Home Interiors – Clients Guide No2 – That First Contact with an Interior Designer – What to Expect!

A floppy haired extrovert prancing around in some outlandish get-up, gesticulating wildly and being highly opinionated in a loud effeminate voice! Now let’s throw all those TV stereotypes of what an Interior Designer is like totally out the window, in all my years in the profession I have never come across any designer that remotely fits this bizarre image… although some may have got pretty close (only joking!). On the whole we are surprising normal.

I am now assuming you have done your research and tracked down some names of Interior Designers or have been given some recommendations by others as who you could contact. It’s now time to hit the phone and talk with someone about the project you have in mind. No need to have loads of numbers to call just two or three to start is more than enough. You should go straight to the top and ask for the Design Director or Owner of the practice.

Start with a very brief background about your property; size, age, location, condition etc, and then go on with what you are considering as a project and what the main priorities you wish to gain from it are i.e. more space, an extra room, up-grading and refurbishment of existing etc. Once you have passed on this general information sit back and wait for questions to be fired back to you. These again are going to be fairly general in nature just to get an overall feel for what you have in mind and also the time scale you are also thinking of working to.

A realistic time scale is an important issue for everyone here; you would not believe how many first inquires I get from people thinking that it will only take a matter of a few weeks to design and have built their new extension and kitchen! ” I need it for Christmas” but we are already into October and have not even made a start yet… it’s not going to happen with all the best will in world! It’s worth you talking to a Designer just to get an initial feel as to how long the process from beginning to end is likely to take for your individual project – it’s likely to be much longer than you think!

The subject of Project Budget may also come up in the conversation you have with the Designer, but to be frank this means very little at this stage. However, if asked by you the Designer is going to be pretty reserved above giving any kind of budget figures over the phone about a project he knows very little about. On the other hand if the question about budget is asked by the Designer to you he is just fishing and trying to establish if there is any miss match in expectations on your part. Most potential clients do not have any real idea of a budget for their project (and why should they), and those that do usually have totally underestimated the likely cost against their “wish list” of all that they want from it. We have to put this subject on the back burner for the present and come back to it at the appropriate stage of the project, and that will be after some Conceptual Planning & Design work has been carried out. Trying to put figures without some form of reference on paper can be just a complete waste of time and can just produces a logjam in allowing the project to progress.

What the Designer on the other end of the phone will be trying to evaluate from the conversation with you is; are they realistic in their expectations, is this a valid project, is this person a potential client or just a time waster! Sorry to be so blunt about it but what the Designer would like to offer you next is a free no obligation visit; if they think there is not the remotest chance of this project going ahead they will not make the offer. It’s not that you have to pass some kind of test to qualify but it all boils down to business at the end of the day and how much bread they cast on the water.

Positively moving on – the Designer suggest to you that they really need to visit the property and see it in the flesh and have a much more in-depth discussion with you about your needs and requirement. It will also give them the opportunity to show you some examples of their work and tell you about exactly how they will carry out a project such as yours. Once they have had this meeting the intention will be to confirm back to you their Scope of Work and Fee Proposal (it is extremely unlikely this will be committed to at this first meeting). This should be a total free of charge visit without any obligation to proceed further. If you get a good vibe about this Designer you are likely to say “Yes” and make an appointment for them to come around and met you at your home.

THE FIRST MEETING

This should be a fairly casual and relaxed affair. The Designer will want to sit down with you and tell you about all what they have done for other clients, show you some examples of work and generally demonstrate their talents and experience. It’s all done to put your mind at rest that this person knows what they are talking about, and if you feel this is the case then they have done their job so far. The conversation should now move on to “Your Project”, giving you the opportunity to expand fuller your thoughts, needs and requirements from the project you have in mind. Why I say “in mind” is that it may well be that your ideas could be turned completely up-side down once the Designer has accessed the overall situation, but let’s face it that’s why you are talking to a Designer – fresh ideas and a clean pair of eyes! There have been many times when I have visited clients that think they have a clear idea of what they want and how it is to be done and then I go and throw a curved ball into the conversation. It’s not to be controversial for the sake of it but to get them thinking in a new way about their project which ultimately leads on to a better end solution.

