We operate from the premise that an informed, engaged client is a happy client. We know that you probably have questions about working with an Interior Designer, or if you’ve worked with another designer before, about how we work. Go ahead, just ask. But while you’re thinking, here are a few common questions and answers that cover the basics:
Is it really worth the money to hire an interior designer?
Obviously, we think so. But so do our clients. The thing to keep in mind is that hiring a designer is not unlike hiring any other professional practitioner. The investment you make in working with a seasoned designer will not only save you time but will also save you from making costly mistakes. When you hire a designer, you gain access to their network of resources that may not be available to you otherwise. You’ll also gain from the experience and technical knowledge of the design expert that you’ve wisely hired to assist you.
Why do I need an interior designer? Can’t I do this myself?
Legendary interior designer Billy Baldwin said “If you have marvelous taste and know exactly what you want, you don't need a decorator”. Add to that having a whole bunch of spare time on your hands and then sure, you can decorate your place yourself. Most people don’t fall into that category though, and the few who attempt to tackle it themselves usually don’t do it again. Let’s be honest, interior design isn’t rocket science. But it demands a whole lot of creativity, resourcefulness, focus and technical knowledge that comes with years of experience and education. Keep in mind that designing interiors is what we do all day long. If you’ve got other responsibilities, the time requirements may prove overwhelming. You could also prepare your own tax returns or perform your own dentistry, but we’re guessing that you think it’s worthwhile to let the professionals handle those things for you, as well.
Is my project too small to work with a designer?
We’re happy to take on projects of any size. However, you need to consider that design fees aren’t always scalable. The design process is a series of steps that are done in a particular order for a reason. On any design project, you will be asked to make many small decisions that will impact the final design. Granted, a smaller project will require less of these than if you were remodeling and furnishing your whole residence. Ultimately, only you can make the decision if you have room in your budget for design fees along with the other costs associated with decorating or remodeling a small space. If you’re not sure, just ask. We’ll give you an honest assessment, even if it means that we don’t get the assignment.
How long will this take?
It depends. When you hire a designer, you are hiring a creative professional to design and deliver a space customized to your specific desires and special requirements. This process takes time, but it is certainly not unending. Based on the scope of the work assigned, we can give you a pretty good idea of what you can expect the schedule of your project to be. However, a key variable in this equation is you. How clearly can you communicate what you want and need? How quickly to do you make decisions? How much education from the designer will you require? How available are you to review and approve elements of the design? We are always happy to provide whatever assistance you need to make this process work for you. Just keep in mind that if your process takes a while, there is a cost associated with that time.
What happens if I don’t like part of the design or something you’ve shown me?
The best thing you can do in this situation is to speak up right away! It’s okay, you won’t hurt our feelings. Unless we’ve worked with you before, we’re going to look to you for clues about your preferences and what you’ll respond to positively. As talented as we are, we aren’t mind readers. We need and value your input and collaboration. Your honest and open feedback will help to ensure that we understand your desires and will assist us in designing a space that is a reflection of you.
How much will this cost?
If you’ve never done this before and have no frame of reference, chances are it may be more than you think. But, don’t panic! We won’t force you to spend your child’s college fund on a sofa. A big part of our job is to help you set a realistic budget based on the goals you are trying to achieve and the resources you are willing to allocate. We’ve actually developed a tool that helps you be an educated decision-maker in this process. We will also tutor you on why things cost what they do, what factors drive price and we’ll help you to assess value. Most people hire designers because they want a unique space that includes quality furnishings. We’ll help you get there, with respect for your budget.
Do you offer hourly consultations?
Yep, we sure do. To best assess if an hourly consultation will align with your expectations, consider what results you’d like to achieve from our meeting. If you’re looking for advice about the feasibility of a potential project or would like to run your own ideas by an expert to see if you’re on the right track, then an hourly consultation is a great idea. However, if you’re looking for more specific design direction or recommendations for products and furnishings, you’ll be best served by engaging us to design your project. Just contact us to get more information and to make an appointment.
What’s the difference between a design fee and a mark-up?
A design fee is the cost of our time to design your space and bring it from concept to reality. This includes: learning about your needs and requirements; researching options; presenting recommendations; preparing design documents; coordinating orders and fabrications; and overseeing installations. The mark-up on furniture covers our liability for any item that we sell to a client for their project. If we sell it, then we’re responsible for ensuring that it’s what you ordered and that it arrives to your home in good condition.
Do I have to buy the furniture that you recommend from you?
No you don’t, but it’s a good idea to. Most people make the false assumption that if they assign the procurement duties to another party (including themselves) that they will achieve some measure of overall savings. In most cases, this doesn’t end up being the case. The biggest benefits in using the designer who recommended the piece to procure it for you are continuity and liability. If we select and recommend something, we know what we’re ordering and will make sure that what we designed and what you approved is what you get. If for some reason this doesn’t happen, we will take on finding a remedy for the situation. When you do your own purchasing or use a buying service, that liability becomes yours.
Will working with you be like those design shows on HGTV?
Uh, no. While it looks all fun and exciting to have a designer sweep into your life and do a lot of hand-waving that miraculously results in a brand new space in 96 hours, that’s not how it happens in the real world. Don’t worry, though. It will be fun and it will be exciting. It will also be carefully coordinated and professionally managed and we’ll speak to you using terms that you can actually understand