ years experience, 1+ yr @ TCC – BS in Architecture @ University of Virginia & MS in Architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology

Shannon Tannehill – Design Consultant – 6+ years experience, 1 yr @ TCC – Interior Design @ The Art Institute of Cincinnati

Margot Sheehan – Design Consultant – 10+ years experience, 1+ yrs @ TCC – BS in Fashion Merchandising & Business @ University of Wisconsin

Design Team Q & A

We asked all our designers the following questions and were intrigued by their answers. We love seeing their personalities and love for design come through in their thoughts.

Describe your favorite project.

Laura – I have been in this too long to have a favorite but the ones I love are the ones where the client comes back years later to tell us they still love their new space.

Matt – The next one.

Katie – My favorite projects to design are kitchens! As an amateur home chef, I love to help others think about how they use their kitchens and come up with creative solutions to keep cooking fun!

Cricket – My favorite was a mid-century modern home on a hill facing the sunset with a 1 ½ story glass wall. It had open spaces with personality and a beautiful deck with a pool.

Shannon – A remodel I designed was a new plan for a tiny, dated kitchen that had very little storage and counter space and transformed it into a fresh and functional space. It was an elegant mix of greenish-grey and white cabinets, Cambria countertops, and gold hardware.

Margot – When the client is happy, we’ve created a raving fan and improved their home life.

What’s your dream project? Why?

Laura – Any type of project when a client knows what they like, can communicate well, and listens to their designer!

Matt – That’s tough I have a lot of dreams! #1 Jerry Jones invites me to be the exclusive remodeler of all the Luxury Suites at AT&T Stadium. #2 Design and build a compound of sustainable “small homes” on a gorgeous property.

Katie – A boutique hotel because I love to travel and believe a space can enhance your experience.

Cricket – Mine would be one in which I designed everything and then helped to build and decorate it with all the finishing touches.

Shannon – Expanding kitchen footprints. Taking down walls and adding more storage. Installing new lighting and hardware to pull the spaces together.

Margot – I love working on homes built in the early 1900’s (1910-1950). They have character and the quality. I love cozy rooms that each have a purpose. I prefer designing a remodel for an existing home, rather than a new build.

Best new product in the last 1-3 years? Why?

Laura – The bidet seat! Although this product has been around longer than 3 years, clients are finally catching on. Every home should have one. It saves on toilet paper, it’s very hygienic, it’s wonderful for the elderly, small children, and those with health issues. 

Matt – Electronic shower valves. They’re more efficient and flexible than traditional valves.

Katie – Touch faucets! Older than 3 years but still a favorite. As someone who loves to cook, I love the ease of turning on and off the faucet without contaminating the faucet with raw meat germs.

Shannon – Pull down bathroom faucet! Such an easy way to clean the bathroom sink.

Margot – Shower floor pans and drains. They’re getting more creative with colors, styles and shapes.

List 3 things you teach every client during the design process.

Laura:

  • Trust your designer.
  • Communicate likes & also dislikes.
  • Stay away from using too many trends.

Matt:

  • Never be afraid to speak up or offer a suggestion. Some of the best ideas in my career have come from the most unlikely sources.
  • You can’t hurt my feelings, honest feedback is key to getting you the best project possible.
  • You need to give yourself more credit for the beauty of final product. As designers we get a lot of credit, but ultimately, I just listened and learned about YOU.

Katie:

  • It’s important to create a space that functions well.
  • A well designed space utilizes design principles but always breaks at least one too.
  • Adding personal touches to each project makes the space unique to each client.

Cricket:

  • I’ve got 2.
  • First, your home is yours. Try not to worry too much about what “everyone” is doing.
  • And second, try not to worry too much about the resale value if you’re going to be living there for 10 years.

Shannon:

  • Staying in budget.
  • Finding their real design style.
  • Maximize function of their space.

Margot:

  • We’re collaborating to solve their problems with their home.
  • Clear communication is very important.
  • Decisiveness can move the process along more efficiently.

Ready to Remodel your home?

Relationships and collaboration are important to our Team’s success. We live and love the details!

If you are ready to work with the best Design-Build Team in Columbus, OH, give us a call @ 614-459-4000 OR visit the Contact page on our website. The experienced Design-Build professionals on our Team are ready to get started to create your dream home!