As you are probably well aware, an architect and an interior designer are two distinct professions. While there is quite a bit of crossover between the two professions, there are also key differences. An architect handles the design of structures—both interior and exterior. Their work is focused on designing buildings that are aesthetically pleasing, functional, and safe. They produce detailed plans that integrate things like mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems in ways that meet local building codes. They consult with specialists like structural engineers and energy efficiency experts, and work with the local officials for approval of their plans. An architect’s job is both highly creative and highly technical.
Like an architect, an interior designer can also help make a space more beautiful and functional, but they do it in a different way—focusing more on floorplan design and decorative elements to create a look and feel that appeals to their clients. They don’t typically have to concern themselves with details like energy efficiency, ADA requirements, fire codes, or the structural soundness of a structure.
A good architect and a good interior designer would probably both consider themselves “problem solvers.” They want to make the best use of the space and design it to be as functional as possible. Each of their goals is to have the space meet the needs of their clients, and they are each able to come up with creative solutions to make this happen.
Because there is so much crossover between the two professions, an architect is often able to offer interior design services on top of their architectural design services. Most architects in Long Beach can help with things like the selection of materials (flooring, lighting, cabinetry, etc.), and are typically happy to do so because these decisions can really help bring their designs together. However, an architect will typically not help with decisions about furnishings, window treatments, and other décor items, and will instead refer their clients to a dedicated interior designer.
Some Long Beach architects have interior designers as part of their team in order to offer start-to-finish design services to their clients. Grisafe Architecture in Long Beach is one such architecture firm. Although their team is small, owner Mark Grisafe has found it valuable to have staff members who are skilled and experienced in interior design. Grisafe himself is skilled in interior design and actually teaches the subject at the junior college level. In Grisafe’s opinion, providing their firm’s clients with detailed interior design plans can really help clients visualize what the space will look like when completed—much more than architectural drawings can—and in the end, the client is more likely to have a space that meets all of their needs, as well as their “wants.”
With other Long Beach architects, you may have to hire an outside interior designer, should you need help with the finishing details of your home or office. Most architecture firms should have a list of solid referrals who can meet your needs for interior design.