Kirsetin Morello 2016-01-21 15:09:49
When you hear “interior designer,” do the words “expensive,” “a privilege of the wealthy” and “for other people” come to mind? If so, we have news for you: Interior designers work with a wide array of customers on all sorts of projects with all kinds of budgets. “We take a customer through the design, the remodeling, or help in the building process from start to finish. We keep them on track, on budget and focused,” said Jan Lehman, Vice President of Marketing at Standale Interiors. “The time, money and energy savings makes it not expensive at all.” What do interior designers do, exactly? An interior designer helps you solidify your vision, whether you’re tackling a small remodeling project or building a new home. “Without an overarching vision, you can get halfway through your project and think, ‘Oh my gosh what am I doing? This isn’t what I thought it was going to be,’” said Sue Strate, Interior Designer at DeGraaf Interiors. Interior designers bring both training and experience to bear, which means you get more for your money—and avoid expensive mistakes—when you employ their services. When Wayne Visbeen, architect, interior designer and founder of Visbeen Architects, designs a home or remodel, he considers every aspect of how you live. “It’s all about order and the most efficient use of space,” he said. “We want to spend money as wisely as possible.” How to Find an Interior Designer Ask your builder. • Inquire with stores like Standale Interiors and DeGraaf Interiors, which have interior designers on staff. • Word of mouth. • Ask another expert, such as a flooring or tile specialist. • Search “Find a Designer” on www.asidmi.org. • Search “interior designers, Grand Rapids” on www.houzz.com. FIRST STEPS If you’re ready to make the leap, one of the first things to consider is whether you own something that could serve as inspiration for your design. “One tip is to look in your closet,” said Lehman. “Your favorite colors and styles of clothing are often a very good springboard.” She adds that a favorite piece of furniture, artwork or area rug could also provide inspiration. STICKING TO YOUR BUDGET Because of their expertise and experience, designers can suggest practical cost-cutting measures. If you fall in love with a tile that exceeds your budget, for example, a designer can propose innovative alternatives. “We might suggest you use the expensive tile in a more limited space, like your fireplace surround,” explained Strate. “That way you can keep what you’re passionate about but don’t need as much, so you get the most bang for your buck.” ON TIME A big disappointment for many homeowners who remodel or build is miscalculating the finish date. “Interior designers work with deadlines and contractors every day, so they’re realistic about timeframes,” said Lehman. Their experience also allows them to anticipate smaller issues and include those in the overall timetable—such as scheduling an electrician to move an outlet in the kitchen to accommodate your new design. “If you don’t do it every day,” said Lehman, “you don’t necessarily think about those things. Interior designers do.” EXTRA RESOURCES In the end, it’s often the little extras that make the difference. If you’re building or remodeling your closet and have 10-foot ceilings, for example, you may be able to create a third row of hanging bars. It’s called triple hanging and, on your own, you might not consider it because it’s a bit unconventional—and you may wonder how you’d ever reach the shirts on the top row! “With triple hanging, you can put the things you don’t wear very often higher up,” said Visbeen. “A company called Häfele, from Germany, makes hardware with a spring bar. You grab a handle, which is spring-assisted, and it lets you bring down the clothes to your level without reaching up. It’s a good trick for space saving.” BOTTOM LINE The array of services and expertise interior designers offer can make your project easier and more timely, and help you stay within your budget. Most of all, they can help ensure you achieve the vision and outcome you desire. “Design is much more about the experience of how you live in your home than necessarily what it looks like,” said Visbeen. “We care a ton about how it looks, so we layer that in. But it isn’t just about looks; it’s about function. If I can enhance your life by better design, then I’ve succeeded.”
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