Questions to Answer When Hiring A Designer

Questions to Answer When Hiring A Designer
Questions to Answer When Hiring A Designer

Monday, December 8, 2014

Questions to Answer When Hiring A Designer

Are you thinking you might want to hire an interior designer to help you redecorate or remodel your home?  You’ve had your share of costly mistakes, something that occurs all the time to home owners wanting a new couch, or a new look, or some things more efficient for their home to make it more “livable.”  The really important thing about hiring a professional is that it will be done as efficiently and beautifully as you have in your mind’s eye, and you won’t have to waste money on things that don’t work you and your lifestyle.

There are a lot of questions that a designer will ask, so it’s good to think about the answers prior to meeting with a professional. By asking you a few basic questions, your chosen Interior Designer will be better prepared to answer your concerns, as well as compiling a plan that will ensure a successful design.

So, here they come:
  1. What is the function or purpose of the space to be designed? The answer may seem simple if you’re redesigning your kitchen, but even then the designer will want to know if both you and a partner cook together, or if you’re a solo cook.  Do you entertain?  What do you cook often?  (e.g. pasta dishes, baked goods, three course meals, etc.)

  2. What do you love about the space/room you’re changing?
  3. What do you dislike about the space/room you’re updating?
  4. What colors do you love?
  5. What colors do you dislike?
  6. Is your space multi-functional?  If so, how do you want it to function?
  7. How much traffic does your space get? 
  8. Will other adjoining rooms be affected?
  9. Will there need to be a new lighting design?
  10. If the answer to #5 is yes as it often is, then how will that effect your current electrical in your home?
  11. Are there special elements that you must have in the plan?  If you want to create a media room, then you’ll want your designer to know your expectations regarding size and sound of pieces.  If you have a collection of antiques you want featured, then be certain to explain that to your designer.
  12. Do you want the space to be expanded, to remain the same. or contracted?
  13. Do you want to create a certain mood or feel in the room?  Often people like lots of different styles, and they have to narrow it down to what will work with their lifestyle.  While you love modern minimalist, you really want a Spanish Revival feel in your home.

  14. Is there a picture or something you’d like to use as the inspiration for this new space?  If you have a piece of art, a fabric from a favorite chair, a picture from Houzz that you love?
  15. What’s your budget for the space?  Home owners tend to want to hedge on this, but it’s vital that you’re honest and forthright with this question.  It’s very easy to get carried away and exceed spending limits. By discussing your budget with your Interior Designer you will have someone else in your corner to help you plan accordingly so you can get the end results you desire.

Communication is imperative.  Hiring an interior designer can be one of the most rewarding decisions you will ever make. When the designer and client know what to expect from each other from the onset, the results will be nothing short of spectacular and enjoyable. Effective communication is the cornerstone on which you are 100% satisfied with your finished project.

Need some assistance with an interior design project?  Go to my website (which has been recently updated with new photos) at 
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Say "Happy Holidays" at Your Entry

The holidays are upon us.  Need something festive to put up on your entry door to welcome your guests and travelers out of the cold?  Here are some ideas: some you can purchase, some you can make, some you can combine limited resources with what you already own.

Think about your home's style and decor:  if you love country then use it on your entry door as well. 

If you are more traditional, there are lots of options from simple to ornate.  

If your style is more contemporary, then you can go minimalist.  

Also think about your home's colors- particularly any you're using for holiday decorations.

Pears and lime painted edges of pine cones are featured here.

If you have children, then you can orient decorations toward their interests.  If they love "Elf on the Shelf" then think about putting him on a shelf you make from a painted cardboard box.  If they're into Legos, then think about a creation that will feature their favorite toy holiday style.  If they love the candy and cookies, then why not feature that?  Maybe some of their old small toys could decorate a wreath?  Perhaps a giant advent calendar could be featured on the door.
Made from white butcher paper & red felt.

Toys adorn this wreath!

You can also put something simple, less costly, yet festive such as the ice skates you have in the closet and are saving for the off chance you're invited, or those pinecones you gathered for Thanksgiving/Fall decor.  Add some ribbon that matches the color of interior decor/decorations and you've got a door decoration.

