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Five Reasons to Choose Direct Carpentry Over an Interior Designer

In the world of home improvement and interior design, the concept of direct carpentry has been gaining significant attention. Singaporean homeowners are quickly realizing the benefits of collaborating directly with carpenters, carpentry workshops, or carpentry factories when it comes to their renovation projects.

This approach offers numerous advantages, including better prices, easier communication, and a less stressful experience. In this article, we will delve into why you should consider working with a carpenter directly, instead of opting for an interior designer.


Why Designers are More Expensive

Most Interior Designers in Singapore are middlemen who apply a markup onto the primary service providers. Carpenters, plumbers, and tilers (who lack the slick marketing skills and dazzling design vocabulary that are the designer’s stock in trade) take contracted work from the Interior Designer, and the difference between the subcontractor’s price and the Designers’ make up the latter’s margin. Do note that not all work this way – some more established Interior Designers do have their own production facilities. Inhouse Interiors is one of these, with both full design services and our very own carpentry workshop to serve our customers’ needs.


1. Better Prices with Lower Markup

One of the most compelling reasons to engage directly with a carpenter is the potential for cost savings. When you hire an interior designer, you're essentially paying for their services on top of the actual work being done by carpenters. Interior designers typically charge a design fee and add a noticeable markup to the cost of materials and labour. This markup can significantly increase your project's overall expense. For example, kitchen cabinets built by the carpenter might cost about $120 per foot run, whereas with an ID markup it could be closer to $160 per foot run. For a 3-meter-long kitchen with 30 feet of cabinetry (top and bottom rows), the savings would be about $1200. Not an insignificant sum. These markups keep the ID well fed and happy, but the money could potentially stay parked in your pocket with the help of a Direct Carpenter.

By working directly with a carpentry workshop or factory, you eliminate the middleman, ensuring that you get competitive prices without the additional design and management fees. This cost-effective approach allows you to allocate your budget more efficiently to enhance the quality of materials or add more features to your project.


2. The Carpenters Will Do a Lot of the Work Anyway

Interior designers play a valuable role in conceptualizing and planning a design concept. However, it's important to remember that the individuals who will physically construct and install your fixtures, cabinets, and furnishings are the carpenters. Therefore, it makes sense to work directly with the people who will be responsible for the execution of your project.

Designers might spend more time with you and propose creative ideas, but ultimately they will turn to a carpenter to cut wood and get the job done. Often the dynamic between Carpenter and Designer is akin to that between Architect and Engineer. The designer reaches for the stars, but Carpenters with their extensive knowledge and experience know best what designs are durable, functional and can be done under deadline.

A good carpentry workshop needs the designer less than the designer needs the workshop. They are able to produce drawings, point out any potential issues with a given layout, work with electricians and plumbers to integrate utilities into the cabinets, and give some lifestyle and design advice.

By engaging directly with carpenters from a carpentry workshop or factory, you can discuss project details, material preferences, and specific design requirements firsthand, without the Interior Designer running relay between you and the Carpenter. This direct involvement ensures that your expectations are fully understood and executed by the professionals who will bring your vision to life.


3. Easy Communication with Less Handing Over of Information

Following on the idea of direct involvement, smooth communication is key to the success of any home renovation project. When you work with an interior designer, information often needs to be relayed between the designer and the carpenters, which can lead to misunderstandings and potential delays in the best-case scenario, and degenerate into a headache-inducing blame game in the worst.

When you work directly with a carpenter, you eliminate this communication gap. You can discuss your vision, preferences, and requirements directly with the professionals who will be executing the work. This streamlined communication ensures that your ideas are accurately translated into the final product, resulting in a more cohesive and satisfactory outcome. Without the designer around, there’s direct accountability too as you know exactly who is responsible for what.


4. Enhanced Customization and Flexibility

When you collaborate directly with a carpenter, you have greater control and flexibility over the customization of your project. Carpenters are skilled craftsmen who can tailor their work to your unique needs and specifications. You can request alterations, choose materials that align with your vision, and make real-time decisions, resulting in a more personalized end product. Designers won’t know the actual capabilities and skills of the carpenter they are subcontracting, and this inaccuracy can lead to over or under-promising.

Interior designers may have limitations in terms of customization, as they need to adhere to their established margin and price point. They might invoice you again for the changes, and that price may not be small.

 Working directly with a carpentry workshop or factory allows you to explore creative ideas and adapt your project as it progresses.


5. Faster Project Timelines

Eliminating the need for an intermediary can often lead to shorter project timelines. When you work with an interior designer, additional time is required for design approvals and coordination with multiple parties. In contrast, direct carpentry involves a more straightforward process, as the carpenters can get to work promptly based on your agreed-upon plan. Once you’ve signed off on the drawings and made the appropriate payment, they’ll likely rush to get started as a good carpenter’s factory is perpetually busy.


The Bottom Line:

In conclusion, while interior designers can offer valuable design expertise, collaborating directly with carpenters, carpentry workshops, or carpentry factories provides distinct advantages. You can enjoy cost savings, streamlined communication, and a more hands-on role in your project. Ultimately, this approach allows you to bring your unique vision to life while ensuring quality workmanship and competitive pricing.

Inhouse Interiors is one of Singapore’s only firms that has the best of both worlds, with not only extensive interior design expertise but our own direct carpentry factory where we build high quality cabinetry for our customers. If you're planning a home renovation, consider working directly with us to achieve the best of both worlds.



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