6 March, 2012
Special Supplement to The Spokesman−Review
Vision Quest By Dawn Klingensmith | CTW FEATURES
Successful interior designers can combine new pieces with a client’s existing possessions and the architectural features of a home to create a spectacular “new” living space. In that manner, a designer is something of an alchemist. However, designers aren’t mind readers. Their magic only goes so far. When clients have no idea what they want, a designer can help them conceive a vision and plan. But clients with a detailed vision, or even just a vague one, need to communicate and cooperate with the designer so the finished room looks like what they had in mind, only better. The first step is to do some homework, and be prepared for some show-and-tell. Cut photos from magazines, gather paint chips and fabric samples and collect everything into a folder to give the designer an idea what you like. “A visual representation is better than if they try to put it in words,” says Chicago designer Summer Thornton. “Words mean different things to different people. Someone’s idea of elegant may be different from mine.” A good designer will be able to connect the dots into a cohesive design. “You see really quickly a running trend, what’s really catching their eye,” says Chris Ringenbach, Design Den Interiors, Henderson, Nev. Here are some tips on how to work with a designer to make the most of a remodel.
Be open-minded, flexible and willing to compromise, and be clear about nonnegotiable areas.
Be decisive and direct at the start regarding budget. Once there’s a shared vision, “I itemize the products I think we can use” and provide the client with a price estimate, Ringenbach says. Before she leaves,
the client must agree, or she will work with them to make adjustments. “They aren’t making a commitment at that time to buy anything,” she says, “but they have to agree on the ballpark figure” because that drives design decisions.
Other factors besides your taste and budget can guide the design process. Let the designer know if there are furnishings, artwork or other possessions that need to be incorporated into the design.
Interior designers usually ask about a client’s lifestyle and, more specifically, which activities will take place in the space.
Keep in mind each part of the design affects the whole. Changes, special requests and unexpected additions, including an unplanned purchase that may fit in perfectly, can require adjustments.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions at any point in the project, but consolidate them in a notebook or list to minimize calls to the designer. Repeated calls are inefficient and frustrating to the designer.
Once the design is finalized and approved, the designer usually takes responsibility for product orders, delivery and on-site installation, Ringenbach says.
In the end, an artfully designed room probably won’t look exactly like you envisioned, and that’s a good thing. Rather, it should reflect your personality and design sensibilities, yet look better than you dared to imagine. © CTW Features
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