Frequently Asked Interior Design Questions
(that perhaps you were afraid to ask)
What type of projects do you do?
The sky’s the limit! Just as no two human beings are alike, hardly any of our projects are exactly the same, but frequent residential projects revolve around:
- Family room makeovers
- Music room/ Living room redesigns
- Bedroom makeovers
- Bathroom updates
- Dining room updates
- Basement renovations
- Home office updates
We also offer commercial interior design services for places of worship, restaurants, retail stores, and office spaces.
What is your style?
That’s the fun of being an interior designer- we have no one particular style! Designers use design principles to acheive good style, no matter what the genre is: Arts and Crafts, Transitional, English Country, Eclectic, Contemporary- we’ve done it all. But principles of scale, color, balance, repetition, symmetry- this is what we think about; adherence to good design principles; these don’t change. The key is to figure what your personal style is, for us to enhance and build upon it, and turn it into a well-crafted and well thought out design.
Can you manage our entire project?
Yes, and we strive to clarify the scope and distribution of tasks of the project at the initial interview. We can handle all the details from large remodeling projects down to less intensive room makeovers using our preferred contractors, painters, delivery teams, and installers. Some of our clients however, prefer to use their own contractors and we’re generally fine with that, provided you have sources that you know and trust.
How long will our project take?
Oh these tough questions! We have to answer this one on a case by case basis depending on how many moving parts are involved, but in general:
- Furniture takes 3-12 weeks from time of placing your order to delivery (depending on if it’s a stock piece or custom)
- Lighting takes 2-4 weeks (if in stock)
- Flooring, rugs and carpeting takes 2-5 weeks if in stock
We will always tell you upfront how long for our installers to complete the scope of your work, but can not be responsible for timetables if your using your own contractors.
Is there a contract?
Yes, but ours is simply called a Letter of Agreement, and it just outlines how your project is to be accomplished and executed ( really, not as scary as one of those cell phone contracts!)
Mainly, it’s designed to be as clear as punch at the outset as to what, where, when and how things ought to get done, and what the appropriate recourse is for each.
We also require a retainer to begin work for all of our projects, which is always applied to the total hourly fees of the project.
It also makes it clear what we’re supposed to be working on, for how long, and how much we charge for it. Simple, and yes, necessary for both you and us.
How are purchases handled?
For our full-service interior projects, in most cases it’s easier and more cost effective for us to procure merchandise, as we buy products at the wholesale level, and can almost always offer discounts off retail pricing. With many years experience purchasing from a multitude of sources, we have learned though experience how items are built, their warranties, and reputable companies that have a commitment to service and ethical standards.
If you prefer to purchase items on your own at retail or online sources, we respect that, but cannot offer guarantees, warranties, nor service.
Are you expensive?
At the outset of every project, we are frank about what you can expect at different price points and give realistic expectations of ranges about what items cost.( If you haven’t purchased furniture in 20 years, it can be a bit jarring to see what quality furnishings costs today! )
With 15 years experience in the design world, we still work hard to know the best products available at different price levels, and keep that information at our fingertips. We generally don’t recommend what we call “disposable” furniture- like stuff that’s put together with an allen wrench or wood glue. The best advice we can give is this: there are component parts to skimp on and splurge on in every project. We pride ourselves on learning what items you value most and plan accordingly.
Do you provide installation?
Absolutely- painters, installers, delivery people and contractors that we know and trust, that we’ve seen the quality of their work AND work ethic, and that we can interface with smoothly and clearly.
If you would prefer to use your own contractors, or install yourself, we can have that conversation too.
Why you instead of an in-store decorator?
Walk into any design or furniture store and you get inundated with the cries of “free design help” these days. They know that you’ll commit to a much larger purchase from their one store if you sign up for this “free” service.
We’ve found that putting your eggs “all in one basket” is usually not the best or most cost-effective way to update your home’s look. Maybe you could refinish an existing china cabinet rather than buying a new one. If you have a great old american sofa and the fabric’s simply dated and/or worn out, why not recover it and reuse it? We love reusing and repurposing existing items and think that adds a lot to a home’s overall feel and story. And bonus: your home won’t look like a furniture catalog!
Our end goal is to create a productive long term relationship with you over the years, not just to sell you a lot of things you may not need.
Can you provide references?
Absolutely. We encourage you to also read our testimonials section, look through our reviews on Facebook, Houzz, or Yelp– we’re proud of what people say about us! If you’d like to contact our clients directly, please send us a message, and we’ll get their permission for you to contact them.
What Do You Not Do?
Disrespect your budget.
There’s nothing worse than an arrogant designer telling you a $2000 end table is your only option. We’ve learned everyone places value on different items in their home: art, upholstery, rugs, lighting, etc. There’s always splurge items and save items. The bottom line is your overall budget.
Overpromise and under deliver.
We will be honest about what you’re purchasing and its quality level. We won’t tell you a $499 machine made rug is just as good as a hand-knotted rug that takes 6 months to make. Internet purchasing is difficult because photographs don’t tell you how well a piece is made, only how well the photographer shot it. We also give you an accurate timetable of when to expect your new room to come together.
Judge what your house looks like and make you get rid of everything.
It’s way more interesting to us to work with existing pieces that have meaning to our clients. What we’re in your home to do is create a pleasing space that you love coming home to.
Force you to accept a design you don’t like.
We love to know what you don’t like. It becomes a fabulous puzzle for us to decode. We won’t stop until you’re delighted with the end result. We never want you to settle!
Cut into your construction budget.
There are a dizzying array of choices these days for every object in your home. After doing this for 15 years, we know where to look for good values and vendors we can trust. This actually comes out saving our clients money.
Only take on large projects.
Some of our projects involve remodeling, moving walls, replacing floors. Others involve getting a few pieces here and there over time. We like the challenge of both large and small projects equally.
Agree with your every choice.
Interior design should be a collaborative process, and we are never “yes men” unless we know it’s right. We will tell you if the scale of your furniture is wrong for the proportions of the room, or when a fabric mix just doesn’t work.
Charge retail showroom prices.
When we take our clients to trade-only stores, we see many heads exploding over the retail price tags. Gone are the days of the snooty designer who charges “list.” We know how much items sell for on the Internet and always do our best to be as competitive as possible, discounting off retail prices.