We were thrilled to contribute to Jacksonville Magazine in their latest article on how to make the most of hiring an interior designer.Designing your home can seem daunting without enlisting qualified professionals to do the crucial decision making. Interior designers are hired to help breathe new life into their clients’ personal spaces, whether it’s revamping their current abode or designing a new home from scratch. But how can a client be certain that they’re getting the most out of their investment?
CommunicateAs with any successful relationship, good communication between the client and designer is key to embarking on a home project. “It’s a very personal relationship,” says Christy McCarthy, founder and designer at Interiors Revitalized. “Typically, it’s a big investment to remodel a home, so you want to make sure that you’re doing it the way you want.” Clients can ensure that a plan goes as scheduled by putting every request in writing. “Write down notes when you’re interviewing and make sure that the designer that you’re looking at fits your needs,” McCarthy says. “There are a lot of different designers and a lot of different ways to work it.” During the interviewing process, experts recommend asking about a designer’s background, education, experience and their preferred methods of managing a project. When a designer is chosen, keeping a written record of all communications, including email, can help to keep everyone on the same page, McCarthy adds.
Plan in AdvanceIt’s not uncommon for clients on the hunt for design assistance to assume that a designer will be available immediately when asked. “Sometimes people will call us for a fabulous project that they have to start on Friday,” says Amanda Webster, design principal and president of Jacksonville Beach-based Amanda Webster Design. Webster’s team can be dedicated to a client for many months, depending on the project’s scope. “We’ve missed out on some really fantastic projects because people will wait until the last minute, so I’d tell [a potential client] to plan ahead,” she says. “If they’ve already bought their land, hired their architect and are picking out their general contractor, the designer should be getting involved.” Discussing a realistic timeframe with a design pro is also essential to a smooth process. This includes determining upfront what will and won’t be included in the project, Webster says. “A client will occasionally say, ‘I’m hiring you to do these three rooms,’ but you get halfway through, and they add another room, and another room,” she says.
Be Honest About BudgetInterior designers agree that a key factor that needs to be nailed down from the get-go is the client’s budget. “It’s the responsibility of the designer to keep that budget in mind, because there are all sorts of price points that you can go into, especially when you’re collecting materials and things like that,” says McCarthy. “It’s our job to know where it would fit in, and that’s where we’d partner up with a general contractor and say, ‘Okay, how much tile do we need?,’ to make sure that we keep in line with the budget.” It’s not ideal to get six meetings down the road with a client, only to discover that the designer is working with an unrealistic budget, according to Webster.
Designers vs. ContractorsGeneral contractors are in charge of doing what the job entails, while design involves pulling together the details, McCarthy says, and knowing the difference can make the design process easier. “Working with general contractors for as long as I have, I know that they’re not fans of having input on material selection,” she says. “Some homeowners will try to rely on the general contractor for those details, and they don’t want any part of it.”
Get What You WantEvery homeowner envisions a certain kind of living space, and working with the designer to bring that vision to life is critical to ensuring the client’s needs are met. “Some designers aren’t interested in any of the homeowner’s input; it’s more about their vision, whereas some are more flexible,” says McCarthy, who prefers to take into consideration the homeowner’s wants and needs. “It’s their home, and what I want to look at and what they want to look at might be two different things,” she says. Webster’s team takes special care to make sure their clients are happy throughout all project phases in order to avoid any surprises. “We’re extra careful, and 99 percent of the time, the client loves it.”
See full article here: http://www.jacksonvillemag.com/2018/06/26/interior-designer/