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Answering Architectural Digest's "7 Questions to Ask an Interior Designer Before You Hire Them"

Let's dive right in...

How do you decide which projects are a good fit for you and your firm?

My process is completely different for each project because each person is unique. I try to create a casual and comfortable environment for my clients. It's difficult to pinpoint what would make a project a "good fit" because I've designed for such a diverse group of people. A. Robinson Interiors' main focus is furniture selection so I'd say as long on your project involves the selection of a few key pieces we're good to go!

Do you welcome client involvement or do you prefer clients to be hands-off?

Client involvement! At a certain point it can become hands off but I definitely need input from the client while developing a concept. I also like to send pictures and do presentation to get the "ok" from the client.

What elements define your style? Where do you find inspiration?

When I'm space planning I focus on the client and how they plan to function in the space. The functionality of the space is the most important design element. I don't start focusing on the concept or aesthetic until the client feels like this is a room they can actually live and function in. Once that's all set the fun part starts! I usually ask my client what inspires them: what colors do they like? What do their Pinterest boards look like? It's more important for me to understand my client than it is for me to project my style onto them.

What do you find most challenging about designing a home?

Finding the best products at the right price point. Everyone has a budget and I respect it but I also respect quality products that will last and leave the client feeling satisfied. It's just about finding the right balance.

What is your project-management style like?

Expect the following deliverables when working with me: floor plan(s), samples/images of product(s), a quote, and shipping updates. I typically put together a pdf with images and gather as many physical samples as possible. Once that is approved by the client I put together an invoice, collect payment, and place orders. As product comes in I'll stop by to help with placement and accessories.

What is an example of a mistake you made on a project, how did you handle it, and what did you learn from it?

I was ordering Hunter Douglas window treatments for a client and ordered the wrong size by 1/4". YIKES. Installation day comes and my installer informs me that the treatments won't fit in the window. This is a custom product so there's no refunds/returns/exchanges so I'm freaking out on the inside. I apologized to the client who was very understanding and got on the phone with Hunter Douglas. My instinct was to focus on getting a new order rather than attempting to return or exchange the incorrect ones. I ordered the new product with expedited shipping and got it installed within 2 weeks, no charge to the client. What I learned from this: 1) get a second set of eyes to compare my measurement notes against my actual order 2) focus on fixing the mistake and getting what the client needs THEN worry about the logistics.

What do you prioritize when planning a budget?

This is a challenge because a lot of clients won't tell me their budget at first but I really can't move forward without one. I work with budgets of all sizes. Last month a did one living room on a $3,000 budget and another on a $15,000 budget. The $3,000 budget was for a small rented apartment for a guy who recently graduated. The $15,000 budget was for a retired couple who has lived in their home for over 20 years. As long as I have a figure I can usually make it work!

More questions? Send me a message.


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