How to prepare for a Design Consultation
Hoping everyone has had a wonderful week- Happy Friday!
The part about my job that I love the most is meeting a new client for the first time! I love the excitement mixed with trepidation that I feel from the client the moment we begin to talk about the up and coming project. The excitement part is very contagious and the trepidation part becomes a personal challenge for me. I want to break through those anxious and uneasy nerves, by giving my clients the correct tools in order to help them with a successful renovation!
In my blog today I am going to give you a few helpful tips on how to use your time wisely with the Designer you choose to work with. My efforts here are to help create a clear line of communication with your Design Consultant so that you feel your time together has been well spent and that your expectations for the planning are met during the design phase. There is nothing worse that hind sighting a renovation- so make sure all of your needs and wants are very clear before finalizing on major and minor details!
Here are some tips on how to prepare for your Design Consultation~
1. Create a list of needs and wants for your Designer;
I find most clients do not do this. They will create a list after we have had our first consult and then share that list with me once I have returned with the initial design plans. I refer to as 'a HUGE waste of time'. When you do not communicate these details with your Designer, we tend to take details into our own hands only to find out we may be out in left field with the design planning. One mistake clients make often is the combination of having no list and the suggestion that they are 'open to anything'. This combination does not always ends well- 99% of the time these clients feel that their undeclared expectations have not been met and we are now off to a bad start. I find a list also helps with things like specific non- consumable or dry good storage- if you want a particular counter top appliance stored away perfectly in that new appliance garage then get that item out measure it and add it to your list! Not all counter top appliances are alike, and not all are universally standard. If you do not take the time to confront these details in a list for your Designer then you really do not own the right to be upset at the end of the project when you can't fit your commercial grade KitchenAid mixer into that new appliance garage. Take the time to write a list- EVEN if that list includes 'open to options/anything'. At least all parties have a copy and you feel that you have properly communicated with your Designer! I mean come on- who doesn't like a list!?
2.Create a design folder with inspiration images;
In lieu of the list I also highly recommend having some images available for the Designer so that you are communicating your design tastes. I find this also works well with specific inserts and pull outs in cabinetry. Not all cabinetry companies supply the same internal organizers and door styles, so having visual images helps the Design Consultant know which direction to lead you in when it comes time to price cabinetry, counter tops, fixtures ETC! Because we live in the future you also have the ability to share photos online with your Designer, you can email your inspiration images in an effort to help your Designer present you with exactly what you are looking for in the planning process AND you also save a tree doing it this way!
3. Prepare to have BOTH decisions makers available for the consultation;
I have made it policy to ask that all decisions makers in the household are present for my initial consultation and more importantly the 2nd visit when we start to look at the planning layouts and renderings. It is not rare to have one decision maker ask me for additional visits that are quite literally, just to reiterate what the other decisions maker was not privy to in the first round of meetings- unless you are wiling to pay for the time of the designer - that is not fair to the Design Consultant. When you are making such a large investment in your home it is very smart to try to organize a meeting when both decision makers can be a part of the planning process. I find that when both decision makers are present it creates an ease with information giving, you bounce ideas and remind each other of specific 'pet peeves' that you may have forgot to focus on while flying solo. You are a team and you have each others backs and as a bystander its really cute!
4. Be prepared to pay for the design work:
This all sounds like common sense - but it isn't always so common! Some Designers will come out for free and do up an initial round of planning and a second visit, some will communicate a fee with you upfront during a phone conversation. NO the Designer wont leave the plans without a deposit, NO the Designer is not going to make multiple visits without the need to invoice you for time and NO the Designer will not include multiple revisions for free. Find out what is included as the 'Design Package' before anyone's time is wasted. Make sure this is all very clear with the Design Consultant before setting the appointment- you will find that this helps to maintain a clear and open relationship with your Design Consultant right away!
5. Have a budget in mind that you are willing to share;
Here is a big one- MOST contractors and Designers will ask you what your budget is- and NO they are not asking so that they can price your job to the penny-or because they want to know what you have in your bank account. Generally speaking a good estimator or Design Consultant will ask these questions for you benefits. They will ask in order to make sure that there is a reasonable budget in mind for your project, so that you are avoiding taking a route that is not destine for you or your project! Share this info with the people you are creating rapport with- this small bit of information can make a WORLD of difference in keeping you in control of the process and with that control you will feel as though the planning portion is on the road to success~
Design Consultants are here to do the best job they can for your project, while of course, charging you for it- but at least by this point if you abide by the rules above and have made those lines of communication clear you will find that you have carved a clear path on the renovation road and you will be so happy that you invested in a Design Consultant who is dedicated to going down that renovation road with you hand in hand! AND if you are not the 'touchy feely type'- then we don't have to hold hands ;)
Stay happy, stay healthy, be kind to each other!