FAQs Regarding Working With A Designer- Part 2

This is part two on the topic, FAQs regarding working with a designer. We hope after reading this, you will have a better understanding of why hiring a designer not only gives you a beautiful home, but can also increase your homes value and functionally among many other benefits!

When should a designer get involved in a new construction project, why?

  This is actually an invaluable service that should always be considered.  From our experience it is critical to have all team players (contractor/builder, designer) in place during the early planning stages.  This ultimately results in a quicker process, a more thoughtful design and will help keep you on budget. 
Can a homeowner typically save money by purchasing furniture/ lighting/ accessories though their designer, how so?
  Because we have access to more product and receive better discounts through the showrooms, we are able to offer our clients a custom look designed uniquely for them for pricing similar to what they might pay in a retail store.  Our clients come to us in order to achieve a design that is different from the typical “Pottery Barn” look that their neighbors have.  The quality that the designer can offer will also be higher and the pieces will last longer.  It’s important to stress that a designer will help keep you from making mistakes which ultimately saves you time and money in the long run.  Our clients confirm this on a regular basis!
How does hiring a designer in “real life” vary from the ones you see on TV? 
  Oh wow….do you have all day?!?!  In reality, the design process is nothing like what most TV show portray.  Most of the time the shows are not addressing time frame, a realistic budget or the “dirty” work that it takes to get a job done.  This is a huge frustration for “real life” designers because many clients will come to us with unrealistic expectations and be disappointed with the dose of reality we have to give them! 
What are some questions I should ask a designer before hiring her/him?
  What is your process, how do you charge, do you work in a particular style, how will I purchase through you, do I have to purchase through you or can I purchase on my own, what types of vendors/artisans do you work with, do you have a website where I can see your work and learn more about you, do you have references, are you certified in a particular field of design, what is the best way to communicate with you?  The list could go on and on, but this is a good start and the designer should fill in from there. 
Can you give us an overview of the design process when hiring a designer?
  We typically start with an initial phone conversation which then leads to a first meeting at the clients home.  From there we discuss the scope and budget for the project and are able to get a good glimpse of the clients taste, expectations and communication style.  We then create (with the client) a comprehensive plan that will allow us to get their project finished on time and on budget.  Depending on the project (remodel vs. furnishings) we will estimate the number of hours that it will take for us to complete the design phase.  You can read more on this at our website at www.fiddleheaddesigngroup.com if you would like more detail. 
Thanks Fiddlehead Design Group!