Posts tagged ‘furniture purchasing’

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.

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August 4, 2011

Ze Germans have done it again

by rebecca elisabeth design

Check out this brilliant, budget seating, the hockenheimer by NJU Studio. What could be more reduce, reuse, recycle? (ok maybe not reduce because you are going to get those magazines anyway).  Hocken translated is to squat and heimer is a slang version of home, so squat home. Check out the little animation they have created to demonstrate how simple this invention is.

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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 26, 2010

Beautiful furnishings I saw at market.

by rebecca elisabeth design

Market comes but twice a year – typically spring and fall.  For those of you that don’t know what I mean when I say ‘market’, it is when trade-only design centers show their newest product and put on educational seminars for design professionals.  This is where interior designers can see new trends, expand their knowledge, and get inspired.  Interior designers in Southern Californians are a little spoiled, as we have access to some of the largest and best design centers in America. While I spent most of my short time at market this year in seminars, I was able to snap a few iPhone shots of some of the beautiful things that we, as design professionals, have access to, to create gorgeous unique designs for our clients.

#1 Fantastic Glam Chandalier and Bronze Sculpture - 2010 Market

Fantastic Glam Chandelier and Bronze Sculpture - 2010 Market

Wow, this chandelier (Fantastic Glam Chandelier and Bronze Sculpture – 2010 Market) – what a statement this would make in someones home. Thin chains hung from oval bands of dye-cut metal, drape luxuriously around the light source, creating amazing light and shadow patterns on the surrounding walls. The juxtaposition of this glam fixture paired with this organic edged walnut table with hammered metal legs is where design is headed. Mixing and matching vs. matchy matchy is the new way to go.

Ecletic Living Room - 2010 Market

Eclectic Living Room - 2010 Market

This living room is a classic beauty with clean lines, warm neutral coloring and easy style  would look great in many homes. While the furnishings are of the highest quality and look picture perfect, what’s really cool here is the rug.  I’ve included a close up of the rug in picture #3- [Detail of Rug from Eclectic Living Room – 2010 Market], the texture, warmth and intrigue this rug adds to the room is priceless.

Traditional Dining Set - 2010 Market

Traditional Dining Set - 2010 Market

While this photo [Traditional Dining Set – 2010 Market] isn’t super clear, don’t overlook the stunning turning on this inlay dining room table leg.  Plus, this 3 light chandelier is amazing for the traditionalist.

Dining Vignette - 2010 Market

Dining Vignette - 2010 Market

This final photo is a quaint little dining vignette with great art which makes the space pop.

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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.
March 6, 2010

how do u feel about designer purchasing

by rebecca elisabeth design

Below is great caption that I found, which eloquently explains the value designers bring to the purchasing process.  In an article, by Gail Dolby on Decorati, geared toward designers, on adapting to the ever-changing and internet savvy consumer, she also takes time to address consumer concerns.

… Consumers: Ask your designers how they handle purchasing and mark-ups. Designers work very hard to create a fabulous result for you, and if they do purchasing on your behalf, it is a valuable service that saves you time and expensive mistakes. Most designers take care of problems that you don’t know about and just make it right for you at their expense…
full article

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