There are over-the-door wreath hangers available at drug, craft, and variety stores for those who don't want (or aren't allowed) to put a hole in your beautiful door.  Add a length of wide ribbon and abracadabra, you've got a welcoming door hanging to welcome your guests.

Would you please share your creations from your holiday decorating with us?  I'd love to see your beloved ornaments or decorations?  Send me a picture and with your permission, I'll publish it next week!
Need some assistance with an interior design project?  Go to my website (which will soon be updated with new photos and a new look) at 
Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Magnificent Mantels For the Holidays!

The holidays are upon us!  Whether you're ready or not, they're here!  I have several friends who have already put up their Christmas tree, because they enjoy the season so much!  I guess I'm more traditional, because I start putting up decorations the day after Thanksgiving in order that I enjoy them for a full month.  I put on my first holiday music when all my Thanksgiving guests have gone home and I sit down, enjoy a glass of wine and listen to George Winston's Thanksgiving (from his December CD), which is a heart-felt melancholy melody followed by lesser known Christmas songs and carols.  For me, this tradition heralds the Christmas season!

One of the biggest focal points of Christmas decor is the Christmas tree, and I gave some fun ideas last year in my Dec. 16, 2013 entry,, but this year, I give you ideas for the mantel in your home.  If you don't have a fireplace, then consider using the ideas for a stairway, tablescape, or buffet. 

Candles, real or artificial are fabulous at the holidays, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, or Christmas with devotion as a Christian, or as an American tradition.  Use them during this darkest of times of the year, and continue to figure out ways to use them after the holidays have passed.  They bring a warmth and magic nothing else can.  These days, with artificial candles that are battery powered, it's safe to turn them on and walk away, too!

Think about the hues of your home decor and don't try to throw in colors that clash with that chosen palette.  Instead, think about ways that you can incorporate the colors within your decor with some new fun spaces of sparkle and shine. 

Love this Advent Calendar idea!

Would you please share your creations from your holiday decorating with us?  I'd love to see your beloved ornaments, decorations, or culinary delights?  Send me a picture and with your permission, I'll publish it next week!
Need some assistance with an interior design project?  Go to my website (which will soon be updated with new photos and a new look) at 
Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Your Thanksgiving Tablescape

It's nearly here, and I thought I'd better speak to your Thanksgiving tablescape while you're still planning for the big day.  This doesn't mean that you have to get out every pilgrim, Indian, and turkey you've ever owned.  Sure, those are "traditional," but you can choose to go another direction.

First of all, it's best to match your table to your decor: if you have a traditional home with all its decorations, then by all means bring out the cornucopia with fruit or root veggies, or turkey tureen or such.  However, if your decor leans more toward the contemporary vibe, then you can go with that overall look to have your table "fit" your home's style.

The same is true for colors: Thanksgiving is very yellow, orange, rust and brown as well as beige and tan.  If those colors fit in your decor, great.  If they don't, there's nothing wrong with using colors that work in your decor.  Maintaining the royal blue accent color in your living/dining room with your blue stemware- just make sure it relates to something else on the table, like blue dishes for sauce or condiments.

I try to make the focus of Thanksgiving on being grateful for what we have.  One way I do that is to ask each guest to name 2-3 things that they are thankful for this year.  I collect those, and print them up on paper.  One year I wrapped those strips of paper around the stems of the wine glasses.  Another I folded them like Chinese fortunes in the rolls I baked.  One can be obvious, like "I am thankful for my cats," but one should be more enigmatic like, "I'm thankful for my health after a real scare this year."  Then we all guess who had which one, and the focus of dinner is in sharing happy moments we've experienced since last Thanksgiving.

