Introducing: Robin Garceau - The Interior Designer
Thursday, June 16, 2016
1. What is the scope of work?
- Are you choosing paint colors for several rooms of your home?
- How many rooms and how many choices do you want for each room? Will the designer provide larger samples? What brand & type of finishes? Planning a kitchen remodel?
- What will be included? Kitchen layout design or just choosing the cabinet finish? Countertop choices, paint colors, flooring, cabinet hardware, shopping for appliances? Renovating your living and dining room with new furniture & window treatments?
- How many fabric & furniture choices do you want to see? Will you be shopping locally or will you order from catalogs? Will the designer provide a room layout? Do you want 3D renderings? Building a home from scratch?
- How often will you meet? Weekly, Monthly? Will the designer be meeting with the subcontractors? How involved do you want them to be? Will they provide layouts prior to finalizing your architectural plans? Will they be working with you to choose decorative moldings, finishes, lighting, furniture, window treatments?
- Renovating your office space, employee lounge or reception area?
- What type of traffic does your space get on a daily basis? Does it need to be flame retardant materials? Will the designers be working with specialists such as lighting designers or city officials? How many people do you need to accommodate in the area?
- Not all designers will take on all types of projects, so understanding the extent of your project upfront will save you time and frustration.
2. What is your budget?
3. Where do you find a list of professional Interior Designers & will you be compatible?
- Always ask for referrals from friends or relatives.
- Go to websites such as Houzz.com. Click on Find a Pro & scroll down to Interior Designers.
- Have a conversation with the designers you choose. Most projects can be a long term commitment, so enjoying the process has everything to do with working with someone who is knowledgeable, ethical and pleasant to be around. A great designer, not only can make your home or office beautiful, they can make it fun along the way.
4. How do they charge?
- Designers charge fees a number of different ways.
- Flat Project Fee
- Percentage of the overall project cost
- Purchasing Fee for Product
- Providing sales of furniture, lighting, custom window treatments and other home furnishings.
- With long term projects such as building a new home or renovating a kitchen, designers may ask for a monthly retainer.
- Hire early and do not choose a designer strictly because one is less expensive or a friend thinks one is too expensive. Consider all factors. Spending a little more upfront may save you big money in the long run.
5. What is their experience?
How long have they been in business? What types of projects have they done? Do they have references? Do they have photographs of their work? Look at the quality of the work in photographs. A good designer can create beautiful spaces for any type of design, but usually has a signature style. Again, not all designers work on all types of projects. Some may not do just paint consultation. Others may not be qualified to work with architectural plans. Asking the right questions will help you zero in on the best designer for you.
6. Enter Into and Understand what is in a Letter of Agreement.
This will specify the scope of work and costs associated with your needs so there are no surprises. What rooms are included? Is there a time frame for work to be completed by? What happens if you think of additional items to be added after beginning the project? How often is the designer going to be paid? Is there a deposit required and when is the final payment due? Can you have a payment plan in place? Do they take credit cards? What is their policy for returns and repairs? The more comprehensive the agreement is, the less ambiguity and potential misunderstandings will arise in the future.
The days are over when only the very wealthy hire Interior Designers. Interior Designers are as important as the contractor building your home. An experienced designer that will help to avoid costly mistakes, overages and lost time is worth every penny!
A native Rhode Islander with more than 20 years in the design field, Robin specializes in comprehensive upscale projects. She also received her real estate license in 2011 and has worked with builders, real estate developers, business owners & homeowners to develop a broad and extensive knowledge of living & office spaces. Robin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rhode Island College’s Fine Arts Program and is a longstanding member of the Interior Design Society & RI Association of Realtors.
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