By Laura Purvis
I’m so excited to be able to introduce myself and my new addition to the magazine. My name is Laura Purvis and I have been in the interior design business for over 15 years. I started out with a custom window treatment workroom and then moved on to full service interior design. I love helping my clients achieve the home of their dreams, and I’m so glad I have the chance to share my love of design with you each month. I hope my experience and knowledge will give you some insight into your own home and ways to make your spaces more beautiful. Now let’s talk about working with an interior designer.
At some point or another whether purchasing a new home or remaining in your current one, most homeowners find themselves facing the decision to redecorate. They have an idea of what they want and might even have a budget in mind. They are then faced with the age-old questions of “Where do I begin?” and “How do I make my vision a reality?”
When homeowners need work done, professionals are immediately called in – plumbers, electricians, landscapers, etc. These are skilled individuals that are trained to perform a specific job that most other folks can’t do. Why then do so many people still shy away from using the services of a professional interior designer when making important decorative decisions and purchases for their home? Once considered a luxury for only the very wealthy, decorating services are more of a necessity for today’s busy homeowner who simply can’t afford to make costly mistakes or simply don’t have the time.
Working with a professional designer should be an enjoyable experience. Selecting the right person for the job is very important, as you will be working closely with this person for weeks or maybe even months. A successful collaboration between homeowner and designer can result in a beautiful space that will be enjoyed for years to come. The final results are always much more successful when the lines of communication are open and ideas are freely discussed.
To ensure that you find the right professional to help you with your design projects and to get the results you are looking for, keep in mind the following tips:
- During your initial consultation, ask to review the portfolio of the designer to be assured that they are capable of working in diverse styles. Be candid with your designer regarding such important elements as priorities, timing, budgets and tastes. This is also the time to judge whether your personalities are a good fit.
- Start a file of colors, patterns and designs that appeal to you. You may notice a chandelier, mirror, color combination or window treatment that you like. Once you clip and track these for a brief period, you will be better able to draw a conclusion as to your personal style. Communicate these tastes to your designer. Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram are great tools in helping you determine your style and the look you want for your home.
- Take an honest inventory of your existing décor to determine which pieces you want to keep. Assess your furnishings the way you periodically review your wardrobe. Redecorating doesn’t necessarily mean throwing everything out and starting new. If you have Grandma’s server that makes you think of her whenever you walk in the room, you might be able to incorporate that piece into the new design. Plan to keep the pieces you truly love and put others on the “to be replaced eventually” list. Your designer can also help you with those decisions.
- Be honest! I always tell my clients that you have to be really honest about how you feel about the ideas presented to you. If you don’t like something, say something. If you hate purple, communicate that. You will be very upset with your designer if she shows up with a plan for purple walls in your living room! You need to be completely comfortable with yours and the designer’s choices. This is your home and you have to live there!
Based upon your initial consultation, your designer should present you with fabric samples, sketches and pictures for your evaluation. Since professionals have access to a world of options unavailable in retail stores and based on conversations you have with the designer, they should be able to narrow down the number of options to be the right ones for you and your project. Remember that the first two or three designs you are shown will, in the designer’s opinion, be the best looks for your home.
The last piece of advice is to enjoy the process! This can be a very exciting and positive change for you and your family and it should be fun. The most dramatic changes usually come from going outside your comfort zone a little, but if you have done your homework and chosen the right professional, your home will be a beautiful showcase for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. Most homeowners who have redecorated their home will be quick to tell you “I should have done it sooner!”
I hope you have enjoyed the first edition of “Wall to Wall.” Each month I will have a featured question of the month. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “QOM” and I will choose one question and answer to be featured in the “Dear Decorator” section.