Behind the Scenes of Working With an Interior Designer

It's safe to say that interior design has become much more approachable.  All the home design and decorating programs and sites have helped demystify interior design, and in many cases, made it something more attainable than ever before.

There's still a lot to be said, though, for the benefits of hiring a professional decorator or designer - something that maybe a 60 minute program can't quite capture.  What we as professionals bring to the table is unique, and you know what?  Sometimes even I benefit from being reminded of the value we bring to clients endeavoring to invest in their home.  

I had the chance recently for a little Q&A with a wonderful client as we wrapped her project, and wanted to share the experience of working together...from a client's perspective.

photo by: Elise Hanna

photo by: Elise Hanna

Background:  We worked with this client for nearly a year, taking our time to source just the right items to work with her home.  We primarily worked with existing furnishings, but brought in extra layers and details that worked with the client's aesthetic.  We'll be photographing it soon, so stay tuned for the reveal pics!

1)  You have a great eye for design that shows in your beautiful home.  What made you decide to seek professional help?

Those four dreaded words: “To the trade only!" Like everyone these days, I've purchased a lot of my furniture at retail stores, many of whom provide well-designed and well-made products. But if you want something really special for your home, like a beautiful fabric or quality wallpaper, so often it is available only to interior designers. 

In addition, I can get bogged down when it comes to decision-making. There are so many choices! Sometimes I need a second opinion from a professional who really knows interior design and has been trained to think about how to pull a room together in ways I haven’t. Alison mentioned options that I hadn’t considered, so I was able to make more informed choices—always a good investment.

 

2)  There are many designers in this area.  What made you decide to call us?  Was there something about our aesthetic, website, or description that made you want to work with Alison Giese Interiors?

I found Alison on Houzz. I liked her aesthetic, particularly her kitchen and living room, both of which were featured on her post. But it was also important that she possess the organizational skills to bring a concept from inception to reality. After I met Alison, I felt she could manage the business side as well as the creative side of or my design project, and I was right.

 

3)  How did the process of working with us make you feel?

It was fun! I really appreciated how Alison sourced quality goods and services with an eye for value. One of the fabrics I chose for some accent pillows was from a woman who hand-blocks her own designs (see Virginiakraft.com). I loved her esthetic and probably never would have come across her work if Alison hadn’t shown me some samples of her fabrics. And the price for the fabric was reasonable.

 

4)  Hiring an interior designer is an investment in your home.  What would you say to someone considering whether to make that investment?

Do your homework. When it comes to describing what you want, a picture really is worth a thousand words. Look at all the shelter magazines you can get your hands on, or go online .(Of course, Houzz is a good source.) When you see design solutions that might work for your home or something that really speaks to you, show your designer.  

Even better, subscribe to some home magazines and really look at them. The retailer who said, “An educated consumer is our best customer” wasn’t talking about interior design, but the same motto could apply to working with a designer. If you spend a little time learning how they put homes together, the easier it will be to get your ideas across to them.Finally, you shouldn’t be afraid to say, “I don’t care for that” or “that color doesn’t do anything for me.” The more specific you are about what you like—or don’t like—the easier it will be for a designer to give you a room--or a whole home—you’re really happy with, a space that reflects who you are and that you’ll love to be in.