FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN INTERIOR DECORATOR AND AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?

Interior Design is concerned with the function and structure of a space as well as the aesthetics.  Formal education is required to become an interior designer. That education emphasizes space planning, structure and building codes. Membership in ASID as an allied professional requires documentation of at least 60 credit hours in an accredited design program. Renewal of membership requires proof of continuing education. Interior Decorators do not have educational requirements and are concerned mainly with the looks of a space. 

 

AT WHAT POINT IN MY PROJECT SHOULD I ENLIST YOUR SERVICES? 

The earlier the better! I can work with your architect or builder or I can recommend professionals I have worked with. Proper space planning is critical to making your space feel right and function correctly and needs to happen early.

If you are not making changes to the structure or space, I can help with layout of furnishings and finishes to meet the needs required of the space.

 

WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU INSTEAD OF DOING IT MYSELF OR USING THE SALES PEOPLE IN RETAIL?

I have education and experience in design and can source from numerous vendors to provide you with a functional and personalized space. I will come to your home and provide you with a cohesive plan. I have a roster of trades people and artisans that I work with to give you everything your space could need. Because of my experience and sources, I can also help you avoid costly mistakes. 

When undertaking a renovation or new build project, there will be a million details that need addressing in a timely way. I have done many renovations and new builds and can help make that process less daunting.

I will be your advocate and always have your interest in mind.

Some retail providers do have trained designers, but they source from within that retail vendor thereby limiting your choices. They likely will not have a clear picture of your overall space. 

 

WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS? 

Design is a big picture process first and then details are filled in. It is important to create a roadmap or master plan and then accommodate the details. Much time goes into creating this plan.

I begin all my projects with an initial prepaid consult which is 90-120 minutes in your home to assess your needs. After the initial consult I will have an understanding of the scope of your project and will send you a letter of agreement. To initiate the signed agreement, I ask that you purchase 10 hours of service. If your project requires further care, you will be billed hourly.

WHAT SHOULD I BUDGET?

Budget varies from project to project. It is important to define early on what you are comfortable spending and what you want to achieve within that budget. Doing so will avoid misunderstandings and will help make the process more efficient. I can help you define your budget based on what you want to accomplish and if what you want doesn’t fit within your budget, we can do the work in phases. A general rule of thumb when furnishing an empty house is to budget between 20-30% of the cost of your house. 

WILL YOU DO PROJECTS OUTSIDE OF NASHVILLE?

Absolutely! I love doing vacation homes. I charge a daily rate plus travel costs.

 

WHAT IS THE PREFERRED WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU?

I prefer communicating via email so we can communicate when it is convenient and so everything is in writing. For more urgent needs you can call or text. When I am in a meeting with you, I will not be answering my phone or texting. I do check my phone in between meetings.  Emails will be answered within 1 business day. If you have not heard back from me, please try again. You are not bugging me.

I value straightforward communication so please do not hesitate to let me know what is on your mind.

 

WHY DO YOU CHARGE FOR TEXTS, EMAILS AND PHONE CALLS? 

Just like in person meetings, these are forms of communications and times of decision-making. I like to provide you with thoughtful material in any form of communication.

 

HOW OFTEN WILL YOU BILL ME?

You will receive an invoice at the beginning of each month outlining all time spent on your project. To order any furnishings I ask that you pay in full before I place an order.

 

HOW ARE PURCHASES HANDLED?

Selections are based on our masterplan. I generally source from Trade Only sources because I have built relationships with vendors. I spend countless hours staying current with their offerings. I am able to offer you much more of a variety than what is readily available in the retail marketplace and items that are ahead of the latest trend. 

Generally, you will pay less than retail with trade only goods because I have maintained accounts with a variety of sellers. Once you approve items, my team will order, track, inspect and install all purchases done through me. 

If you like to shop yourself, then the DIY’er 10 hour package is right for you. I will provide you with a list of items and approximate sizes and arm you to shop on your own.

 

WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY IN FULL BEFORE YOU WILL PLACE AN ORDER? 

Because most items I order are custom made for you, they are generally not returnable.  I require full payment because I am obligated to the vendor for the full amount.

 

WHAT ARE FREIGHT, RECEIVING, STORAGE AND WHITE GLOVE DELIVERY FEES?

Most trade items are shipped via truck and require a receiver with a loading dock. Freight is the trucking fee.  Receiving is the fee from the warehouse that receives the item, inspects it for any damage and then stores it until ready for delivery. To give you the best design, I source from many different vendors with varying shipping times and delivery options. I will store your items as they are shipped. Installation day is when all your furnishings are delivered and put in place.

These fees can be approximated at the time of order but will vary according to shipper, weight of product ordered, gasoline prices etc.

 

CAN I USE MY EXISTING FURNITURE?

Together we will assess what you have and see how it can fit in with what you want to achieve. Every effort will be made to keep pieces that are meaningful to you. Sometimes we will use pieces of your existing furniture as “placeholders” until budget allows your dream piece.

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE SOFA OR CHAIR IS GOING TO BE COMFORTABLE IF I CAN’T SIT ON IT?

I attend design markets regularly to meet vendors and try out their offerings. I have also done factory tours in North Carolina and Los Angeles to see how furniture is constructed and how it feels. 

I listen carefully to figure out what you like and then match those preferences to lines I think will meet your needs. 

In Nashville, we have a design center that carries many “trade only” lines. I can take you there to sit on pieces that are manufactured by the vendors I trust. There are also retail boutiques that carry some of the lines I source. We can also go there to try out and look at their quality of construction.

 

WHAT CAN I, AS THE CLIENT, DO FROM MY END TO HELP THE PROCESS RUN SMOOTHLY?

So glad you asked!

Make observations about your likes and dislikes. Feels are important! If you are inclined to tear pictures that stir you from magazines, then do so. If you like to get on Pinterest, create a board of anything and everything you like and invite me to collaborate. It doesn’t have to be furniture or designed spaces. It can be food, fashion, travel, words. Think about what inspires you. The more I know about your preferences the easier it will be for me to translate those into your living space. Think about all the ways you would like to see your space utilized and then we can set priorities.

Don’t be shy about your budget. I cannot stress how important it is to be frank about your financial priorities. We will not gloss over this topic, so be prepared. Try not to fixate on the cost of one item. Remember I will be paying close attention to your overall budget and with my masterplan I should be able to give you what you want. I believe in sourcing from a range of price points.

One of the biggest obstacles to sticking to a timeline is indecision. Make your decision and trust the process.

Remember you have hired me because of my experience and expertise. 

 

I heard you were a practicing doctor before you became an Interior designer

Yes, I am a doctor. I met and married my husband while in medical school and we began our family while in Residency. I practiced Pediatrics for a number of years before retiring my medical license to be more present for my three children. 

The art and science of being a primary care provider has many overlaps with being an interior designer with the main one being the level of trust and involvement in your personal life. Just as it is important for a doctor to know what is happening in your life outside of your visit to make an efficient diagnosis, it is important for me to have honest conversations about your lifestyle to make sure your home is a place of comfort for you. My background as a Pediatrician informs my decisions as an interior designer when thinking about the interplay between mental health and physical health. Sometimes you walk into a space and it just feels good. You may not be able to put your finger on what it is or you maybe able to identify a few things that create that feeling. I can tell you generally a room feels good if the lighting is right, if the spacing is right, if you can find things easily, if you don’t have to think too much and if there is a sense of familiarity.