Photo by Milivoj Kuhar on Unsplash

By Tiffany Edison

Perhaps there’s a line in the sand delineating your domain of expertise; it separates you from those areas where it’s best to leave it to the experts in your community.  

As a resident of Ann Arbor, I feel very fortunate knowing the high level of talent of my neighbors, friends, and local hospital workers. The lengths to which these individuals are willing to go to help those in need is inspiring. Ann Arbor is a unique microcosm of talent and an epicenter of knowledge just waiting to be explored. Don’t believe me? Just drop into a local lecture on campus and see for yourself (after social distancing orders are lifted, of course!).

There are times when we all must check our egos at the door and forgo the DIY mentality that seems so prevalent this day and age. Not surprisingly, I find this particularly true in the case of our most personal treasured possession: our home. Letting go and asking for assistance can be scary, but at the same time extremely liberating! I refer to this as “getting out of your own way.” 

I believe that homeowners are the kings or queens of their own castle; however, guidance is often needed to accomplish their vision. That said, let’s consider a few scenarios where hiring an expert might be key to achieving an amazing outcome for a home endeavor you might be considering in the near future.

Remodeling & Additions

Remodeling is a tricky one; I often refer to it as a ball of yarn. You start in one area, but before you know it you’re following the yarn in another direction. One thing seems to lead to another. All of a sudden, there are all kinds of variables that you hadn’t considered staring you in the face — and to make matters worse, they often come with big dollar signs!   

So, how does one walk the line of undertaking a project and not getting in over their heads? Simply put, by bringing in two to three local contractors to give you estimates — not only for how much money, but how much time might also be involved in said project. 

While you’re at it, you might also enlist the help of an interior designer (surprise!) to assist in the details related to the home’s overall flow, and to harmonize both the old and new details. After all, Ann Arbor neighborhoods are as eclectic as they come! It’s not uncommon to find a mid-century modern home nestled next to a colonial masterpiece. Considering the location and period of the home are both important details when considering the renovation process.  

Lastly, I wouldn’t hesitate to bring in a respected realtor in the community to help guide you in what’s typically expected in other homes in your current neighborhood, as well as the overall budget (that can hopefully be reclaimed if and when you ever decide to sell the property).  

Landscape Experts & Arborists

Given that we live in a community that takes great pride in the amount of trees and parks dispersed throughout the city, it would be a shame not to consider arborists and landscape experts when contemplating an extensive update to the exterior of your home or landscape needs. I have found my landscape architect to be a wonderful resource, especially for knowing what and where each species of tree or flora is to be planted for maximum beauty on the outside of a home. The style of your home should be considered here too, especially if any hardscape such as brick retaining walls, walkways, planting beds, or outdoor kitchens are slated for the project.

I was unfamiliar with what an arborist was until I relocated to the city six years ago, but found out rather quickly once I spoke to my neighbors! There’s an innate sense of pride locals take in knowing the history of many of the great oak trees in the community; most are tagged with their age, in fact. But an arborist is key to keeping all things arboreal maintained within the community — and safe, as many large branches encroach on power lines and hang over major roads within the city proper. There’s something special about maintaining the health of the trees in our neighborhoods for years and decades to come; something about knowing that your grandchildren or great-grandchildren could also know these trees just tickles the heart.

Interior Design

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the importance of hiring a good interior designer when considering making a change of any significance to your home. This can come in many forms — space planning, organization, and right down to showcasing your personality! A good designer will bring out the best of you, not their own agenda. This can be a vulnerable relationship, as many have shared with me their trepidations about feeling “judged;” but I assure you, that’s where a mutual meeting of the minds is key. Schedule a meeting at a local coffee shop and feel out the “fit” that you and your potential designer might experience. Trust me, it will be well worth it.



Tiffany Edison has been an interior designer since 2002 and specializes in both
residential and commercial projects.  She holds a Master of Social Work degree
(ACSW) and utilizes interpersonal relationship skills on a daily basis with her client
base, largely comprised of Ann Arbor, and Metro Detroit residents.  She has a
wonderfully large blended family residing in the city and enjoys the comforts of home.
When she’s not fully immersed in client projects, you can find her active on the golf
course, a favorite pastime.

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