When you buy a car, you know what you are going to get for the price. Want the supercharged engine and the leather seats with the sport package? For the right price, you can have exactly what you want, exactly as you want it, for an amount that is determined before you drive it off the lot.
Designers are different. I'm sure many people would love to have someone come help them select the proper floor plan, pick the right combination of furniture and fabrics, shop for the perfect accessories and have it all make sense with furnishings they already have in their home. But the truth is, there are a lot of unknowns. Unknowns are regularly a source of fear, apprehension and anxiety. And with Interior Design it is no different. This is why so many potential clients have been in their home for years or wanted change for years, but were never able to initiate the process of hiring a designer.
Your home is your sanctuary. And whether it is already stylish or in desperate need of substantial work, it is the place where you feel safe. It is the place where you share meals with your family, enjoy your favorite shows and invite friends over to celebrate special occasions . It is the place where you cuddle your pets on the sofa and build legos on the living room floor. And when a person decides they want to hire a designer, it is often an unsettling feeling. How much is this going to cost? Are they going to do a good job? Are they going to merge my vision with their expertise to create a space that my family and I love? Are we all going to like each other at the end, or is this a terrible idea?
Going into it, you can look at the designer's past projects and get a sense of their work. You can meet with them and ask them questions about how they operate and what they can offer. And although these are necessary and important steps, and often indicators of a potentially sound partnership, they are not guarantees of one.
Although we're not sure what the "perfect" formula for a fantastic working relationship is, we do have some ideas that certainly seem to work for us. Our favorite projects are collaborative efforts built with trust, communication, accessibility and kindness. Kindness being the unspoken, but ever so valuable component of any good relationship...working or otherwise.
The bottom line is this whole process works a lot better if you like and trust one another. You are going to be spending a lot of time with one another, exchanging emails and ideas, talking budget and deadlines and likely relaying some unfortunate news at times. Mistakes happen (whether your fault or not), items are out of stock, items are not in budget or not on time. So, when you are interviewing a designer, we would recommend trusting your instincts in addition to the regular due diligence. Much like hiring your first babysitter, often times the gut feeling you get from a person is a far more reliable compass than their resume.