Wondering (thinking) about hiring an interior designer?
What an interior designer really does and a glimpse into the interior design process.
Before you hire an interior designer, make sure you know what they can do. One of the most common experiences of my work/life as an interior designer is navigating what people think or believe I do versus what I actually do.
What people think/believe I do is influenced by what they watch and read, what industry they work in and of course, past experiences. So, part of my work is navigating this belief and inviting the client and, in some cases contractors and suppliers into a productive design and planning process.
I love my work and I see it as a powerful way to help people improve their overall experience of life by making their home and work spaces nurturing and enriching. Over the 25 years of my interior design practice I have noted that there is a spectrum of what folks imagine an interior designer does – I am half kidding and exaggerating a bit about this, but you will get the idea…
At one end of the spectrum we dominate the process without regard for the client’s aesthetic, their needs or their budget – we swish in wearing fabulous clothes and wave our hands around demeaning what is and demanding what we want…
At the other end of the spectrum we are magicians – still wearing fabulous clothes – we will make the giant leather sofa fit, the ceiling stay up without a wall, the sink work without a drain and lamps work without a cord. Ta Da!
While every interior designer has their own style of working with their clients, there are some foundational things that should be standard in every project. Whether it is a construction project or a furnishing project, these are not options but requirements.
- Accurate measurements
- To scale drawings
- Detailed specifications
It may not sound sexy or glamourous to most people, but the drawings and specifications we create for you become your contracts and agreements with everyone that works on your project, even you. Knowing what is expected and required keeps everyone on track and makes for the long-term success of the project. It respects you and your vision.
I know I am taking the shine off of the glam of interior design, but we are planners – we are specifiers and we use our creativity to solve problems and make things beautiful.
“A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power.” ― Brian Tracy
So really not swishy or sexy. It is actually very practical and full of common sense which is confusing when you notice how media portrays most interior designers. But here is the truth as I see it, interior designers are professional interior planners…with really good PR.
We know that everything in a space relates both in form and function to everything else in the space and often beyond that to the exterior. We conceive and imagine in macro – the big picture but we work in micro – the multitude of details
For example: when you say I already have my wall tile purchased – I think – does it have the right composition and transition possibilities for the application? You probably thought I wondered what colour it was – right?
That is why it usually isn’t cheaper to do a bunch of the work yourself and then hire a designer to “finish it up”. We still have to understand all the existing materials and fixtures in order to finish the project. So, either we spend the time planning and sourcing from the beginning, or we spend the time understanding what is already in the works. In reality, most projects involve both. That’s why we get very excited about coming into a project that is in concept development – we can plan and make any changes “on paper” rather than during construction or worse, the implementation phases.
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ― Abraham Lincoln