Archive for ‘RED on How to Work with a Designer’

August 15, 2012

Should you really hire a designer when building a home?

by rebecca elisabeth design
The better question is, can you afford not to hire a designer? Designers work daily with vendors, contractors, architects and anyone else that works on a home.  Project by project this extensive knowledge is developed and grows, and allows designers to add value to the design/build process by looking at it from the end perspective. Remember, designers are the closest to the actual home owner, in that designers work with the finished shell in the furnishing stage of home building.  Because of this, designers know the possible pitfalls and wrong turns that could come your way as the home is being built.

A few examples of some pitfalls, I’ve personally experienced in San Diego:
  • no place for window treatments to minimize glare from western exposure
  • door swings heading in the wrong direction
  • small closets in a large home
  • doors without screens and no windows in the room
  • lack of privacy in baths from neighbors or passerby
Designers will help and guide you through the process by:
  1. managing the decision making process to minimize stress,
  2. conveying decisions to the builder,
  3. overseeing the building process,
  4. looking out for your best interests and guiding you through this stressful time to ensure you get your dream home.

Consider this, creating lists and organize your project will likely take you 10 times longer than an experienced designer. Finding fixtures, fittings, appliances, furnishings, etc will take you 3-4 times as long as a designer who does this regularly. One of the problems is this, you only know of a few places to look for the things you need to specify, different showrooms show different things. You probably only know 3-5 brands.  You only have access to retail sourcing and, and, and.  If you do this yourself, you will be giving up your weekends and week nights, searching 1/4 of what is out there, likely get frustrated and loose sleep in the process. A designer can help mitigate these stresses. So, you need to ask yourself, what is peace of mind worth to you?

If you are on a tight budget you can still work with a designer but may have to work with them in a less convention way, to get the best results for your project. Consider paying a designer to review plans, walk framing, create space plans, suggest brands, schedule meetings to ask for advice, and make choices for your project from the selections you have found.  Please note that fees, for consultation only, are typically more expensive than hiring a designer to design your whole house, expect 1.25 – 2.5x the hourly fee, but trust me, this is well worth getting an expert opinion, especially on something that isn’t easily undone.

Please feel free to contact me  Rebecca, of REDinterior.com to talk about your project.

Follow us on Facebook or visit us online at REDinterior.com.

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September 20, 2011

Should you hire a designer to help build your house?

by rebecca elisabeth design
The better question is, can you afford not to hire a designer? Designers work daily with vendors, contractors, architects and anyone else that works on a home.  Project by project this extensive knowledge is developed and grows, and allows designers to add value to the design/build process by looking at it from the end perspective. Remember, designers are the closest to the actual home owner, in that designers work with the finished shell in the furnishing stage of home building.  Because of this, designers know the possible pitfalls and wrong turns that could come your way as the home is being built.
A few examples of some pitfalls, I’ve personally experienced in San Diego:
  • no place for window treatments to minimize glare from western exposure
  • door swings heading in the wrong direction
  • small closets in a large home
  • doors without screens and no windows in the room
  • lack of privacy in baths from neighbors or passerby
Designers will help guide you through the process by:
  1. managing the decision-making process to minimize stress,
  2. conveying decisions to the builder,
  3. overseeing the building process,
  4. looking out for your best interests and guide you through this stressful time to ensure you get your dream home.

Consider this, creating lists and organize your project will likely take you 10 times longer than an experienced designer. Finding fixtures, fittings, appliances, furnishings, etc will take you 3-4 times as long as a designer who does this regularly. One of the problems is this, you only know of a few places to look for the things you need to specify, different showrooms show different things. You probably only know 3-5 brands.  You only have access to retail sourcing and, and, and.  If you do this yourself, you will be giving up your weekends and week nights, searching 1/4 of what is out there, likely get frustrated and lose sleep in the process. A designer can help mitigate these stresses. So, you need to ask yourself, what is peace of mind worth to you?

If you are on a tight budget you can still work with a designer but may have to work with them in a less convention way, to get the best results for your project. Consider paying a designer to review plans, walk framing, create space plans, suggest brands, schedule meetings to ask for advice, and make choices for your project from the selections you have found.  Please note that fees, for consultation only, are typically more expensive than hiring a designer to design your whole house, expect 1.25 – 2.5x the hourly fee, but trust me, this is well worth getting an expert opinion especially on something that isn’t easily undone.
Please feel free to contact me  Rebecca, of REDinterior.com to talk about your project.
Follow us on Facebook or visit us online at REDinterior.com.
February 15, 2011

Showroom Designer vs. Independent Designer

by rebecca elisabeth design
When furnishing a home, there are a plethora of options that you can find at retailers and even more that exist offered “to the trade” (this means not offered to non-designers). While you can do it yourself, turn to a showroom designer or rely on an independent designer for help, I will explain the pros and cons of each so you can decide what is right for you.

