After more than 30 years of award-winning practice, I’m still taken aback at the number of times I’m called in to "fix" a project for a client. The biggest complaint? The house doesn't feel like me. It's not what I really wanted. The designer didn't listen. It looks like everyone else’s home, not mine.
The second largest complaint was billing; What can I expect from next month's billing? Why am I paying both the designer and architect?
In your search for a designer, you may have learned about someone's background in terms of years of experience, education and professional affiliations. You may even have received a referral. But what really matters in terms of the job they'll do for you? To avoid making a mistake in hiring the wrong person, here are three questions you should ask before you hire your interior designer:
1. Why are you a designer?
If the response doesn't include making you, the client, extraordinarily happy, you may be in for a surprise. Do they also find real joy in creating unique expressions of their clients, or are they more interested in the latest trend? Be sure you feel confident the designer is looking out for your best interests and is your advocate.
2. What is your experience and accreditation?
Ask about the designer's education, training, experience and professional affiliations. They should think creatively and understand how their clients might think, not only skills to draw on a computer and make beautiful presentations. An interior designer is one who can reflect your spirit and your dreams in the design, and who can articulate the story of who you are and what you love.
Look for a well-established company that has been in business for at least 10 years and an accreditation through the American Society of Interior Designers.
What will experience do for you?
• Greater ability to visualize a result.
• Long-term relationships with showrooms, vendors, artisans, contractors, architects and tradespeople can result in better quality, service and pricing.
• Their work has been recognized through awards and/or publications, providing you comfort in knowing you won't be making an expensive or embarrassing mistake.
3. How do you communicate with your clients?
Designing your home is personal. Feeling a comfortable rapport, believing you are being heard and understood is paramount. Is the designer a good communicator? Does he or she understand your needs, wants, goals and budget? Will the designer be available to you, or will you be shuffled off to someone else in the office? With all the available communication tools, from email to Skype, there's simply no reason for honest communication to fail.
For the full-length article, including additional questions for an in-depth understanding of what the designer can do for you, click here.
Stacey Lapuk, ASID is celebrating her 30th year with her firm. Named "One of America's Ten Designers to Watch" by Design Times magazine, one of the "Top 100 Interior Designer in North America" by Blink Art Resource, and the winner of multiple national design awards.
Stacey's goal is simple: To co-create with her clients the home of their dreams with responsive and comprehensive solutions, and timeless, beautiful results.