Whether you're cooking turkey and dressing for two or 20, make the table something to "ooo" and "ah" about, so do prepare it ahead of time.  I usually set the table on Tuesday (or Wednesday for sure) and add the final touches on Wednesday evening.  I have two rules that I use for Thanksgiving:

  1. Use candles at the table.  They bring a warmth and elegance like nothing else can.
  2. Elevate your centerpiece a bit, without making it impossible to see the person sitting beyond it.
If you need more inspiration or information, go back to Oct. 28, 2013's ( entry on this blog, where I detail how to set a table, silverware placement, as well as some other fabulous ideas.  If you need help, whether it's a color consultation because you're preparing to paint your house, or a feng shui consultation to create an uplifting environment for your whole family, please check my website at and contact me from there.  I'd love to hear from you below, as well, with comments, questions, and/or pictures of your Thanksgiving tablescape.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Selecting the Right Flooring for Your Home- Part 2

Selecting the right flooring for a room or area in your home may seem like a difficult task. It's a procedure that must combine your personal taste with careful consideration about practicality. After all, it's a surface you, your family and friends will walk, stand and sit on, your kids will spill, play and grow up on. But asking yourself a few key questions at the beginning of the process should help reduce your worry, ease your choice and increase your long-term satisfaction with your new floor.  Last week, I discussed hardwood, bamboo, cork and vinyl options. If you haven’t read last week’s entry, check it out first, then by all means, move on to this one!

Tile, Marble and Granite

Ceramic tile, porcelain tile, limestone, marble and granite are all popular and functional flooring choices, coming with a big variation of different price tags and requiring various levels of expertise to install. Working with ceramic or even vinyl tiles is relatively easy, and some homeowners should be able to successfully do it themselves. 

Ceramic tiles look great and provide superb durability, but they are more expensive. Another consideration is weight- some of these add considerable weight to move and install.  (I selected porcelain tiles for a bathroom recently, and wondered what I was thinking after carrying stacks and stacks of 50 lb. boxes up 3 flights of stairs.  Whew!)
If you should elect to go with an even more challenging and higher-end material such as marble or granite, you're definitely going to need to hire professionals for the installation.  Two considerations for tile, one is that it tends to be cold winter and summer, so if you live in a cold climate, you may want to add radiant heat under the floor to warm it in the winter.  (This of course adds to the expense, but it’s worth it in my opinion.)  Second is that it’s a very hard surface, so some would prefer something with more give in it like the examples previously mentioned.

Concrete Flooring

Concrete is a relatively new application indoors.  Since many kitchens have a concrete sub-flooring, they can often be modified into a beautiful and durable flooring, by pouring thin slabs of concrete on top of the sub-flooring.  

Concrete floors are slow to heat up, so depending on your climate can be comfortable under foot, and radiant heat can warm up the floor as needed.  They’re easy to clean, and don’t attract allergens like other more porous floors.  The look of a concrete floor can be altered and customized with acid-staining process. The stain, a mixture of hydrochloric acid that reacts with the concrete so it changes the color of the concrete, never fading or chipping.  After staining, a layer of wax is applied, followed by a layer of sealant, giving the finished kitchen floor a rich, burnished sheen. Maintaining acid-stained concrete floors is easy, requiring only a mop and periodic polishing.  The costs for installing and staining a concrete floor are very reasonable, at about $3 to $15 per square foot, depending on what type of stain and sealant are used, and whether an artisan is used to create patterns or decorative effects on the floor.  It is, however a very hard surface to walk on if you love to cook and spend a lot of time in the kitchen.


Linoleum is one of the most enduring and popular materials used.  Durability is one of the biggest advantages, lasting many years with proper cleaning and maintenance.  

Because it has the same color through the thickness of the flooring, so doesn't show dings and divots.  It’s softer under the feet than other surfaces, and is therefore quieter than most flooring.  Another big plus is that it’s made of renewable resources, and it’s recyclable. It’s water proof, so a spill can be easily cleaned up.  Linoleum traps moisture and can damage a concrete subfloor that sweats as well as during the actual installation of linoleum.  It’s more costly than vinyl but is completely recyclable, unlike vinyl, so it’s a great environmentally friendly choice.

In conclusion:

Do you have further questions or concerns?  Are these ALL the choices? In a nutshell, there are a few other options, but these are the ones that I’ve had some experience with in my design practice and can recommend, depending upon your budget and tastes.  What questions come to mind as you read this entry?  Send me a message and I’ll do my best to answer.  I always have time for my readers. Need more help?  Check out my website at and contact me.  I’d love to help you!