I have written so many posts, here and here on the money saving aspects of hiring a designer, the one I realized still needs to be written is this one. If you email me for my rates for an on-line consultation (for example), you will receive a document that outlines exactly what it [a consultation] looks like, how I need the pictures taken, no flash, etc, etc. And it’s headlined “What a happy hour or two with me will look like”.
1. Something about your space bothers you. It might be that the undertones of the existing finishes (that you have just installed or inherited) are wrong or the paint colour is simply wrong and sometimes need only a slight adjustment to get it right. (But it’s not enough to thrill you—until you paint the room–even though it’s the right thing to do).
2. You have bought new furniture or installed fixed finishes (tile/granite) and now you know something is wrong and/or it’s just not looking like you think it should but you can’t figure out exactly what the problem is. Because it will now cost money to fix, you might not be happy when you hear this advice.
I had one client who paid me for half an hour to choose a new colour for her kitchen and after we went through all the other possibilities we determined that the one she had was the best one based on how it flowed from her great room. At that point she confessed that she had chosen her granite without all her other finishes because it had to be substituted at the last minute. She was not thrilled but at least I saved her the angst of testing out other colours only to find that there was nothing better.
3. You have dated furniture and have recently purchased and added new furniture and now the combination doesn’t look right and you are worried that you’ve wasted your money. Or that you are throwing good money after bad trying to work with furniture you already don’t like. A client of mine today said “if you make one small mistake in the beginning it can get really big because now you are building something around it”.
4. You have bought all new furniture and the room still doesn’t feel quite right.
5. You are doing a renovation and you hire me to validate the choices you have made to make sure you are not making a mistake.
In the summer I arrived at a consultation to choose a white for kitchen cabinets. At the same time I was there to discuss the backsplash and countertops. My client had a huge river rock fireplace in the middle of the house. The hearth was in the living room, the other side was where the dining room was and then the kitchen (like a U shape). The kitchen island was probably 8 ft away from the fireplace and the stone was orange (well butterscotch tones, below) and gray blues.
She showed me the two granite samples, one was black and white and the other was in warmer tones that related much better to the fireplace. I immediately chose the one with the warmer/butterscotch tones in it and she said “Oh. You know when I got home I saw right away that this one was right but I wanted black and white, then when my friend came over she said, ‘Wow that one is perfect’ but we just kept talking about how much we loved the black and white piece”.
So then I asked if they would be changing the bossy fireplace anytime soon and she said “We have a long list of changes we need to make. By the time we ever get to the fireplace, this new kitchen would be dated”.
In this case because the kitchen was open to the living room and dining room, it’s pretty hard to ignore the fireplace. You could certainly chose to do so if you really wanted the newest most trendy kitchen, however the look I’m always trying to avoid is ‘New Kitchen—old Fireplace’, ‘New tile—old countertop’, ‘New ottoman, old sofa’. . . and we could go on. Mixing yesterday with today is tricky if you don’t pay attention or get the right advice.
What’s the bottom line? My client was NOT happy when I left her house that day. Because she understood that if she chose the granite she wanted, it would immediately kill the flow in her house. It’s pretty hard to ignore a focal point as large as a fireplace in the middle of the house.
And just so you know, it kills me when it goes this way. I so want my clients to ALWAYS be happy, it’s my mission in life to help you create a space that fills you with happiness when you walk in the door, so PLEASE call me (or a designer you trust) BEFORE you start making major purchases in your house.
Trust me, you will save money and as a client just said to me last week; Ugly costs the same as Pretty. Clients that call me BEFORE they make major decisions are so HAPPY that they did!
Okay, so here’s how to know if you should still schedule a consultation
1. Sometimes the right colour can go a long way towards fixing something. It might just be that your furniture is muted (dirty) and your wall colour is clean and a simple paint colour is all you need. Or a stronger colour to work with undertones that are clashing (in a bathroom) might be all that is necessary.
2. If you still need more furniture or more updates and you don’t want to make any more mistakes.
3. Sometimes knowing what is wrong can still make you feel better (if not HAPPY : ) because then you can choose to ignore something you can’t do anything about. Just like I’m ignoring my pinky beige carpets in my house because they are not strong enough to boss me around.
4. You still need a Plan. With a plan everything you do will move you closer to your goal, even if you don’t do it all at once. Then you stop making make false starts and wasted purchases.
Renovations and decorating your home are challenging enough without the certain knowledge that you have made the right choices on everything that’s about to be installed in your house!
Why you can’t afford NOT to Hire a Colour Expert
A ‘Somethings Gotta Give’ Kitchen Cabinet Dilemma
How to Choose Colour around a Stone Fireplace
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