joy of nesting

joy of nesting
California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living

The Key is CLARITY... When Designing a Home and Getting What You Want from your Designer



























above KATHRYN IRELAND
 
Some people have the creative gene. They effectively design their own gardens, put together to-die-for parties, decorate their homes, and possess personal style in spades. Its great knowing what works for you, but not everyone has the ability to develop a personal style. Help is out there if you’re willing to pay for it. It’s not cheap but truthfully, would you really, I mean really value it if it were?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

above SHIREE HANSON SEGERSTROM

 
 
For those who do need help, interior designers offer services to meet a wide variety of needs. The reasons people hire us are varied. Clients come from different backgrounds but all have disposable income in common and are willing to pay a higher price for better quality. Just as many people enjoy the process of “doing it themselves” and that’s important too. There is great satisfaction in knowing you did something yourself.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The potential designer/client collaboration begins with a consultation at the client’s home to see if you’re a good match. The first meeting won’t always tell you everything you need to know but things to watch for initially are arriving at the scheduled time (make allowances if your home is particularly hard to find or is off the GPS grid), making eye contact, professional grooming and attire, open mindedness about your project, overall organization, and knowledge of their own services and products.
 
 





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
above SHIREE HANSON SEGERSTROM
 
 
Some designers charge for the first consultation. Others have a short, complimentary meeting. Still others ask to meet their clients at a local coffee shop rather than the client’s home to keep at bay any design related questions until compensation begins. In my early business days, I gave a complimentary, thirty minute in home consultation. Now I prefer to charge one hour. This helps me weed out people who aren’t serious about hiring me. I love helping people but it’s painful answering a dozen or more questions once you have figured out you’re not going to be compensated.
 
 

















above JEFFREY BILHUBER
 
At the first consultation, the designer will usually ask about your lifestyle. They need to know if you have children or pets or if you will be caring for elderly family members in your home in the near future. It’s also extremely helpful to communicate to your designer in as much detail as possible, your personal style and color preferences. If possible, save magazine clippings for the purpose of helping your designer understand you better. Are you a casual or formal person? Are there colors you prefer or dislike? Are you traditional, contemporary or a mix of both? Which of your existing furnishings do you wish to replace and which do you wish to keep? Is there anything you particularly love that could be used as a catalyst for the design project? These things will be discussed in the early stages of your project. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

above SHIREE HANSON SEGERSTROM

 
 
After the first consultation, I follow up with a proposal. My proposal itemizes everything I’ll be doing for the client and the amount of money I’ll be compensated. This allows the client to add or delete line items as they see fit before giving me a deposit.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For recent, downsizing clients I proposed space planning, drafts and keys for placement of their existing furniture; new window treatment designs; a new sofa; paint; new flooring in four rooms; kitchen counters; and refinishing the cabinets. They came back with a few changes before we agreed on the final pricing.
 
 



















above SHIREE HANSON SEGERSTROM
 
 

After the proposal has been approved, I begin work on the presentation. Preparing the presentation is very time-consuming. For a typical presentation I’ll source five to six sofas, chairs and ottomans in a variety of styles and price ranges; thirty or so coordinating fabrics; do written estimates of each item I’m presenting; print out tear sheets (large pictures with dimensions); type up written reports and estimates; do CAD or Autodesk renderings; and prepare visual aids like large, labeled fabric swatches on rings and oversized paint chips.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
above JEFFREY BILHUBER
 
 
 
By this point in the project, a client usually knows if the designer is a good match. Now, the presentation must gain their approval. Is the project within your budget? What, if any changes are needed? Do the design schemes reflect your personal style as well as the home’s architecture? Is it appropriate to your geography? Do the styles and colors jump out at you, in a good way? If so, you are ready to begin the project.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
above SHIREE HANSON SEGERSTROM
 
 
Your designer will most likely be providing you with both products and services. Before writing the check, make certain the products and services are clearly described in writing (my descriptions are on my written quotes and bids). Make certain payment terms and lead times are clear. Most designers require a 50% deposit upon order and balance at time of shipment for furniture and accessories. For window treatments, an additional deposit may be required because by the time the treatments are installed, most of the materials and labor have long been paid for and the designer will be out of pocket before collecting the full balance. It’s also helpful if the designer gives a ballpark estimate of what shipping costs will be.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
above JEFFREY BILHUBER
 
 
Managing the client’s expectations is an important part of the job. So is foreseeing and bypassing problems before they occur. I know from past experience which vendors are slow, and I prepare the client by telling them a longer lead time than what I’ve been quoted. Then, if the vendor is on time, the client and I are both pleasantly surprised. Under promising and over delivering is another part of great project management.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
above SHIREE HANSON SEGERSTROM
 
 
Designers charge for their services and products in a variety of ways such as with retainers against future work; with hourly fees; and with cost-plus percentage mark-ups. Most of us are compensated by a capped amount of hourly fees for services as well as wholesale to retail mark-ups on products. We purchase products at wholesale and receive a commission by selling it at retail. We also charge hourly fees for services that don’t require materials or fabrication.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
above DAVID EASTON
 
 
To ensure the personal satisfaction of your project, be clear about your budget, timeline and scope of work. Your designer will collaborate with you on this. They are very helpful in prioritizing and doing work in phases. Be proactive in the end result by giving your designer good descriptions of the styles and colors you prefer. Terms like “warm”, “cozy” and “classic” have different meanings for different people.
 
Communicate clearly and when possible provide pictures of your preferences. Use real descriptions like “blue”, “large”, “modern” and “pale”. Clarity is almost an art form itself but like design, practice makes perfect.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

above SHIREE HANSON SEGERSTROM
 
Remember, it's not the individual furniture or paint or fabrics you choose that makes a room fabulous. It's the way in which you put everything together as a whole.

That's the real art of the interior designer.
 

 

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