ABOUT MY INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICES
There is a lot of confusion concerning the process in which Interior Designers work; and for good reason. Interior Designers work in many different ways. Following are answers to frequently asked questions which will help clarify my approach to serving my client’s needs. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions not addressed here and I will be happy to discuss as well as add to the list.
- Why do you charge for an initial consultation? I have found through the years that a complimentary meet and greet does not necessarily determine if a client and designer will be a good fit. Once I am in your home, it is difficult to draw a box around our conversation and not answer specific questions you have about your design dilemmas. My design business is service based, thus I do not give ideas out for free nor do I give bids for jobs that entail doing design work for free in order to do so. Likewise, it is not always clear from a superficial conversation of a complimentary consultation if we will be a good fit through the design process. I have found it much more effective to start our relationship with a meeting which offers you real value and insight to your project. In some cases this initial meeting may solve your design issue at hand or it may serve as the preliminary groundwork or springboard for a much larger project. You will experience firsthand my design process and receive something of true value. Guaranteed.
- How do I know I will receive something of value on the initial consultation? To prepare for your initial consultation, I do offer a complimentary 30 minute phone consultation to discuss your particular needs and what each of us can do prior to the meeting to make it the most productive. You are welcome to email me photos of your project prior to this phone consultation . This may help determine if I would be a good fit for your project and/or if your project expectations within your allotted budget are within reach. To make your 30 minute complimentary consultation more value packed, I have a preliminary questionnaire for you to fill out which will save time and get some basic information out of the way. Although there may be some questions that may not seem to apply to your particular project, I encourage you to fill it out as fully as possible. All questions will assist me in understanding your unique energy and style which will ultimately help direct me towards how I might best help you solve your design dilemmas and achieve your goals.
- Why is the cost of an initial consultation the same price for everything? What if I just need a window treatment for my living room? My initial consultations are based on the minimum value of what I deliver rather than the amount of hours I am in your home. In most situations, I will be in a home for 2 to 3 hours for an initial consultation and there will be some preparation and/or follow up work involved. This is usually the case for a color consultation as well as the first meet up on a new construction or renovation project. In the case of custom window treatments for a single area, I am not in the home long the first meeting to measure but spend more time in putting together the elements, pricing and presentation for a second meeting. So the design fee for custom window treatments for one area would be the cost of the consult. If you are doing a whole house, I will give you an additional flat fee based on the number of windows. Additionally, I do offer a discount on the finished window treatments if you choose to purchase from me. Custom window treatments are a primary product I sell direct and are priced competively in the market.
- Where do I get the furnishings you specify? I partner with many of the local furniture stores and use online resources as well. In some cases, I may receive a small commission from local stores or affiliate links online. These commissions are very small and are not considered compensation for the many hours spent on the design of your project. All furniture contracts and purchasing are made between you and the chosen vendor. However, I do prepare and manage purchases for my clients as a service and act as their representative through the delivery process. This will save you time and ensure everything we have chosen is properly ordered. Clients who work with me on their purchasing discover a definite return in extra service that goes beyond the expected. However, I do work with clients who choose to do their own purchasing as well.
- To what degree are you involved in remodeling work? I provide conceptual designs for kitchen and bath redesign as well as color and material specifications. I am not a cabinet specialist or a specialized kitchen designer. I am an interior designer highly specialized in spatial design as well as color and material specifications for all areas of the home, including kitchen and bath. I work closely with my clients to ensure that designs are uniquely suited to their wishes and needs and integrated into the overall design of their home. I provide conceptual plans that can be taken to cabinet shops and/or contractors to receive accurate bids for a project rather than relying on a guesstimate based on misleading allowances or generic designs. I can recommend contractors who may be suited for your project or you may receive bids from contractors of your own choosing. I do not contract jobs directly but am available for inspections and/or consultation throughout the project to ensure proper interpretation of the project. It is not unusual for a remodel project to run into an unanticipated snag that requires design solutions and team work of all parties involved.
- What is your hourly fee? My hourly fee is $150 and is based on the many hours of education, experience and research done in order to offer you the most amount of value for your design project. In some cases, my flat fees for a design package may be discounted on certain tasks and require prepayment prior to each phase of the project outline.
