Starting your interior design project can be both exciting and difficult. In today's world, there are endless choices. Choosing colors, fabrics, furniture, fixtures can be overwhelming. Selecting the right textures, colors, patterns, etc. is what makes your house both special and beautiful and requires a designer educated in not only the process of design, but how to address the specialized needs of each client.

Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions about Interior Design. If you have questions that are not answered here, please fell free to send them by e-mail or give us a call.

Q: How does an interior designer work?
A: Your designer will assist you in every phase of your project. The designer's job is to help you prioritize the items that are most important to create the look you want to achieve. Your designer knows what products will best suit your particular situation, your lifestyle, your budget, your taste.

Q: How long will my project take?
A: The size of your project will generally determine the amount of time it takes for completion. Another factor is construction. Projects with little or no construction take less time to complete. An estimate for time is always given at the onset of the project so you are prepared.

Q: What should I discuss when I first meet with a designer?
A: Plan to meet with a prospective designer to learn if you can work as a team. You will need to trust their suggestions and expertise, but feel comfortable enough with them to let them know if you don't like something that they are presenting. Your designer should not dictate what you have in your home, but work with you to create an environment that you love. Discuss your needs, your hopes, your ideas, and most importantly, your budget. Your designer can then offer solutions to create the environment you are looking for.

Q: How do you charge for design?
A: There are several ways we charge clients, the most common being a fixed fee to complete a project based on the size and items to be completed. We will discuss with you which billing method would be most appropriate for your project.

Q: Won't my entire budget be spent on the design fee?
A: By using a designer, you will receive recommendations about the use of space and materials to fit your lifestyle. Working with an interior designer will help you avoid costly mistakes. For example, if you choose a fabric for a sofa, you may love the color or pattern, but find that the fibers wouldn't hold up to family traffic, dogs paws, or just standard cleaning. These are things for which your designer has received extensive education and experience.

Q: How are the furniture and accessories selected?
A: There are three ways we find items for your project: The first is by shopping at various trade resources that are not accessible to the general public; The second is to work with the hundreds of catalogues we keep in our library; The third is to design a custom piece that works specifically for your situation.

Q: There are so many stores out there; I have good taste, can't I do this myself?
A: Certain options could certainly be done on your own if you choose. However, your designer has the access and ability to work with specialty or trade workrooms and showrooms not open to the public. Many of these workrooms and trade showrooms offer pricing much lower than retail furniture stores for a much higher quality product. A designer also has the ability to make a product unique, unlike furniture stores. The options for customizing items are endless.

The training and experience of your designer allows them to "zero" in on items that will work in your space, eliminating hours of "shopping", or getting something home only to realize it's the wrong color, size, style, etc. Your interior designer has probably designed hundreds of spaces similar to yours. They consider proportion, style, balance, comfort, and budget to make your environment what you desire.

Q: What is the difference between a Decorator and a Designer?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions.

A decorator deals primarily with colors, finishes, and furniture. He or she might charge a fee for creative services, such as laying out the furniture or creating a color palette. Decorators typically "mark-up" products they are re-selling to you, with the percentages varying from 25% to 100% or more. This is typically a person who is "great with color" but has no formal training or experience. Many decorators are reluctant to prepare a formal contract or letter of agreement for services itemizing services and fees that they will provide for your project.

An Interior Designer can execute a project from start to finish. He or she becomes your agent, dealing with local building codes, building departments, and licensed contractors. Designers handle all types of projects from new construction design/build and remodeling to a "fluff and puff" or freshening of your interior. They are educated, experienced, and have industry affiliations and state recognition of their status if Certified. Their fees are typically based on the services they are providing for you, as opposed to a mark up on items they may be selling to you. A designer will always provide you with a professional letter of agreement or contract itemizing the exact nature of the services they will be providing for your project.

Q: Do you work with clients only in Orange County?
A: I work mainly in Orange and Los Angeles counties, but have worked successfully on projects on the East Coast as well as Canada and Mexico with very little travel. It depends on the needs of the project.