Interior design is more accessible than it's ever been, thanks to TV and the internet. Consumers now have more awareness and accessibility to making their homes beautiful.
As a designer, I don't always agree with TV's portrayal of real interior design, but I am at least thankful that they have made it more mainstream. With that awareness there is also misinformation. TV programs are notorious for portraying grossly understated budgets and timelines, and especially what designers really do.
Designers are mostly portrayed as overcharging their clients and dragging out projects for far too long, when it's not reality. We design all day long and know what it takes to produce great design without a production team behind us. We understand budgets, we understand timelines, we understand how to manage trades, and we know how to manage our clients' expectations, because in the end, we are looking for a space that fulfills the wants and needs of our clients, not a made for TV space that does not function well.
It is with the spirit of educating clients, transparency and managing their expectations, that we made a commitment to meeting clients where they are. We understood that not all clients know what it really costs to design their homes, and when they do discover the real costs, they tend to do nothing and live with a home they are not happy with.
We decided as a firm to stand in the gap of full service interior design and a client not doing any design work due to budget and time constraints, and create flexible design services designed for clients who would love the help of an interior designer but cannot afford to hire them for a full design project, and in some cases, don't need full service design. We take on a few of these projects each year as our schedule allows
One such service is our Styling Sessions. This service is specifically designed for clients who have all or most of the furnishings needed to complete a room, but they were just missing that wow factor, or at a minimum, a pulled-together, cohesive look.
We found that there are clients out there who are very good at selecting the key pieces for their homes. They understand scale and layouts to some extent, but they just don't have the refined eye of bringing it all together with the embellishments and accents like rugs, artwork, accessories, window treatments. This is where our styling sessions come in, and have answered the needs of many clients over the last few years
We offer our styling sessions in two different ways:
Our One Day Makeover and our Finishing Touches. They work very similarly except one involves shopping, and the other is working entirely with things you already own
The One Day Makeover is a styling session that is working entirely with our client's existing furniture and accessories. We have found that some clients have amassed a treasure tove of goodies over the years - things from their travels, things they inherited and things they purchased. Because these items were purchased over a long period of time at different stages of their lives, or different style eras, some clients tend to think their items are worthless and don't go well together.
The truth is that each of us gravitate toward certain things - whether it is color, or shape, or style, or a motif, and these items usually have something in common, and can be used to decorate their home. If nothing else, these treasures tell their story, and each have memories linked to them, so it makes sense to display them for that reason.
As a design firm skilled at styling, we can often make anything work. It is all about the way they are displayed that will bring importance to them, or, in some cases draw attention away from them. So the seemingly random wedding present from the mother-in-law, can become a show-stopper in the room. Just let us handle it.
The One Day Makeover Option
The One Day Makeover is billed at a flat fee per room. It involves a one hour visit to your home on a previous day (fee included) to assess the space and see the items we have to work with. We generally take a tour of the entire home, where we will recommend items that can be moved to the subject room. We also provide advice about what items should be moved out before makeover day. If we think you need additional items, we recommend that you shop for the items prior to makeover day and suggest what items and places to shop for them. We can also do the shopping for you at a separate charge with a minimum budget requirement. Shopping fee is billed hourly with a minimum of 3 hours billed.
Shopping involves visiting local retailers such as Homegoods, At Home, Target, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate and Barrel etc to purchase items. These items are returnable, so following our styling session we will do a walk through to determine if there are items that you would prefer not to keep. If so, we will return the items. We do allow our clients to live with the space for up to three days before they can ask for items to be removed and returned.
Remove and return items involve more time on our part, therefore that time is billable. After all returns have been completed, we will do our budget reconciliation to see what, if any funds are due back to client from their shopping items budget. In some cases, our clients end up owing a balance for additional items that we purchased above the budget
The way we shop for items is that we will purchase items above and beyond the budget you allocated. This is not to frivolously spend your money, or disregard your budget. This is because it is very difficult to know how much of these small items will be needed to complete the space. Therefore, we pick up items that we think would work and then reconcile the budget later. In some cases we use all of the items on styling day, and they may have exceeded your shopping budget. You will have the opportunity to have items removed to stay within that budget, or keep the items, which means that we will bill you for the additional cost. In some cases, we used items below your budget and will refund the difference after return and reconciliation of budget.
Any return that we initiate from items we did not use, are not billed for time. Any returns from items requested to be removed by client are billed at our normal hourly rate. Returns and reconciliation of the budget are usually done within a week following makeover day.
