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What’s Design-Build Remodeling—and Is It Right for Your Home?

Posted on Feb 2, 2017 in:
  • Remodel
  • Seattle Times HomeWork
  • Homeowners

By Brooks Powell, Powell Homes & Renovations

Q: What's the difference between a design-build remodeler and a regular remodeler?

A: Home-remodeling projects don't begin with hammers and saws. They begin with dreams and ideas. But those dreams and ideas need to be developed into concrete plans.

Remodelers need plans (or designs) to turn your dreams and ideas into reality. How can you make sure that the ideas you have for your home remodel are reflected in the design—and the completed project you envision?

That's where using a design-build remodeler can be a huge advantage. What's the idea behind design-build remodeling? It's when the person designing your home remodeling project is part of the same team that builds it.

What does that mean for you as a homeowner?

One benefit is that there's less room for confusion about what's to be done. The designer and the builder are working together to achieve your goals.

It also means that you'll eliminate finger pointing between the designer and the builder. They're on the same page. Because they've worked together, the designer knows what the builder can build. They aren't going to create a plan that looks great but can't be built. And if an issue arises, the builder and the designer can work together to create a solution.

That means you—as the homeowner—aren't caught in the middle of a he-said-she-said situation. You can have confidence that your dreams and ideas will be turned into workable, buildable plans that the craftsmen can complete. In fact, what often occurs with design-build firms is that the designer and builder will confer about the best way to approach a unique situation before the plans are even drawn up.

Another reason that a design-build remodeler can be an advantage is that with a home remodel, you're not starting with a blank piece of paper. Your designer and your builder must take the current structure into consideration. And sometimes what you can't see (as a homeowner or a designer) is just as important to a successful remodel as what you can see. That's when it's nice to deal with a builder who isn't just dealing with drawings but understands how those drawings and designs will be impacted by what already exists in your current home.

Whether you're looking to add a room, add a whole floor, remodel your kitchen, add outdoor living space, or remodel your master bathroom and bedroom, working with a design-build remodeler can help you ensure that the new elements in your home work in concert with the existing structure of your home and deliver a result you'll be happy with for years to come.


Brooks Powell is the general manager of Powell Homes & Renovations and a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. HomeWork is the MBA's weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you'd like answered by one of the MBA's more than 2,800 members, write to

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