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The Value of Hiring an Interior Designer By Carol Carr Since 1981, Carol Carr has specialized in making your home comfortable, an extension of your personality and lifestyle. Her design philosophy is “Every room should be usable and comfortable — a balance between visual response and physical comfort. Carol can be reached at 408.779.4189. S hould you hire an Interior Designer? Currently more people are answering “Yes” to that question. Not surprising with households where both adults have a career and other households with managed by one adult. Skilled interior designers are ready to perform a “turnkey job,” handling an entire project from the beginning to the end. They design, they order and arrange delivery of merchandise, supervise all contract work, and see the job through — with all expected and unexpected problems. The more precisely you describe your interior design needs and desires, the more successful your interior designer will be in meeting them. Ask yourself these questions: • What do you expect from the completed project? You may have multiple objectives for your redesigned space. Ask yourself whether the family will expand or whether your children will be moving from home in the near future. • How many people will be using the space/s to be designed? And, how frequently will you have company? Do you like to entertain and if so, how do you entertain? Does the frequency of an elderly relative’s visits to your home merit special design considerations? • Will your den/family room double as a home office space? • Who in your family should be consulted? Who will be the decision maker? • What’s your time frame? When do you want the project to start and end? Do you want the work done all at once or would you like it done in stages? • What is your budget? What resources will be used to pay for this project? Be prepared to talk to your designer openly and honestly about your bud- get considerations. Your designer will ensure that your space is used to its full advantage, which will save you money in the long run and keep you from making expensive errors by purchasing items you dislike and then replacing them. • Do you have a particular design style in mind? There are many sources today to research the look you want for your home. Magazines, the internet and visiting retail show places will help you decide a style for your home; of course your designer is there to guide you also. • A word of caution: don’t be fooled by the time frame you see on HGTV and DIY. While these shows have made people more aware of what’s out there, they reinforce expectations for instant gratification. Planning an interior design project should be one of your most rewarding experiences. For years to come you will enjoy an interior environment that has been designed for maximum utility, comfort and personal satisfaction. A general outline of the basic design process for interior design follows. Once you sign a letter of agreement or contract, your designer will inspect and review the areas or rooms that are included in your project. Your designer will prepare a preliminary plan for considerations such as furniture layout, lighting, color schemes and spatial changes. This letter of agreement/ contract will stipulate what the designer will be doing for you, a time frame, and a boiler- plate list of other items. Your designer will then provide visual presentations, photographs, drawings and floor plans. These presentations will facilitate discussion about selection of surface materials, finishes, window treatments, lighting, furnishings and furniture. At this point your designer may prepare an estimate of probable project costs. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2016 If you engage your designer to provide purchasing services for the project, your designer will place all orders on your behalf for merchandise and materials, and supervise labor and installation in accordance with your letter of agreement. When your designer takes you on a market trip to see furnishings, furniture and other related items you will have access to a considerably wider range of quality products that are not commonly available in retail settings. Generally your designer will monitor the work of contractors selected on your behalf and ensure quality performance and timely execution of the work. Your designer will rep- resent you during all stages of the project and see that workmen, contractors or suppliers are working toward your best interest from project conception to completion. Hiring a designer for your project is akin to hiring an advocate, very worthwhile all around. Now you are ready to hire a professional interior designer! You may have thought interior designers talked only about subjects like furniture styles and how to find a good upholsterer. These days, a group of designers is just as likely to be discussing aging in place, fire safety or barrier-free areas. When looking for an interior designer, consider if the designer is educated and accredited in interior design. This is very important because it means you’re working with someone who knows about all aspects of design, building codes and safety issues. You can ask a friend who has used an interior designer and whose house you admire. You can log onto the ASID website, and find a designer in your area. American Society of Interior Designers, ASID is the nucleus of the design community and has been for 40 years. ASID sets the standards for professional practice. 37