Hire a independent professional designer. Be sure to look for certifications to ensure you are getting a professional designer.
The pros:
  • help from someone with years of training, experience, and education in design
  • some one who knows the best contacts and contractors
  • some one who has insider tips and industry tricks
  • some one who has day in and day out experience solving problems and come up with creative solutions to get your end results faster and with less cost and frustration
  • design unique to you
  • limitless options for design and guidance through those choices
  • knowledge of space planning
  • breadth of knowledge in multiple lines
  • no affiliation with specific product lines and therefore not biased
  • furnishings made to fit your space
  • “to the trade” lines which are only offered to designers so your neighbor won’t have the same things in their home
  • help with making all the detailed finish selections when building or remodeling (kitchen, baths, even the whole house)
  • access to quality crafts people for custom furnishings
  • get products at or below retail with design help.

The cons:

  • if a designer charges hourly plus product mark-up it can cost nominally more than high end retail (but often saves you in time and mistakes)
  • you can’t sit on custom designed furniture, so you have to rely on your designer understanding your needs and likes


Retail Designer. Designers found at retail shops.
The pros:
  • you get some help from people who work with their product day in and day out
  • expertise in a few product lines
  • you can see, sit on and touch a model of what you will buy

The cons:

  • these designers only make money if they sell you their product not what is necessarily best for you


Go it alone. Head out to retailers in your area and make your selection based on what you see in the store.
The pros:
  • you get things that are mass produced so you could wind up with furnishings your friends and neighbors have
  • you see, sit and touch exactly what you are going to order
  • economies of scale – retailers reduce their prices because they produce in mass and therefore the cost to you is usually low

The down sides:

  • your neighbors can get the exact same item at any time
  • limited by fabric selections offered
  • a lack of training in movement/flow of a well designed room, and the principles of scale and proportion of furnishings in a room
October 5, 2010

How an interior designer can save you time and money.

by rebecca elisabeth design


Certified Interior Designer, Rebecca Soechtig, with RED at http://www.redinterior.com explains how a designer can save you time and money while creating a home that is unique to you.

July 21, 2010

Can you afford an interior designer in San Diego or anywhere for that matter?

by rebecca elisabeth design
So let’s get to the nitty-gritty, the answer you really want to know…can you afford a design professional? There is no doubt about it, designers are a luxury item, that not everyone can afford.  If you don’t have a decent budget or you are a do-it-yourselfer, you probably shouldn’t hire a designer. You should analyze yourself and your budget before you head down the path of finding a designer.  This is critical, because if you don’t have the funds or the understanding of the value a designer brings to a project, you will both frustrate the designer and yourself in the quest to find a designer for your project. Fees you can expect to pay for a designer are as follows:

$35-50 an hour for a student designer.
They will have little to no experience in building and furnishings but may have great aesthetics to help you buy retail.

$65-85 an hour for a beginning designer
This may be a young designer with 1-5 years of experience in a design firm or a second-career designer that had other business experience to bring professionalism to the table. The later has most likely worked with a more experienced designer, for a year or two, to gain knowledge and sources for custom work. Source both custom and retail.

$90-175 an hour for an experienced designer
This is where most professional designers will fall. In this range, it is about selecting someone who you most connect with and whose portfolio you like. Sourcing in this category is 95% trade-only sources, in other words virtually no retail items will be used to design your home, thereby creating a unique look that you won’t see at your neighbor’s house in a month.

$180+ an hour for a “name” designer
In this category, designers have either been designing for 20+ years and have been able to demand these fees or they are a celebrity type designer.  The later has been extensively nationally published and is likely to have their own line of furniture, fabric or accessory. These designers often have a store front that requires higher fees for overhead. Sourcing in this category is 95% trade only sources, in other words virtually no retail items will be used to design your home.

If you are paying 90+ and are getting retail items, you are being over charged.  Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule.  If you need something in a day or a week it is likely you will get a showroom floor item or a retail item, as most custom furnishings take 6-24 weeks.  For example, custom rugs, made in Asia take about 4-6 months to be made and shipped. A professional designer should have sources, they use to design custom products for their clients, to create a home that is unique and customized to you.
April 23, 2010

In a down economy, should you be remodeling in San Diego?

by rebecca elisabeth design
As a way to cope with the current real estate and financial situation many, in San Diego and country-wide, are turning to “nesting”. The thought is “let’s make our home a haven” – the place we vacation every day. Whether that is your motivation or you have just been wanting to redo a room in your home, now is the time. With the San Diego market as it is, the best contractors/vendors still have business but are considering jobs of all sizes, and you don’t have to wait months or even years anymore.

With any project there is a laundry list of decisions to make, for some this can be daunting. An interior designer guides you through these decisions and keeps the entire project in mind with every decision – often times you lose this working with contractors, who make unilateral decisions rather than always keeping the whole in mind.

An additional benefit of working with an interior designer, is exposure to a plethora of products the public doesn’t have access to in retail shops. If you just need a second opinion, designers can offer you consultation services at an hourly rate. For the kitten-caboodle, a full service designer can help with space planning, finish selection, furniture selection, window treatments, hardware etc. etc. … Plus the same goes for interior designers, the good ones still have work but they are open to projects they may not have had time for a year ago.  Please feel free to contact me to set up a meeting to discuss your design needs.

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