What Makes A Good Interior Designer? | From a Designer’s Journal


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I am often asked, what really makes a good interior designer?

I have been wondering lately and observing the reaction of clients and people I meet when discussing their projects. What makes them happy? How do they decide on who to hire for their project?

To many designers a project is just another project. We have to keep in mind that to the client, this is their home, their business, their investment. If anything goes wrong it will affect them deeply.

Successful designers realize the amount of psychology and patience it takes to handle every project whether s small apartment or a 4 story villa. I emphasize, PSYCHOLOGY, in addition to experience and taste, is what differentiates good designers from others.

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From my 16 years experience, I will try to sum up what makes a good, reliable designer, in order of importance:

1- Communication: Listening to your client will help you shape the direction of the entire project. from his/her brief and body language, you will be able to understand the budget, the style, background, and how knowledgeable they are about what they want. I am not saying this is definite, many times you will meet people who think they know what they want but after a few questions you will discover they are lost and need someone to direct them, i.e.  the designer. Proper communication is what will make the client feel at ease to trust you with their project. This should take place throughout the course of the project.

2- Experience: It doesn’t have to be the amount of years, but actually the type of projects and clients you have worked with, references and photos of your work are always helpful. At many times you would get projects because of word of mouth. Never under-estimate the power or oral marketing. Your clients are your best marketing tools, all the more reason you should handle communicating and delivering your project properly.

3- Schedule: Submit a schedule which is properly structured specifically to the project and client’s needs, ofcourse taking into consideration realistic timing and order of items delivered.

4- Pricing: Pricing should not be based on how much money the client has or is willing to pay. You should take into consideration the time the project will consume, the amount of drawings & 3D renderings you will provide, the time you will spend with the client and choosing  materials for the project. This time will also include coordination with mechanical engineer, kitchen supplier, fabric & furniture selection, etc.. So price wisely & explain to the client what your price includes. Some clients underestimate the amount of work that goes into designing a project and coming up with a concept, it is the designer’s job to explain what the work will involve and how, and that when properly done,  will save them money in the long run. In your proposal, specify how many 3D Views you will submit, what drawings are included, & what is NOT within your scope. Always be honest & clear before signing.

N.B. Many clients don’t know the difference between designing & executing, you have to explain that as well.

5- Coordination & follow up: This is the phase that will ensure the end result of your work. Producing drawings that are not well coordinated with the structural & electro-mechanical drawings are worthless. The only way to get the best results is to go back and forth with the different people involved including the architect to make sure everything is working perfectly with your design and hence the client’s expectations.

6- Be up to date: Nothing shows confidence in an interior designer more than being in the know when it comes to materials, trends, & new products. The internet is at your service, just keep researching and bookmark your favorite websites. Check out websites such as pinterest.com or Houzz constantly. Also try to attend design related workshops, you will always learn something new.

I hope this helped, let me know if you have any questions or if there is a specific topic you would like me to discuss further.

Photo credit: Pro-design Studio

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From A Designer’s Journal: Find Out Who You Are And Do It On Purpose

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The other day, I got to thinking about Interior Design and partial lobotomies. I wondered if there is no rapid surgical procedure to erase from the clients’ memory the house of their neighbors! I know plenty of interior designers that reported the same saying from their clients: I want the same design my neighbor has.

Trust me, for an interior designer, it is like playing professional Russian roulette and here is why; when the designer conceived the neighbor’s apartment, he or she got into the clients’ state of mind and living behaviors. He/ she orchestrated the interior perfectly in harmony with their lifestyle and desire. Thus for the other client to state wanting the same thing, maybe he or she should consider hiring the same designer, and still, the outcome will be different. I mean, it is like saying: I want the same sporty 2 doors car of my childless neighbor but with options to stuff the kids in the back!

When you think of a house or a restaurant or any kind of project, think of it as the theater set reflecting the owner. It is the stage where the action happens. It is the frame for the picture he took and you, as a visitor or customer in this space, are just sharing the experience offered. Let me give you a touch of reality: could the coffee chop designed for the series Friends be used in Sex and the City? It is doable and certainly economical but it doesn’t serve the concept; the first series meant to show the coziness and the personality of the characters, while the other series needed to express glamour.

It is not a vice to be different; Even God conceived sunrise and sunset differently. So the next time you intend to remodel a home or even a room, say I am fashionable, delicate or reserved and leave it to your Interior Designer to make of your Space, your Statement.

The title of the article is a quote by Dolly Parton

Written by: Pascale Azzi –  Interior Architect/ DWorkshop

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From A Designer’s Journal: To A New Year, To 2012, And What I learned from 2011…

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I am not the type of person who would write goodbyes or go all dramatic at anything. 2011 was a great year on many levels and as every year passes I try to learn and appreciate whatever I encountered whether good or less good. Many won’t agree that 2011 was actually good , it’s true to some extent if you want to count the natural disasters, the unnatural uprisings, the political surprises, the fall of regimes, the rise of others,and most of all people’s fear of the upcoming. This end of the year seems be the most perplexing in the new age so far, especially that nothing is hidden anymore, every slap is going viral, those who were once ruling the unfairly are now somehow losing control, with their secrets out in the public almost instantly.

On a personal note, this year I learned to appreciate the little things in life, thank God I didn’t go through any traumatic experience to reach that point, I just learned to contemplate and enjoy the blessings, I am guessing this comes along as we mature and grow.

In 2011 I met people from all walks of life, many were face to face contacts and others through social media. Twitter was my best companion on most of my days, I met new people almost daily, interacted with persons from different backgrounds and beliefs, learned from them and taught them as well. I was able to aid many who requested my help, and received help whenever I needed and almost instantly. In 2011 I grew fond of Instagram and realized how much I loved photography, I never knew sharing experiences through live photos would be so amusing and eye opening. On a personal level I was able to bond with my family more, I learned to organize my time in a manner where I can take care of myself, my family, and my career all at a comfortable pace and guilt-free, any mom would know how difficult that is to achieve! In 2011 I learned to see only the good in people, and always wake up with a smile because the day will smile back at me when I do. In 2011 I learned that I should take care of my health and teach everyone I know to do the same. I learned to accept new information and pass it on at every chance. In 2011 I learned that being fair relieves your conscience every time. In 2011 I practiced being in other people’s shoes at every situation, it makes accepting daily hassles much easier. In 2011 I learned that being honest is always the best policy, and that being professional with my clients does not mean we can not be good friends, on the contrary, it raises a sense of trust and reliability which gives me more reasons to be creative and design responsibly respecting their concerns and expectations.

In 2011 I am grateful for the success of my blog which allowed me to share all the beautiful things I come across or experience, this in turn created an opportunity to spread beauty as much as possible and train our eyes to  good proportions and understand the importance of good design in shaping our thoughts and lives.

In 2011, I am grateful for you, the readers, for interacting and enjoying the posts, I look forward to a more wonderful 2012 and nothing less. Hopefully with God’s blessings, our hard work, and persistence, we can get through another great year, thank you again, and have a great and beautiful 2012!

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Basic Steps To Design Your Space On AOK

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I had the honor to guest post on AOK and list tips on how to design your space. Listed are tips and examples of what can be done to solve problems and enhance the look of any room.

For Full Post check AOK.

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Eid Mubarak

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After a whole month of fasting for many Muslims, today the first day of Eid falls. Whatever your traditions are and how you go about spending this day, I really hope you have a blessed Eid.

I hope the coming year will be better in every way for  every one of you, may God bless us all with good days ahead.

Eid Mubarak, and remember life is back to normal now, so expect a season of work-overload ahead. Good luck  and enjoy the holiday!

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