Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Design Process?
In a nutshell, upon initial contact we will gather as much information as possible about your needs and desires for the space. We then schedule an in home consultation to see the space in person, listen to your ideas and vision, discuss the design process and provide you with solid ideas and a direction for your project. We will email you a Fee Proposal within 3-5 business days following the consultation, outlining the scope of work, the estimated number of hours to complete your project, the minimum estimated design fee, and the advance on our design fee required to get started. Once the advance on our design fee has been paid, that signals the start of the project. We return for measurements, begin to assemble trades to acquire quotes, and work on the comprehensive design plan. Every detail is accounted for - drawings, furnishings, finishes, fabrics, and the budget breakdown for final approval. One revision is included. We require 90-100% of the total budget and signing of the Furnishings Proposal to move forward with the purchasing and project management phase.
It helps if all the decision makers are present at the consultation, to receive everyone's input and vision for the space. Determining your budget is a key component, so be prepared to talk about an overall budget range. If you need help setting a budget, we are happy to guide you through the process of establishing one. We like to set expectations from the very beginning and therefore we will discuss your vision, your budget, your timeframe, how we work, and our fee structure at the initial meeting.
What Exactly Does Full Service Interior Design Mean?
Full service means creating a turn-key design for your project, from initial concept to the final installation. It is about letting our team handle all the details from research to selection, purchasing and coordinating to installation. Full service applies to a full room or group of rooms or entire home in a single installation. Many of our clients like to work in phases, and so many of our full service projects are done one complete room at a time. Full service applies even if you already own some of the pieces we will use to complete your project.
Do You Offer Custom Options, And Do I Have To Go Fully Custom?
We do offer many options that are customized to the individual needs of each client and the space we are designing. This could include upholstery, drapery, bedding, and finishes on case goods. Custom touches help give a space the uniqueness most clients desire. Of course, not everything has to be custom. We work with a lot of trade vendors and would be happy to incorporate ready-made items into your design. Keep in mind that custom does not automatically mean expensive. Regardless of whatever route you choose, we guarantee that the finished design will be personalized to suit your lifestyle and your taste
Can I Change My mind If I Have Ordered A Custom Piece?
Once an order is placed and acknowledgement received from vendor it cannot be cancelled. This is especially true for custom orders. These require extra time, special handling and skilled artisans to create a unique piece just for you, and for that reason manufacturers will not cancel custom orders. Stocked items can be cancelled but tyically a restocking fee is charged. These fees range from 15% to 35% depending on vendor
How Involved Will I Have To Be In The Design Process?
We will discuss upfront how you prefer to work, and craft the scope of work with that in mind. We enjoy working with all personalities where some clients like to be very hands-on and involved in the process, or some who prefer to entrust everything into our very capable hands. We have found through years of experience, that the design process runs smoother, and your design dollars go further, when we fully manage the project after learning your needs and desires for your home. We value our clients' ideas and input which ensures that the space will reflect your style and lifestyle. We will present you with great choices and options, make recommendations and guide you through decisions while educating you in the process. We strive to make the process simple and fun for our clients. We take a very personable approach, and make it an enjoyable collaboration. We ask that you give us the chance to earn your trust. We do all the work and take care of all the details.
How Long Will It Take?
Depending on the scope of work, your project could last anywhere from 12 weeks to 24 weeks - longer if there is construction and remodeling involved. We will discuss the timeframe upfront with you before the project begins. We have options for rush service and will be happy to accommodate your needs. Rush services usually will result in higher design fees and higher product and administrative fees
Who Are Your Typical Clients?
We have clients from all walks of life - from young professionals moving into their first apartment or home, to empty-nesters getting ready to downsize, career-driven individuals, bachelors, bachelorettes, public figures, high networth individuals, families with young children, and every other lifestyle imaginable. The common thread is that they all desire a home that will be their sanctuary; one that will complement their lifestyle and taste. Regardless of what station you are in your life, we would be happy to work with you for your design needs.
