Friday, January 28, 2011

Let's start a design project.

Ok, so you have decided to tackle your design project. Now what? Start by doing your homework on the potential people you think you might like to work with. Since I have discussed this part of the process in past blogs, let's skip to the next phrase, and that is what you the client need to have to meet with a Designer or Company you have chosen to work with.
     What should I bring to a first meeting?  Where the meeting is is in your home or at a showroom?
  • Pictures of spaces you like, this gives your Designer/Company a feel for your personal tastes and style. I find this gives me good insight on who you the clients are.
    • Magazines are a good place to start.
      • A few of my favorites -
        • Kitchen Trends/ Bathroom Trends
        • Signature Kitchen & Bath
        • Kitchen & Bath Ideas
    • Internet is another good source for photos, below are a few links to the publications above. For other photos use the images search option.
  • A budget range. Now I know this is the most difficult subject to discuss, because there still in not allot of places to find out what a project should cost. But this is a subject that needs to be addressed for these reasons.
    • The Designer /Company you decide to hire needs to have some idea where you want this to be.
    • It doesn’t help to design a project then find out it's outside the reach.
    • Give the Designer/Company a range if you’re not sure what the budget should be.
  • A time frame on when you want this project to start and end. This important because some projects are easier at a certain time of year for some clients. These are just a few timing questions to ask.
    • Trips- vacations
    • School, kids
    • Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter
    • Availability of Designer/Company
    • How long will project take from design to completion
  • Meeting - Where are you meeting? How long will the first meeting be?
    • If your hiring a Retail company- most have a showroom
    • If you hiring an independent Designer they may not have a showroom.
I personally like to meet at the clients home if I can. I get to see firsthand what problems may exist. I take pictures and measurements. Then I'm able to work on a preliminary plan. I will say the more information you give the Designer or Company the easier and smoother the design process will be. In the end it will help have the best experience and hopefully a successful project.

Good Luck on your projects!
Angie Keyes CKD

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How to hire the right Designer or Company?

     So, how do you hire your designer? These are my recommendations on how to hire the right designer for you. One place you can search for a qualified designer is the NKBA website. here is their link. Another would be to search the Internet for a qualified designer or company.
       Most designers/companies have websites today. They show before and after of their work, and should have testimonial's from clients.  Most list the services they provide and give a product list of things they carry. This is a good place to sort through the choices you might have in your area. Depending on your geographic location you might have several options. Others might only have a few.

       Ok, now you have sorted through your options and have selected a few to talk with or visit their showrooms. If you’re meeting with an independent designer. Ask to see a portfolio. Any solid designer will have one put together. You should ask for client references as well. Call and talk with past clients. This is an important step. We buy from people we like and trust. Some independents will offer full services and others will only do designs, and then send you out to hire the people to implement those plans. Either way be sure to check references, they are important. They may have recommendations for whom to talk with as well.
       These are a few questions I would ask those clients.
  1. Are you happy with the final project?
  2. Did you have problems? If so what were they? How were they handled?
  3. Is the designer/company timely in responding to questions?
  4. Did they work with a budget? How did they handle changes to the scope?
  5. Was the job site clean and protected?
  6. Who did you deal with on the project?
  7. Was there a schedule? How did it work? Did they keep you informed of changes?
  8. Was the design workable and did it meet your expectations?
  9. Were their subcontractors/employees courteous and were they easy to deal with?
These are some questions I would ask the Designer?
  1. What are your services? How much do you charge?
  2. Who is in charge? Who is to be paid and by whom? Does everyone have insurance?
  3. Are they any warranty on products or craftsmanship?
  4. Can we see some projects either finished or in the works?
  5. Are you certified? How long have you been designing?
  6. Can we talk with clients? See a portfolio?
       If you’re going to visit a showroom these are a few things I look for. A clean showroom is a must for me. It tells me they have pride in their work and the job sites they work on would be the same. If you go into a place where things are a mess this tells me they have no standards for the work they do. If displays are left unfinished and a mess this also tells me things are not done on a timely manner.  But if they are working on displays and the area is clean and organized you can see how they would work on your own home and project. The quality they put into their displays is important because it represents their craftsmanship, and is a representation of employees or subcontracts abilities. A good showroom will show the quality the company can provide.
      Some of the same questions from above should be asked of the company you are looking to hire. Here are few more I would ask if you’re hiring a design company or remodeling firm. 
  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. How long have your subcontractors or employees been with you?
  3. Can we talk with past clients?
  4. Do you have a portfolio?
  5. Who is in charge of the project once the design and materials are selected?
  6. Who am I dealing with throughout the project?
  7. How are payments scheduled?
  8. Is a schedule done and who is in charge of scheduling?
  9. Are your designers certified? How long have they been designing?
  10. Do you have insurance?
     Well, I hope this article helps with your decision process. I would love to hear from anyone with questions I might have missed or hear about your experiences that were good or bad. Everyone can learn from others who have gone through the process.

 I wish everyone a great new year!

Sincerely Yours
Angie Keyes CKD