The Designer would have no doubt been given the guided tour of the house by you pointing out all the issues as you walk around. Don’t expect instant solutions to be given by the Designer while you are on your tour, they will be absorbing everything in at a fast pace of knots and making some mental assessments for themselves – this is information gathering! They may pitch-in with some teasers ideas but will keep most under wraps to be pulled out later (after they have been appointed). What they don’t want is you taking all there “free” ideas and then saying “Thank you very much and Good Bye” and never to be heard of again – it happens and Designer are very guarded about this situation. So don’t expect any free design work, but what they will give you is some good free advice.

They will then talk about how they would carry this project out for you, explaining all the various stages that need to be gone through; depending on the individual requirements these will be tailored to suite, but usually breakdown into these four main stages:-

1/ Concept Design & Planning

2/ Design Development

3/ Detailed Design & Specification

4/ Implementation.

The aim for the Designer is to produce for you a document (Fee Proposal) that outlines exactly what they will be doing in each of these stages and what the associated fee’s will be, also an indication of time scale. Hopefully from this you will be able to decide if you wish to proceed. This document is likely to be sent to you a few days following this first meeting.

In my next article I will be talking more in-depth about this Fee Proposal document and Design Fee’s in general; the different kinds of fee structures and how they are arrived at. So look out for the third article in this Home Interior Clients Guide series by Christopher R Page.

Office Interior Design Styles – How to Find Them

So are you looking for office interior design styles and ideas? You know how the style and design of your office highly affects your business and how you present yourself. So why not find the perfect interior design that gives you that professional edge?

It may have happened to you before. Sometimes when you walk into someone’s office – whether he is a doctor, therapist, or lawyer, you feel the style and design of it speaks to you.

Only based on the design of that person’s office, you may get the impression that he is a professional you can trust and respect. Or you may even lose the previous respect you used to have before walking in.

So as you can see, your office interior design has a major impact on your clients, and determines the success of your career to a high level.

So here you are going to discover how to find the perfect modern and elegant design for your office that you are looking for.

How to Find the Best Office Interior Design Ideas?

The good news is, it only takes you 3 short minutes to find a free collection of the best office styles and design ideas to choose from.

Simply do a simple search in Google or your other favorite search engines, and you will be amazed how many impressive photo galleries you will find showing you the most modern ideas and styles.

Whether your office is small or large, you can choose from these various creative designs and redecorate it easily.

Simply save and print out the best designs you like, and you can compare them carefully and choose the best colors, lighting, wallpapers, furniture, and everything else for your office.

How to Redecorate Your Office Design?

You can either do it yourself or ask one of your employees to help you with it. Another possible option is to hire a professional interior designer to do it for you.

Not only you can save time this way, but you can also rest assured the job will be done by a real professional who knows how to bring the best modern interior style to your office.

Reach Deep Inside For Interior Design Ideas

When considering interior design ideas it’s always better to brainstorm as much as possible and indeed to consult with seasoned experts to help you come up with a final plan. After all, not all of us are able to fully reach inside ourselves to convert our thoughts and ideas into actual plans. Certainly, we may have a vision in mind but does that really represent what would make us feel perfectly happy with the finished result? We certainly all lead very busy lives and often do not have enough time to devote to planning and brainstorming in general. We tend to go from crisis to crisis and only deal with issues which are right in front of us, at that moment in time. We know that we may have to focus on home design, as our existing property is badly in need of a renovation or rejuvenation, yet we frequently take the path of least resistance.

A good interior designer will often be able to help you to draw out those innermost feelings, thoughts and wishes and present you with a picture that truly reflects your personality and your vision. Interior designers are, after all, trained to explore various options and know that there is no such thing as a single “picture” for any particular space. It’s often good to sit down with a potential client and ask a wide variety of different questions. This will help to establish exactly what the client likes and dislikes and help the expert to develop all of this information into various proposals and ideas.