Hiring us for a One Day Makeover involves some trust. We understand that trust is earned, but we also believe that our body of work, our reputation, our reviews and testimonials, our expertise, and our solid presence in the community garners trust. The service is not ideal for clients who like to be completely involved in the decision-making process, as the shopping items are not presented and approved in advance. This service is for clients who understand their limitations when it comes to decorating their home, and will trust our vision for your home.
We do our best to listen to your likes and dislikes, we ask the right questions to know what items to purchase and what not to, and we try our best to use what you own first
The makeover day involves a handy man onsite for two hours. He is responsible for hanging all the artwork and wall decor, and minor furniture arranging. If you have heavier items like a sectional or a piano, you will be advised at the consultation to have those items moved prior to makeover day. We can of course arrange for our movers to do that for you, at an additional charge - typically at our cost, plus any time involved in coordinating this for you. We reserve the right on makeover day to cancel and reschedule if our recommendations to remove or move heavy items were not carried out.
The Finishing Touches Option
The Finishing Touches Option for our styling sessions also involves a previous meeting to your home which the fee built into the service. This session is for clients who have most of what they need but still need some of the major pieces like artwork, rugs, accessories, plants and greenery and window treatments. No furniture is involved in this service - strictly accessories and accents. If any furniture is needed, we will recommend our full design service. These are often items that need some customization or specific sizes, colors, shapes, and cannot be picked up at local retailers.
The Finishing Touches session involves some shopping, but this shopping happens through our to-the-trade vendors, which is why this service takes 4-6 weeks from initial meeting to makeover day. Much like our full service design, the items are ordered and sent to our warehouse. They in turn unbox the items, inspect them for damages, repackage them, store them, and then white glove deliver them on makeover day. This means there are freight fees involved as well as fees to our warehouse for their services. If items arrive damaged, we have to file a claim and that can delay the process.
Like the One Day Makeover service, some items may be purchased locally from retailers, but the bulk of the items will come from our trade vendors. Any item we purchase from our trade vendors cannot be returned unless they are damaged. Even if they accept a return, it will be with a restocking fee that can be up to 35% plus the cost to ship back the item. This therefore means that we do not accept returns on these items.
We will do a mini presentation and a budget breakdown of these items, so you will see them before we purchase. The smaller styling items purchased locally are not shown prior to makeover day for obvious reasons - it is items we find as we are out shopping and they cannot be planned for ahead of time
We follow the same process where we may come in over the budget allocation, but usually on the styling items purchased locally. In that case we can return what you don't need.
Reconciliation of budget is within two weeks following the styling session for our Finishing Touches service. This is because freight bills need time to come in and be processed. We will estimate freight, receiving, storage and delivery upfront, but we do not know the actual costs until much later. We bill for any amounts above the initial estimate and refund any amounts below the freight estimate.
As with our One Day Makeover, we prefer to work with clients who will trust us and the process, and will not need to make decisions on every single item. It is not possible to do that for small styling items without billing for extra time; which defeats the purpose of this service.
In general our styling sessions are good for the following clients:
Your busy schedule leaves no room for decorating and organizing your home or small commercial office space
You are on a tight budget but still desire a beautiful, well pulled together space
You entertain and have people over a lot and wish that your home was more inviting
You are planning a party or event soon
You want to decorate for the holidays and seasonally
You have a recent life change: Downsizing, single again, marriage, new baby, blended family
You are looking for the ideal gift for a newly wed couple, house warming, first apartment etc.
You are leasing and don't want to spend a ton of money on property owned by someone else
You have clutter that's way out of control
You own great furniture pieces but your home still does not feel well pulled together
You cringe at the thought of shopping for furniture and accessories on your own
You simply desire a beautiful, inviting home
This service is not ideal for certain personality types. You must review our policies before signing up for this service as you are giving up some control and trusting that we will deliver a great product in the end. While we try to help you to visualize the end result, we cannot do that for certain without significant fees for computer aided drawings and visualization.
We have eliminated the phases that we don't think are needed for a service like this to keep the cost very low. We try to be very diligent and transparent in explaining that this is not similar to a full service project where clients pay us significant fees to manage every detail of their project.
This is an opportunity to work with an award-winning, well-established design firm for a fraction of the cost and still get great service and an amazing end result.
Our styling sessions start at $1997 and can be booked right from our website. If you have questions, we would love for you to book a discovery call and we would be happy to answer them for you.
Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!