Mural of Monster Characters

The Remodeling Cast of Characters

Photo by NeONBRAND

Remodels are complicated productions with unpredictable plots and a cavalcade of characters. Keeping track of who is doing what can be a challenge. 

In addition to the Designer and the Builder, the cast includes the Daily User, the Stylist, the Environmentalist, the Accountant, and the Professional. Read on to see how each contributes to a successful project.

The Designer

I usually play this role, but I am happy to hand off to you. You will be one part magician and one part project manager. The Designer moves the project through the five phases of the design process. She pulls the rest of the team along with her. One day she's an artist, the next day she's a taskmaster.

The Partner or Co-Designer

Hurray! Someone wants to work with you to design and build your new room. You're lucky if a Co-Designer steps forward; embrace him. Some spouses partner productively.

Others will be better off dividing the workload. My husband and I, two type-A personalities, are like this. When we remodeled our bathroom, I planned it, chose all of the finishes, and coordinated the delivery of all of the materials. He fielded bids and managed the day-to-day communication with the contractor.

The Daily User

These are the people in your family - spouse, kids, roommates - who will use the room you're designing every day. Their needs and wants are paramount. People who regularly visit, say your aging parents, should have a say in the design of a room they use.

The Stylist

The stylist concerns himself only with how the new bathroom will look. They have strong opinions on color, materials, and, obviously, style. This can be your spouse who loves color and design but doesn't have the time or interest to be involved in every step of the design process.

Parents who are designing a hall bathroom or kids' bathroom often encourage their children to take this role. The children influence how the bathroom will look, but not how it will work or how much it will cost, and Mom and Dad get the final say.

The Environmentalist

Like the Stylist, the Environmentalist is concerned with only one aspect of the design, sustainability. They know what they're talking about and will put in the legwork to find green materials.

If sustainability is important to you, let them help. Sometimes they will be concerned about specific health issues like the off-gassing of construction materials and its impact on people with asthma or chemical sensitivities.

The Accountant

The accountant ensures that the bathroom is a good investment. An uninvolved spouse often plays this role. She trusts her husband to make the style and function decisions but wants to make sure the family is not overspending.

The Professional

For complex projects, you will need to bring in the big guns. If you're changing the roof, foundation, or bearing walls, you'll need an architect or engineer. And, you'll need a surveyor to create a site plan. If you're adding a jetted tub or steam room, you might need an electrical engineer to design a new, higher capacity electrical panel. Your contractor and your building department should help you figure out when you need to add one of these professionals to your team.

The General Contractor or Builder

The general contractor runs the construction project. He and his crew will build your bathroom themselves, or he will hire specialists, called subcontractors, to complete parts of the project. In many states, a homeowner can act as a general contractor.

Jackie Lopey, Certified Interior Designer & founder of Wide Canvas
She didn't know it, but Jackie Lopey's days as an advertising executive were numbered when she bought and renovated a 1950's bungalow. She soon went back to school and started her own design studio. Jackie is an award-winning, certified interior designer and the founder of Wide Canvas, a kitchen and bath design studio in Reno, Nevada.

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