Finding Interior Designers & Contractors: Modern Condo Design | TRB


Condo renovations can bring a mix of emotions to your life. There is excitement, nervousness and stress as you enter the first phase of the process. We experienced all of these…and more during our renovation. But it’s during these initial stages where several key decisions need to be made, so don’t take them lightly. Dedicate a lot of time to doing your research, and if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your gut.

How to Find a Good Designer: Modern Condo Design

After speaking with a few friends who had recently completed home & condo renovations, we decided we wanted to work with a designer. We had a good idea of the scope of work, and our Pinterest board looked fantastic, but we’re busy people and we wanted the process to be seamless, fast and give us the dream home we were looking for.

The search for a designer can be as daunting as the thought of the renovation itself. Where do you even begin? How do you find the best interior designers? Instagram? Google? Magazines? Our advice is to start with personal referrals. Talk to everyone you know that has been through a home or condo renovation process recently. Ask who they worked with and if they would recommend their work. If they feel good about giving a recommendation, they’re probably worth checking out.

We received a glowing recommendation from good friends, so we decided to dive a bit deeper into the research of what to look for when hiring an interior designer. We looked at websites, and Instagram was a very good source as well. Once we realized the general aesthetic and vibe of our potential designer matched ours, we reached out to set up an introduction.

Our first meeting was incredibly exciting! Most interior designers offer an in-home consultation service that lasts a few hours. During this time, they look at the space and give some general ideas of what could work. We discussed everything from our likes and dislikes to furniture and even colours. Our Pinterest board of modern condo designs came in very handy for this meeting.

We loved everything offered, and how turnkey the process would be throughout the renovation, so we engaged Karin Bennett, the Principal Designer at Karin Bennett Designs.

Benefits of Working with a Designer: Are They Worth it?

Are interior designers worth it? Working with Karin was nothing short of fantastic. From the beginning, we were on the same page with the important design elements for our condo. She made our lives so much easier – it was one of the best decisions we made during our condo renovation and well-worth the investment.

If we had to narrow down the biggest benefits of working with an interior designer such as Karin, they would be:

  1. Collaboration – We truly worked as a team. We wanted to be involved in the process and decisions. It felt like Karin worked “with us” rather than “for us”.
  2. Pushing Boundaries – Because of Karin, we went outside of our comfort zone on a number of decisions and we are so happy she pushed us. An expert opinion will make you see so much more.
  3. Mediator – Yes, it’s true – having a third party to help mediate decisions that we didn’t agree upon helped out immensely.

After all was said and done, our place fits perfectly within Karin’s portfolio and Instagram feed, which means our choice was correct. Her style matched what we wanted our style to be. This is the best advice we can give – the designer you choose should have the taste and aesthetic you aspire to have. You’ll be sure to find your perfect match if you follow this strategy. Are interior designers worth it? Absolutely!

Our Top Condo Renovation Tips: Get the top 10! 

Hiring Contractors for Your Condo Renovation

A very similar process was followed when we looked for a contractor team. The process was a little different as we got three great referrals and received quotes from all of them all. It’s good to note that we had a base action plan from our conversations with Karin, so we were able to give a good scope of work to the contractors for an initial quote.

The contractor quotes are still the part of this process that blew our minds the most. We received three quotes, and none of them were even in the same ballpark. It takes a lot of time to review quotes line-by-line to compare numbers, but it’s well worth it in the end. Trust.

We made the decision to work with Red Mailbox – a contracting team of two identical twin brothers – JP and Paul Sales, who really impressed us with their honesty. They were not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. What we loved about them the most was they were “on the tools”, which is contractor talk meaning they actually did most of the work themselves.

They were not the traditional contractor who typically oversees and organizes – JP and Paul were on-site each day, doing the work. They were personally invested in the project and it showed throughout the renovation and in their care for the end result.

With our team in place, we were ready to move into the next phase of our condo renovation process!

Part 3: Designing Your Condo – Kitchen Renovation and Picking Furniture

If you’re interested in learning more about the condo renovation process, stay tuned for more about our adventure over the coming weeks!