- Are your fees negotiable? No, though we can modify your scope of work or phase projects. There are many hours spent behind the scenes for the benefit of your project which sometimes does not fall in the category of billable time. It is necessary to include a reasonable profit in my fees so I can provide the best possible client experience.
- What are your normal business hours? My normal business hours are Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm. Onsite consultations are typically scheduled Monday and Wednesday at 10:00 am or Tuesday and Thursday either at 10:00 am or 2:00 pm. However, I will try to accommodate if there is a more convenient time for you. Available hours for scheduled phone and virtual consultations which do not exceed 30 minutes are more flexible to suit your individual needs.
- Do you meet in the evenings and weekends? On rare exceptions I can schedule meetings outside of normal business hours. My hourly rate is $150 if we meet outside of my typical business hours. This rate is in addition to any design package flat fee rate that may have been previously agreed to for your design project.
- Can we purchase our own products? Absolutely. In recent years, I have transitioned my business to be primarily service based. As an independent designer, I found it difficult to maintain national brand furniture accounts which are competitive with public offerings. Thus, I partner with local and/or online suppliers to guarantee you best pricing. Although you are free to do purchasing on your own, I appreciate the opportunity to represent you in your purchasing to ensure everything is ordered and delivered correctly and troubleshoot any issues that may arise. In some cases, I may receive a small commission from the store that you purchased from. This is not considered compensation for the many hours I spend designing your project but will bring extra benefits to the completion of your project. If you wish for me to manage purchases from non-partner sources, there will be an additional management fee for services performed.
- What products do you sell direct? The primary product I sell direct are custom window treatments and my original art which I can offer to you at a competitive rate. Also, I offer certain designer products that are not readily available to the public or that have been custom designed for certain needs.
- What is the best way to communicate with you? You are welcome to call my cell phone as stated on this site. However, unless it is a pre-scheduled phone conference, I am often unable to answer personally at that moment. I may be in the middle of a meeting, on the road or deeply focused on an art or design project. I prefer email communications for non-urgent matters or communications with detailed information. Text is better for brief and/or urgent communications from client’s with ongoing projects. For projects that have been assigned a private link for a designer portal, I require all communications to go through that channel.
- How do I know if your virtual design packages are right for me? My virtual design packages, aka e-design or e-decorating, are designed as a starting point for my most requested services. However they can be customized to fit your individual needs. They are intended for people who want some professional guidance but wish to implement the design on their own time. Delivering design concepts virtually is a cost effective way to offer interior design services to all. However, if you are local and want more on-site assistance, there is an option for that too!
- How does the virtual package on-site option work? If you are a local resident interested in a virtual package but uncomfortable in performing some of the tasks to get started, I will assist you on site for an additional hourly fee of $75. This is a discounted fee that applies only to measuring your space, taking photos, making an inventory list and reviewing your needs as well as presentation of your final design in person rather than virtually. It does not apply to procurement or management of your project. Any other services requested not covered in the virtual design package you have purchased will be billed at my standard hourly rate of $150.00.
- How can you guarantee the colors you pick for me on a virtual design package will look good in my home? I have many years of experience selecting colors which have given me an understanding of the nuances of color in various lights and environments, achieving harmony in color combinations as well as the physical and emotional effects of color. It is not difficult to determine the general color temperature and undertone in your home elements to narrow down selections, even from photos and/or skype consultations. However, it is important that you communicate to me the accuracy of the photos you send as well as other info requested. In some cases, I may suggest you do two samples of test colors for us to determine the final selection. This can sometimes happen even with an onsite consultation. I always recommend you do a test sample for any suggested colors before painting the whole room.
- What drawing program do you use for your presentations? I use the Minutes Matter Studio program which is well suited for most Interior Designer needs. Although basic 2D perspectives are possible, it does not have capability of 3D drawings. If desired, I have trusted outsources who can provide more detailed 3D drawings as well as hand rendered rooms of your project which are truly art that can be framed for your walls. Pricing starts at $550 up depending on the scope of your project.
- Do you ever paint a piece of art to go with the interior you have helped me design? Yes! Although I typically do not encourage commission work, I am often inspired by the interiors I design to paint a certain work of art. If one of these inspired pieces speak to you, I will be happy for you to buy! I find I do my best work when I am not constrained by any expectations. Because of this I have a no pre-commitment monies required if I should choose to do a requested painting for a client. That may change in the future, but that’s my story for now.