Many people have never worked with a designer, so understandably if you are new to this you may not know what to expect. To help you with this I have included some of the most frequently asked questions I receive at Petroff Design:
Q: Why should I hire a designer? I’m a little unsure of myself since I’ve never used one before.
A: Interior design is a skill and an art that will only enhance the space and the quality of your life in the space. Hiring a pro raises the level of that experience and makes your house a home. A designer can help you tell your visual story. One-third artist, one-third business professional and one-third orchestra conductor, a designer is more than just a pretty face with an eye for beauty. From planning, designing and creating beautiful spaces to sourcing furniture and household accessories to coordinating with architects, electricians, plumbers, installers and deliveries, the demands for each job require a wide spectrum of abilities to complete a spectrum of tasks . In reality, designers can save you a great deal of time, money and headaches. Don’t be intimidated. Many clients know what they want, but they simply may not know how to get there. That’s my job – to help draw out of you what your vision is. If you don’t even know where to start, that’s okay too – we can help with that. Together we will draw out your taste and style, as well as your preferences.
Q: What does a designer do and how do you charge?
A: We provide as much or as little service as you want. Smaller projects – such as simple advice on colors or room arrangement – can be just as rewarding as larger projects. It’s amazing what can be accomplished in an hour or two. For larger assignments, we work on a retainer based on the scope of the project. Once we know more about your needs, we can address your budget questions.
Q: We’re thinking about building a new home (or expanding our current one). What is your advice, and will you work with our builder?
How do you work with contractors and sub-contractors?
A: Absolutely. If you’re constructing a new home, it can be overwhelming. My advice is this: Let me act as your BDF (best designer friend) - someone you can always contact, since I’m familiar with working with building professionals. I have also assembled a list of reputable, well priced and reliable vendors who provide expertise in lighting, interior and exterior paint, kitchen/bath layout and design, etc. If you are happy with your trades persons, I am always glad to add them to my roster once I check their experience, trade associations, etc, as required.
Q: Do you take on small projects – such as one or two rooms?
A: Yes! I usually take on many projects like this each year. My clients are always amazed at the difference a redesign of a room or two can make to the liveability and enjoyment of the entire home.
Q: What about specific features such as window treatments, wall coverings or paint selections? Will you take on this type of work?
A: Sure. Small changes are often all that is needed to give your room that ‘pulled together’ look. Changing color in a room can be the most dramatic and affordable transformation. Window coverings that provide privacy are often the first item new homeowners need.
Q: What about furniture? Do we need a designer if all we need is to purchase some pieces of furniture such as a sofa and end tables?
A: Although furniture stores will sell you furniture, it can be very helpful to work with a designer. We are educated in quality furniture construction as well as other aspects of furniture selection such as textile manufacturing and grading, ensuring you are making an informed purchase. Often projects require a few custom pieces that tailor the proportions and the lines to your design needs. We work with many Canadian manufacturers to bring you a broader base of options than you would otherwise have, and we have access to ‘trade only’ sources. Additionally, the experience we bring can reduce the many problems which may occur such as fit (can it pass through the doorways, stairs, etc), appropriate scale or proportions (is it too big, too small), and suitability of style (does it clash with your current style or enhance it).
Q: What about art? Our rooms are furnished but there seems to be something missing.
A: This is the most important step! The missing pieces are often artworks and those personal elements that transform a room from that ‘furniture store’ look to a beautiful room in your home. For some clients this is all they need – artwork and styling. As an Art Consultant and curator, I love this part – layering in artwork and personality. It all comes together then. I draw as much as possible from the interests and personalities of my clients to create a style that is reflective of them. Often reframing and relocating existing pieces will breath new life into them.
Q: How does Art Consulting relate to Interior Design?
A: We advise on all art related matters: blank walls, curatorial services for existing collections and the establishment of new ones. When you move, pieces that you have collected will need editing, refreshing and reframing. We are experts in where and how to display your current collection to give it the greatest impact. If you have not moved your artworks around in over 5 years, it's time. You will fall in love with them all over again!
Q: I have been looking for the right piece, but don't know much about art. How do you determine what piece and where to place an artwork?
A: Have you ever thought would you need a statement piece to pull a room together but don't know where to start? You are not alone. Many people are not confident to make a purchase of artwork, large or small, but you know what you like. With 20 years of experience in the art world, we are here to give guidance and options that are in keeping with your style, architectural context, lighting, proportions and budget. There are a number of factors that determine the "sweet spot" that best voices a piece, all of which comes with extensive curatorial experience.
Q: Tell me about fees. What will it cost? How do you charge for your services?
A: People often start with this question. Talking about money can be uncomfortable for clients because they don’t have any guidelines for how to prepare the budget – they don’t know where to start. Don’t be afraid to talk about money – especially if you have a fixed budget. This is an important factor and it will guide us. More than anything else it directs us to where we should start looking to source items for your home. There is a wide range of options and we need to start at the right place. Typically, we charge a reasonable hourly consulting fee. If it would help, we can sit down with you and help you develop some guidelines for what some of the major expenses might be and help you develop a budget for your space.
Q: I have no time. Will you do it all for me?
A: Of course! Every project runs differently as people want varying degrees of involvement. Some client’s dream for us to go away and come back with a ‘problem solved’ approach to deliver completed design for their approval. Others like to work hand-in-hand as we go shopping and sourcing together. This part can really be fun.
We work with our clients to achieve their vision. Your individuality makes it interesting.
Call and let us know how we can help you!