On the average, few times in a month friends or friends of the friends address to me with a request: ”I’ve bought the site or a house or an apartment, please, recommend me a good architect”. The one who once made a renovation knows that it is a stress. He also knows how much forces, money and nerves it takes away. I’ve worked with private customers for many years and I will try to give the short instruction how it is better to approach this question.
What to Begin with? Decide on your desires and opportunities. On a vernacular it is called design specification. Esthetics: Look through magazines on architecture and design and mark all details of an interior which you like or don’t like. All people (wife / mother-in-law/sponsor) making the decision have to take part in discussion. Architects don't understand the word: ”I want modern classics with a highlight”. Show them the pleasant door handle, and they will design all house in such style.
Functionality: Make the list of all necessary rooms, equipment, home decorations and things which will move to future interior. Write structure of your family, some peculiarities, any your wishes. Don't hesitate. Once I received the detailed list of a sports equipment of owners with dimensions in mm and the weight with an accuracy of a gram (customers were inveterate downhill skiers and chemists by training).
Finance and terms: think how much money you are ready to spend and what terms you count on . If you give vent to the architect/designer he will spend all your money. He will do it not on purpose but wishing to do the best interior. But don’t be too greedy. It is important to distribute the budget reasonably so that each spent dollar could bring you comfort and pleasure.