The clients that we work best with are clients who see value in the creative process, and value the experience, expertise and processes of a professional design team. They are typically clients who will trust us to do what we do best. They are decisive and ready to take action. They are willing to invest in what they truly want their home to look and feel like. They understand the value of high quality design work.
Do You Offer Free Consultations?
We do charge a non-refundable fee for our initial in home consultation since we are blocking out a specific time on our calendar and traveling to your home to assess the space, make recommendations, give solid design advice and direction, and put togther a Fee Proposal for you.
Most clients understand that this is a minimal cost compared to not calling in a professional from the beginning and possibly end up making costly mistakes. Clients have thanked us for the information and guidance that they receive during our consultation, and for them, it is absolutely worth the small investment into making their home one that they can be proud of
Click here to schedule a consultation
What's Included In The Initial In Home Consultation?
After the initial phone conversation, once we have determined that we are prospectively a good fit, the next step is the in home consultation. The appointment lasts up to two hours. This is a working session where we will provide you with valuable and expert guidance, ideas and information to get you on the right track with your project.
We will take a tour of your entire home, and help you focus on a defined project scope. We discuss your style and lifestyle needs, your vision (and ours), your budget (we help you estimate one if you are unsure), timeframe based on scope, manage your expectations about the process (the good and the not-so-good things that can happen and how we resolve them), review our tried and true design process in more detail, and details about how we work, how we bill for our services and how we manage every detail of your project.
Do You Have A Signature Style That You Prefer?
While we have a definite design point of view of bold, eclectic and storied interiors, we also pride ourselves on our flexibility and ability to produce the right design for our clients. It is all a part of our commitment to excellence. Most of our clients seek us out for the bold interiors we typically create, but we are happy to speak to you regardless of your design style.
Can I Use My Existing Furniture?
Definitely yes. In fact, we encourage clients to incorporate some of the treasured pieces that they already own. That is what makes for a homey and unique design.
We respect our clients' desire to repurpose and reuse pieces as much as possible.
With that said, we are also very honest about what works and what doesn't - for example if a piece is just too big for the room, we will recommend moving it to another room where it might work better.
What Geographical Areas Do You Serve?
We are located in Katy but cover most of Houston. We have serviced clients as far as Baytown, Magnolia, The Woodlands, Galveston. If we are a good fit, then where you live doesn't matter as much. If you are located outside of Houston and you like what you have seen in our portfolio, and how we work, we would be happy to talk about your design needs, and can figure out the logistics from there - even if you are international.
Is There A Minimum Product Budget Required?
While we technically don't have a defined minimum product budget for your project, a very important part of the value that we bring to you is to help you develop a budget. We advise you of what the ideal investment range could be for your project during our initial conversations. Of course, we cannot know what that actual budget will be until we begin the design process.
We understand the importance of having a defined spending plan from the very beginning, and we take pride in helping our clients realize their design vision at a price point that works for them. We find that a typical starting point for any room for a full service project would be around $35000.
Our approach is that we want to design your
grand vision. This means that our focus is on the ideal design that will address all your needs first and foremost, and then we focus on the budget. As we create the design plan for your grand vision, we are very careful to keep the budget range we discussed in mind, but we still design with the creative freedom that is required to produce our best work for you. This means that we will show you the perfect solution for your home even if it takes you beyond the budget range we estimated. We can then discuss the direction we want to go from there and we will guide you every step of the way to ensure the integrity of our initial design remains intact.
What Are Your Design Fees And Is There A Minimum Fee?
Because each project is unique, we need time to discuss your vision for the project and the scope of work, after which we will be happy to prepare an Interior Design Fee Estimate Proposal for you.
We present our design fee as a flat fee, but it is based on an hourly model. This means that we estimate the total number of hours we believe will be required to complete your project. This way, you know upfront what your overall fees will likely be. Any overage from our initial estimate are billed at our standard hourly rate.
Although these fees are estimated upfront, staying within the scope typically will not result in increases. You will be informed about the hours used during the design process. Our minimum design fee (regardless of hours) for a full service project is $9500
Our payment options are checks, credit cards and cash
Do You Have A Studio Location And Resource Library?
