Sunday, May 23, 2021

Choosing a Design Professional


We've had an abnormal spring with late freezes and flooding in various parts of the country. Down here in Houston, it's way odd to have a freeze, but one in late February? Here in my house, we sat for four days without heat or power. Then the pipes burst, and we had to carry water from the neighbors to flush toilets. A nightmare.

This traumatic event caused many of us to renovate, replenish, and fix up a mess. When driving the neighborhood, we saw old sheetrock and soaked, moldy carpet at many curbs.

Finding someone to help in a hurry was impossible. Those broken pipes made a major mess, and even months later, people are in line waiting for helpers.  New construction and design wannabes are jumping into the fray to help, but finding a professional who knows the industry can be a daunting experience.

 I decided to give a bit of advice from my days when I worked as a designer, and I hope it helps someone. I'm listing a few things to think about.

Consider: budget, style, experience, personality, and fees.

 BUDGET. Convey to your designer/decorator/contractor your budget. Setting a financial plan prevents heartaches and quarrels later. Some interior designers/contractors present furniture, accessories, and ideas that are too costly. This can be embarrassing to you and time consuming for the designer.

 EXPERIENCE. How long has the professional been in the design field? Does he or she have access to manufacturers, retailers, and contractors? Does a portfolio exist? Can he or she give references?

 PERSONALITY. Is the professional willing to work with your temperament? Does the designer understand the needs you pose? Is he or she critical of your existing surroundings? Does he or she make you feel inadequate? You should always feel comfortable with your designer.

 STYLE.  Is the designer up-to-date with a variety of styles?  If you prefer Art Nouveau, ask if the designer knows that motif.  If the professional doesn’t like that style, or doesn’t seem to know enough about it, ask him or her to recommend another designer. Most designers can do this. If they can’t, why can’t they? People in the business should know each other. If you don’t know your style, is the designer willing to help you find one?  

 FEES. Ask the designer how much the rate is. When and how is it to be paid? Some designers/contractors “double dip,” that is to say they charge a fee on top of commissions they receive from vendors. Others choose an hourly rate, while some markup acquisitions they buy for you. Make sure you understand the costs. Is there a retainer required for the professional’s services? Approve a contract, and include fees in the budgeting process.

 Working with a professional is a rewarding experience. It saves money, time, and relieves a client of distasteful choices. The designer can accommodate your style, bring harmony and beauty to your home while staying well within your budget.

Blessings to all who need their home and lives restored!  Now here's a bit about me.

Sarah: Laney's Angel, is a book I wrote shortly after I retired as a full time designer. 

Many of the experiences in the book came from my days as I worked with a builder and clients. In the first chapter, Laney is alone in a house when an unwanted vagrant enters. She is saved by an angel. 

I experienced a similar incident. I didn't see an angel, but I know one had to be there.  Since I'm hard to manage, the angel probably had several around to help with the situation!

Sarah: Laney's Angel, available in print, eBook or audio


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