Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Design Consults program?
Design Consults is a program of the Design Center (formerly the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh). Since 1996 we have been matching property owners in the Pittsburgh region with design professionals who provide affordable renovation consultations. For a small fee, a design professional will spend up to two hours at a home, small business or non-profit to discuss renovation plans. They will help property owners understand the feasibility of a project, discuss renovation options, and describe the next steps that are needed to get a project underway. At the end of the consultation the designer prepares an Action Plan, which outlines the issues addressed during the consultation. In this way the Action Plan serves as a ‘renovation roadmap’. This one- to two-page document outlines renovation options and recommendations, and enables the property owner to make well-informed design decisions.
NOTE: No drawings are produced as a result of a consultation.
How much does it cost?
Applicants will be asked to choose an amount between $25-$250 to contribute for the valuable services they will receive. The Design Center aims to make the program accessible to all, but accepts this range of payment as a means of maintaining the program.
What are the advantages of having a Design Consult?
Taking the time to plan a renovation will likely save time and money in the long-term. Consulting with an architect early in the process can help property owners avoid costly mistakes, even if an architect is not needed for the renovation. A one-on-one, on-site consultation with a professional designer enables you to consider all your renovation options and make a well-informed investment in your property. The design consultant helps identify the best course for a renovation based on your needs and priorities. This investment has the potential to increase the value of your home through sound design choices.
How do I sign up?
Contact Cate Rassman at (412)391-4144 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss your project and sign up for a consultation.
Where is the Design Consults service area?
The Design Consults program is available to all City of Pittsburgh property and small business owners, as well as property owners within a 20-mile radius of Pittsburgh city limits. Because our consultants volunteer their time, we must limit the distance they are asked to travel.
What if I am outside of the service area?
Please contact Cate Rassman (email@example.com) regarding your interest in a Design Consult. We may be expanding to your area soon, depending on demand.
How long will I have to wait?
Facilitating a match between your project and a design consultant could occur as soon as two days, or at most three weeks. The range is often determined by the type of project and the availability of interested consultants.
What else do I get if I sign up?
You will receive a Resource Guide that contains general home renovation information, as well as contact information for additional resources and service providers (such as contractors and local design services) who can help put renovation plans into action.
Who are the Consultants?
Design consultants are professional architects, intern architects, interior designers, and landscape architects in the Pittsburgh region. All design consultants hold a degree in their respective field. Our network currently includes 100 volunteer designers. Each consultant must attend an orientation session to become acquainted with the process and priorities of the Design Consults program.
I want to hire an architect or landscape architect. What should I do next?
If you complete a Design Consult, the designer may be able to enter into a contract with you to provide additional services, though this is not guaranteed.
If you choose not to pursue additional design services with the consultant with whom you were matched, or if that consultant is not able to provide services, you can find other design professionals by contacting the following organizations:
The Pittsburgh chapter of the American Institute of Architects: http://aiapgh.org/
The Pennsylvania/Delaware chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects: http://www.landscapearchitects.org/.
The American Society of Interior Designers: http://www.asid.org/