As one of Houston's top interior design firms, we feel it is important to have a well stocked resource library to help inspire our clients. Our design studio located at 6193 Highway Blvd, Suite 207 in Katy is equipped with hundreds of catalogs and thousands of fabric samples, wallcoverings and window treatment samples that you are welcomed to schedule an appointment to come in and browse.
We also frequently visit the Houston Design Center, the Decorative Center Houston, and attend several market events in Dallas, TX and High Point, NC and international shows like Maison & Objet to source items and stay on the cutting edge of design trends.
Do You Work With Small Budgets?
A big part of what we do is to help our clients set a suitable budget for their needs. There are several misconceptions in the marketplace today about what design and decorating cost.
We help educate you on the value of design and how to maximize whatever your budget is.
The minimum budget to consider before embarking on any full service design project is around $35,000 per room not including design fees.
Do You Offer Discounts?
In our practice, we focus on good design and the expertise and value that we bring as design professionals to your project. Because our buisness model is that we are your interior design service provider, as well as your retailer, we do offer the best pricing possible to our clients. Our pricing model is that we will always offer products at less than the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) on full service projects.
Can I Order Just Custom Window Treatments, Pillows and Bedding?
Yes! You don't have to do a full room project if you are just looking for custom soft furnishings like drapery, bedding and pillows. We are happy to meet with you in your home, take measurements and design the perfect soft furnishings for you. Learn more here
Do You Think Remodeling And Decorating My Home Will Be A Wise Investment?
Your home is quite possibly the biggest purchase you will ever make. Decorating your home helps to increase its value and is usually well worth the investment. Statistics show that a well decorated home will sell faster and for top dollar. Your home is where you likely spend the most time; investing in a space that creates balance and harmony in your life is a great investment in your well being.
Reach out to us to discuss your project scope and we can guide you through the right decisions you should be making to make it a great investment
How Do I Get Started?
You can reach out to us and book a free 30 minute discovery session. We are happy to answer your questions and explain briefly about the design process. We can then decide on a mutual date and time to meet in your home for the initial consultation. If you have been collecting any ideas about your style and preference, please feel free to share them with us. Discuss your ideas with your spouse or other decision makers. It also helps to determine what you would like to spend on your project and the timeframe for completion.
You can also schedule the consultation
How Do You Work With Trades People?
Because we are not general contractors, we do not hire the sub-contractors who will carry out our designs in your home. You are responsible for hiring all the trades people involved, and making sure they have proper documentation and are qualified to do the work. Trades people include general contractors, architects, builders, remodelers, building designers, plumbers, electricians, wallpaper hangers, painters, handymen, installers, faux finishers, re-upholsterers, audio/video/security installers, landscape architects, carpenters, fabricators, tile-setters, other flooring installers. We will happily meet with the contractors and sub-contractors you hire to review our design plans, drawings, materials and other specifications. Your trades people are responsible for verifying all dimensions before beginning work.
In the event that you don't have contractors, or you don't have the time to research, we will provide you with a list of trades people that we may or may not have worked with in the past. It is your responsibility to interview them and properly vette them before signing a contract and paying for their services. We act as your advisor and will assist you, if needed with what questions to ask and points to cover in your meetings with trades people. We can even attend the initial meeting upon request. We will not be interviewing the trades people on your behalf, but instead will discuss design concepts and their feasibility, and will later advise you of our observations and expert opinion based on that meeting. We include as part of our service, 2 meetings with each trades person to review our design plan and materials specifications.
We hire trades and artisans responsible for custom window treatments and installation, custom bedding, and custom upholstery (not re-upholstery)
How Soon Should I Reach Out For My New Build Or Renovation Project?
Great question! Many clients don't realize that they should hire an interior designer from the very start. From the time you even begin to dream about your new home or renovation to your existing home, the help and guidance of an interior designer will be the best investment you will ever make.
Even if you have an architect drawing up the plans, we can work with them to make sure your home meets your needs for your lifestyle, style and routines. Your architect is responsible for things like, how your home sits on the lot, the exterior and the room layouts. They typically work from the industry standards and don't always take into account how you will live daily in your home and how your furnishings will fit in the big picture.
