The Benefits of Hiring an Architecturally Trained Virtual Design Assistant & Rendering Artist

The ultimate goal of the to create a paradise. Every house, every product of architecture... should be a fruit of our endeavour to build an earthly paradise for people.
— Alvar Aalto, Architect

Recently, the market for Virtual Design Assistants (VDA) and Rendering Artists has become more available than ever before. As the world of design is becoming a close knit community, via social media and collaborative dashboards like and MyDoma, it can be difficult to weed through all the professional resources. Instagram feeds, Facebook groups, and Google search results all add that extra layer of stress when looking for right the team member. 

So, with all these opportunities, testimonials, and connections how do you know you’re making the right choice? Well, it’s really no different that how you’d screen an interviewee, the only difference is this is someone who may be providing the quality control your in-person assistant may not be qualified to carry out. Hiring a the appropriately qualified VDA or Rendering Artist not only frees up your time to design and coordinate your other team members, they can also provide you similar oversight a senior designer would. The primary difference being they aren’t working under your company umbrella and can provide a fresh set of eyes. 

I work with Interior Designers as both a VDA and Rendering Artist. In some cases, however, I’m also a professional design consultant with detailed knowledge of construction, architectural practices and design, code review, and construction documentation with similar knowledge to Architect (I am not licensed, but currently working toward finishing my exams). On many rendering or design occasions I’ve been able to catch details in the project that weren’t caught by the designer and/or Architect/Draftsman. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve been working on my own design projects and staring at them day in and day out, all I want to do is be able to hand it over to someone with the right experience to double check it for me. And, thats where the perks of an architecturally trained Renderer comes in. Using Chief Architect as my BIM software, I model in the existing CAD drawings/design. This process alone has helped me clarify flaws in the drawing sets, catch mis-marked dimensions, strange ceilings (many times unanticipated by the client), and even simple things like door widths and swings.

For example, I had a client send me all her existing condition dimensions and sketches, along with her photographs and design inspiration photos for five different design schemes for a fireplace remodel. The design was centered around using the existing fireplace insert (which was flush to the wall) by incorporating a more eye catching surround between the added bookcases or shelves. After reviewing the details of each option, I emailed my client to let her know that two out of her five schemes wouldn’t meet code, because they would be a fire hazard. This was because the framed out front with paneling and flammable materials wouldn’t have met the appropriate clearances from the box to mantle without severely sacrificing the design. She decided to nix those options before I even spent the time modeling it for her. This little oversight I provided helped her save money and not just for my time. Imagine if those designs had been approved, the materials ordered, with the contractor on site only to realize the clearances wouldn’t work. Cha-Ching, there’s a change order and rush design from the VDA or architect, all with your clients’ current living room collecting dust and driving them crazy! 

This can also apply to exterior design. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to consult with a couple Interior Designers working on the plans of their own dream homes and having a hard time communicating their desired style and characteristics to the architect or draftsman, who work in a 2D CAD software. Knowing my background in architecture, I was hired to model their current plans and elevations to help them finalize the design and exterior colors. In both cases, I was able to maintain the same footprint, while either using the already ordered trusses for minimal structural changes or help my designer realize what was bothering her about her house from the start. Once the exterior was nailed down and the designs updated by their architects, I’ve been working with the designers to detail and specify their interior packages, bringing the already established architectural characteristics inside. I’ll be honest, I LOVE projects like those. It’s really fun watching their homes go up and seeing their Instagram stories as their excitement builds and their personal dreams come to fruition. What is one of your favorite things about your job?

Anyways, as I’ve previously noted, my combined 8 years of professional architectural and construction related experience has allowed me to not only assist with the design process, but also help Interior Designers sell more projects and raise their prices by providing beautiful renderings. My expertise ensures my clients that they have an additional set of eyes and the quality control you’d expect from a luxury service provider. So next time you’re in the market for a VDA or Rendering artist, don’t be afraid to ask for their credentials, including samples of their work. They’re an investment that can have a lasting impact on your company! 

To reiterate the importance of asking for experience and sources, you can check out my most recent resume attached to this blog. 

I don’t have expertise in construction drawings and Kelly has this expertise , coupled with interior design.
It was a perfect match as she understood what I was looking for and had the capability to adjust our drawings and render them so we could view. She knew exactly how to make the changes without costing us additional fees.
I am firm believer in focusing on what you do best and hiring out services you need to experts in that field. It was a pleasure working with Kelly.

I would absolutely recommend Kelly and her services. She was professional and quick to respond when items were time sensitive.”
— Pamela Godwin, Pamela Lynn Interiors

The project showing the exterior above was developed for Pamela Godwin of Pamela Lynn Interiors. Check out her Instagram for active updates and stories as her house is completing construction!