You can combine the fixtures, finishes, lighting and accessories in an innumerable number of combinations to come up with different and unique solutions. In fact, each and every one of us has a different perspective based on our life experiences, traditions, cultural upbringing, family values and so on. When you can unlock all of these databanks you will be able to put them all together and come up with some fantastic home ideas which truly do reflect the occupants of the property.

People sometimes worry that using the services of an interior designer to help them with a renovation project can be inordinately expensive. However, this doesn’t always have to be the case and just think how much of an overall value this could represent when you use the services of an expert who comes up with something that’s absolutely “spot on.”

As few of us have the depth and breadth of experience that a good interior designer may have, the chances are that we will not be able to look at a particular fixture, lighting accessory or colour palette and combine these elements into something that’s perfect for us. Designers are used to many “off-the-wall” ideas and are certainly used to thinking outside of that box that we hear about all the time. By exploring each and every option available to you, you will know that the solution that you finally come up with is truly representative of yourself and your mission.

Discover and Integrate Your Business Mission Statement With Your Interior Design Presentation

Here are a few keys that will be extremely vital to the success of your office, especially in regards to your interior design.

Number One: Proper Discovery This aspect is totally essential to making sure that things turn out as they should. A big part of this process is asking the right questions, in order to get the right answers that contribute to getting the right results. Think of this as if you were Sherlock Holmes.

Proper discovery also answers questions such as:

  1. Where am I right now and what current conditions do I need to deal with?
  2. Where do I want to go and what do I want to project to my clients and customers in terms of my visual interior design presentation?
  3. What kind of ambiance and feeling of the space do I want projected as well as perceived by my clients and customers?
  4. What kind of aesthetic and functional aspects do I need to incorporate in order to reinforce and support my staff and employees?

Number Two: The Mission Statement You want to take the information that’s been extracted from talking about your dreams and what you want (all the things that came from the discovery process), and put them in a paragraph or two that talks about what it is you want to accomplish. We’re talking about the look, the ambience, the feel, and the emotions that you want portrayed in your environment as well as to your clients and customers.

This step is in addition to the functional aspects of a project, but it helps to hone the essence of the final end-result. You want to really refine this in a very descriptive way so that you have a yardstick, level, and plumb-bob, so to speak. It allows you to measure everything that happens from here on out to the end of the design process. So, it is very important that we get this mission statement right. It eliminates the “fluff” and a lot of things that you really don’t need to take up your time, money, or energy.

Number Three: Budget! This is definitely your “vested interest,” because you surely have a vested interest in the amount of money you want to invest in your project, office, or building. The idea is we don’t want to just merely spend your money. We want to invest it with a view toward the maximum return on your investment! And that return can happen in a lot of different ways!

Warning: You must be realistic here! Do not expect a Rolls Royce for the price of a Buick. If you are a “Rolls Royce” business in terms of quality of service and products, then by all means have a “Rolls Royce” quality presentation to your interior design.

You don’t have to do everything all at once. You can space out your investment over a 5 year, 10 year, 15 year, or 20 year span. You can pick any time span you want. This is where a master plan comes into play. It is absolutely necessary for the proper utilization of your resources.

Obviously, some things you will have to do all at once, such as certain construction phases. But, there are some things that can be postponed and added after the fact without causing a lot of disturbance, as long as these things are preplanned and accommodations have been made for them. So, in essence, you are designing incremental additions or advances into your master planning.

Master planning is the exciting part, because once you have a plan and a vision for where you want to go, you will find the money to make it happen. It’s not a prerequisite to have that money in hand right now.

Number Four: Integration The architecture and the interiors function as a hand-and-glove scenario. The interior, which includes all the backgrounds, furniture, furnishings, artwork, etc., functions as a stage setting, so to speak, for the individuals that will inhabit the space. It’s important that these elements put those individuals that are working in your business environment in the very best light. They need to be the gems highlighted against the backdrop of your business. Remember, people are one of your biggest investments. The whole environment should reinforce, support, and enhance everyone working for the company.