Your builder or remodeler, is responsible for executing the plans that are already drawn up, and they typically don't handle anything to do with the design of your home or the materials selected. Even if they have a dedicated design center or partner, a lot of your lifestyle needs are not typically accounted for.
In hiring in us, we will review the plans to make sure they work for you way beyond the construction phase. We will select all the materials for you, make site visits during construction to ensure materials installations and layouts are being executed according to plan. The ideal situation is to work alongside your team, as a team with a common goal of making your house a home for you. Our goal is to create your dream home that will not just be beautiful, but will function for your needs and be comfortable and inviting.
So, the short answer is, hire a designer right away! We hope that we are the firm you will entrust with the design of your home. Head to our
BLOG to read several articles on this topic, or book a discovery call to learn more.
In Your Blog Posts You mention Affiliate Links, What Does That Mean?
Veronica has been writing her blog since 2010 and enjoys sharing design tips and ideas, as well as educating clients and prospective clients about the world of interior design and what to expect working with us. Very recently, we made the decision to monetize the blog, which means that we have partnered with some of the retailers that we admire to share their products with you through their affiliate programs.
If you purchase through the product links we share, we receive a small commission, usually up to about 8% of the cost. This is just a thank you from the retailer for sending a new customer their way, and it deos not cost you the consumer any extra.
We are committed to only sharing products we love and would use ourselves.
We are also well aware that we have a following of people who admire our work, but may not be in the position to hire us at this time. We love to guide them in making great purchases for their home if they go the DIY route.
We have curated some of our favorite products on
Etsy, Amazon and Like To Know.
Do I Have To Purchase All My Furnishings Through You?
We always strive to make the design process easy and fun for our clients. A major part of what we do for you as your designer is we source all the beautiful and unique materials for your home, along with all the great furnishings to create that fully finished home, with all the gorgeous layers that will be just your style and personality.
But we also act as your retailer. Instead of designing a beautiful space for you and then handing you the plans to go off and do your own purchasing and managing of all the small details, we do that all for you. You're going to buy furniture anyway, so we do require that all the furnishings that will be purchased for your project be done through us. That way we can manage and control all the fine details and issues that come up with the procurement phase.
We have cultivated relationships with our trusted suppliers, vendors, artisans and trades people in every product/service category imaginable, who value our business and will offer us the best service and pricing.
When you purchase your furniture through us, you never pay full MSRP. At the design presentation meeting, you are presented the full budget breakdown for every piece of furniture we are purchasing for you. This way you have a very good understanding of what you are paying for every item. Any adjustments that you request are made on detailed spreadsheets and presented to you for approval. Nothing is ordered until you approve, sign off and pay the deposit required upfront. We make the process of ordering through our firm very clear and transparent for you.
Our team is fully equipped to manage all the issues that may come up with purchasing, logistics, storage of your furnishings to final installation and styling in your home. You don't have to lift a finger when you work with us. We guide you through the initial design decisions and then we fully execute the design for you, down to the light bulbs and candlesticks.
Of course we are happy to incorporate pieces you already own into your design as much as we can, as long as they work.
Do You Do Project Management & What If I don't Need Project Management?
We work with our clients in several different capacities when they are undergoing a renovation or new build project. We will discuss upfront the scope of work and our deliverables so we are on the same page. We will advise you about what the right steps should be to ensure the best result for your project.
While we do not provide general contracting services on new builds and renovations - that is, coordinating all the trades people and materials, we do prefer to handle the project oversight to make sure the designs we provide are being carried out as they were designed by us. Project oversight is a very important part of a well executed project, and we encourage our clients to allow us to remain involved in this phase. This will take a lot off your plate so you don't end up with decision fatigue.
We make several site visits during the project, communicate with the GC and report back to you. We are sure to observe installation practices, site conditions and verify that the correct materials are being installed. This requires attention to detail, familiarity with the exection of good design and great communication skills.
