Is using an Interior Designer very expensive?
Using an interior designer should not be any more expensive than managing all the work yourself. Throughout the project, your interior designer will co-ordinate and manage other professionals and trades on your behalf. In a nutshell a good designer will save you time, money and stress including helping you avoid expensive mistakes you’ll have to live with for several years.
What can I expect from an Interior Designer?
You can expect your designer to be a good listener and a sounding board for your ideas, to bring design experience and suggest alternative creative ideas you might not have considered.
Designers do just about anything to do with design and decoration in your home. This could mean giving a tired room or whole house a new lease on life with a completely new look including lighting wallpaper, fabrics, flooring and furniture. Or just supplying some fabric for a new pair of curtains, reupholstering an old chair or finding a special item like a piece of art.
Using their expertise and experience, and working with your builder, a professional interior designer will give you a realistic time-frame for your project, and will then manage all the different stages of the process, making sure everything happens in the right order. Your interior designer will co-ordinate plumbers, electricians, carpenters and joiners, plasterers, painters and decorators, carpet-fitters, seamstresses, upholsterers and all other trades involved in your project, or for very large projects your designer may recommend a trusted specialist project manager.
The designer places orders for all the items needed for your project, again in the right order, knowing from experience that some things, like bespoke furniture, or pieces ordered from overseas, have a longer lead-time than others. Your designer will keep track of all orders, and will be on hand, and sharp-eyed, to supervise deliveries.
Designers make things easier in many small and simple ways: for example, spotting potential logistics problems before they happen: if an item of furniture is coming on a huge lorry, and you live at the end of a narrow country track, the designer makes sure that a reliable ‘man with a van’ is there to meet the truck, transfer the item, and deliver it into your house.
Designers don’t just design schemes and choose colours and fabrics, they can also organise and project manage the decorating, curtain making, furniture, lighting and flooring installation and ensure that the job is done to time and budget.
How do I make sure my own taste is not compromised?
A professional interior designer’s training will have included the study of history of architecture and interior design, so with that knowledge they can guide you on how to blend together artfully the correct furnishings and decoration for a house of a particular historical period, with your own sense of style and with your family’s practical requirements for living comfortably in that period house today.
Apart from their training, experience and creative talent, three skills that all good interior designers have in common are these innate abilities: to observe, to listen, and to empathise. Right from the initial meeting, your designer will be looking for visual and verbal clues to your taste and how you like to live.
If you’ve never used a designer before, you might feel slightly apprehensive: perhaps the words ‘interior designer’ suggest an image of a person who will breeze into your home and immediately start dictating how your house should look…but fear not!
Listening and communication continues between client and designer, so that ideally, by the time your designer presents you with a scheme, your reaction will be “that’s exactly what I want!”
To give you a sense of control, you might want to prepare for your project by making some notes and gathering together some images, this can be a starting-point for discussion with your designer. If you don’t have the time or inclination, or if you just don’t know where to begin, don’t worry anything you really love can be the starting- point for an interior design scheme: a painting or print, a rug, even your favourite piece of clothing. Working in this way ensures that from the outset your designer has a strong image of your taste to build from.
Can I use an interior designer for just one room?
Yes, absolutely! The idea is you will love it so much you’ll invite your designer back again, to design the next room, and the next! Many successful long term client- designer collaborations begin in just this way.
How much input would I have?
We work with clients to deliver a service that fits their needs, the simple answer is you can be as involved as you want to be.
Will an interior designer work with my architect?
Yes, definitely. Interior designers work well with architects, and with builders. A very good reason to engage a professional interior designer is that they will understand both building construction and history of architecture, as well as technical drawing: an interior designer can read the architect’s or builder’s plans and quickly grasp the building’s layout, which then starts the process for the designer of visualising how the inside of the building will work best for you, the client, to live in.
It’s a good idea to have an interior designer on your team from the beginning of your project to work with you and your architect. The designer can often be a ‘bridge’ between your architect and your lifestyle, an extra person to bounce ideas off. If your architect has specified a huge wall of glass, for instance, your interior designer will raise the question of whether or not you would like that glass wall curtained or fitted with blinds for privacy and a feeling of security at night, and if so, how this is to be done, so that this kind of practical problem is resolved even before it occurs.
Window treatments are just one area of your home where architects and designers work together. A designer also considers the flooring: how noisy will it be, and how resistant to wear? Another is lighting: you may have a huge painting, or collection of artworks that need to be hung together on one wall, and an interior designer will take this into account, suggesting to your architect or builder that instead of a wall-light they fit either a picture light or directional lights in the ceiling.
Can you recommend an architect if we don’t have one?
Yes we can. Our extensive list of contacts enables us to recommend professionals who share our values in quality design.
What if I need planning permission?
A lot of construction work carried out in the UK will require some form of planning permission or building consent. We will go through this process with you and can apply on your behalf.
Do you have tradespeople you can recommend or do we need to source our own?
We have a number of tradespeople that we work with and are more than happy to liaise with them on your behalf. These include carpenters, painters & decorators, builders, electricians, kitchen & bathroom fitters, curtain & blind makers and upholsterers. If you have your own tradespeople that you would prefer to use we are also happy to work with these as well.