The seemingly minute details are the things that will make or break the design and how you will use your space long after construction is over. Things like tile transitions, curb heights, tile layouts, electrical and plumbing placements, trim and cabinet details and much more. These decisions often require quick answers to keep the project moving forward.
While we provide detailed drawings to make sure everyone understands what to do, jobsite questions are to be expected. Let us handle that for you.
Will You Work With My Contractor And Subcontractors?
We are happy to work with your contractors and subcontractors. We will do our part to provide detailed information and communicate with them at every stage of the process.
Because we have your best interest at heart, we will also assist you with onboarding contractors if you don't already have ones you trust. This means that we will refer some of the contractors that we have vetted and have long standing business relationships with, or help you identify and interview new contractors.
We will educate you on the right questions to ask, what licenses and documentation you should look for, provide them with the detailed scope of work and review estimates.
Our goal is to make the process of working with a contractor easy and stress-free
Will I Have The Opportunity To See And Sit On Pieces Before I Buy?
Your comfort and pleasure is always at the forefront of our minds, and we understand that sometimes you may want to see and sit in the pieces before we order. We want to honor that as much as possible, but since we are not a furniture showroom, we will most likely not have pieces for you to sit and test before we order.
What you can rely on is that we establish relationships with quality trade vendors and we take the time to learn all about their product lines, so we know how the products we specify are made and can guide you through the features and benefits of each product.
We also visit markets twice per year, to see, touch and feel these products on behalf of our clients, so we have a very good idea of what they look like and how they sit.
If sitting in an upholstered piece is an absolute must for you, we will try our best to source from a local trade showroom and have them handle the logistics. This can sometimes create issues in and of itself, but we would manage that process throug to delivery. Keep in mind that most showrooms do not stock all their upholstery frames, and even if they do, you are likely not buying the one you actually sat in. They will be ordering from their suppliers just like we would.
We take the time to understand what your specific needs are in an upholstered piece - how deep, how high, how tall, the cushion type etc, to help make the best decision with you.
What Can I Expect On Installation Day?
We like to call it THE BIG DAY! because it is truly what we are all working towards. There is a lot that happens before we get to the big day and we coordinate everything behind the scenes.
By the time we get to installation day, all your beautiful wallpaper, millwork, painting, draperies and light fixtures are already installed.
As you may already know, all the furnishings go to our warehouse and then they are white-glove delivered and carefully placed in your home by our team and then styled to perfection for the big reveal.
A few weeks before the big day, we will reach out to schedule. We will send an installation day letter that details what to expect and how to prepare.
If there are furnishings that we need to move out, we will help you coordinate if needed. We arrange for an organizer and cleaner if those services are needed as well. The final balance is collected at this time.
We ask that our clients not be home during installation, and animals put away, because your home will be a bit of a major staging area before it gets pretty. We try to move quickly through the installation to get you back into your home as quickly as possible.
We strive for the big reveal moment that you will be blown away by, and so all vignettes are styled to perfection down to the candlesticks.
How Do I Know You Are The Right Fit For My Project?
That is a great question and we are happy you asked!
We understand that we are embarking on a project that will last quite a few months - maybe years if it is a new build. Therefore it is important that we get to know each other and establish trust.
Trust, great listening skills and communication is very important to us and we strive for that from the onset.
We begin the process with a discovery call for up to 30 minutes, where we will learn more about the project scope and what your "grand vision" is. We will then meet for a consultation in your home, where we get to understand your lifestyle, how you want to live in your home, how you want it to feel, what is important to you and your family now and in the future.
The consultation is a comprehensive session where we provide a lot of value, but we keep it fairly laid back and organic, and allow you to open up about what your ideal home is to you.
Of course, we share a lot of information on our webiste, blog posts and social media, and our design work should give you a good idea of the types of projects we have worked on in the past. Our great testimonials speak of the outstanding relationships we have built with our clients, many of whom are repeat clients or referrals. We are happy to provide references if that is ever needed.
We are our clients' biggest advocates, and when you hire us, you save time and money. You don't have to lift a finger because we take care of it all for you.