FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY WORK WITH US?
What does a designer consider when determining what to do with a space?
What is a full-service design firm?
How long does a typical room project take from start to finish?
How will my designer know what selections to make for my project?
What if I don't like the items selected by my designer?
Since Robin has a team working on my project, does this mean that I won't have as much direct contact with her?
How will my design concept be presented?
Does your firm charge for phone and email consultation?
How long does it take to design a room?
How do your fees work?
How do your rates compare to other design firms?
Why does your firm sell products?
Will I pay more for home furnishings by going through a design firm for my products?
What quality of products is appropriate for my home?
What about backordered or discontinued items?
What about the comfort of upholstered goods? Can I sit in them prior to ordering?
Since I am purchasing all or most of the items through your firm, will my house look like everyone else's?
What if I find something for a lower price on the internet?
What is involved with furnishing a home over 5,000 square feet?
Will any of the products for my project be retail?
What about damage to retail products handled by the firm that are purchased for me over the internet?
What if I just want Robin's help with making selections by shopping with me or for me at retail stores?
WHY SHOULD I WORK WITH ROBIN BOND INTERIORS INSTEAD OF ANOTHER DESIGN FIRM?
Project Management is complimentary on products purchased through our firm: Many designers and design firms charge for every minute spent working on your project. This includes managing orders for products purchased through the firm. It is our philosophy that managing your orders efficiently is part of good old-fashioned customer service. Our project manager will check with our vendors to make sure orders are being handled efficiently, stay in close contact with our receiver concerning any shipping damage, and communicate with our vendors to replace damaged items for you when needed. These services are all complimentary at our firm. Our project manager will bill time when handling retail orders and/or for construction related services such as scheduling contractors.
Reselections are complimentary: As mentioned elsewhere in this FAQ document, it is not uncommon for items to become discontinued and/or to go out of stock without any notice from vendors. We do not want for you to be inconvenienced by this any more than necessary, but unfortunately it is part of the project management process. Since you as our client do not have any control over this (we really don't either) we offer the design time to make reselections that are necessary for these reasons complimentary.
We are seasoned and work efficiently: We have over a decade of experience in the interior design industry. Our rates reflect this, and therefore we are not going to be the most budget-friendly designer in town. Along with all of our experience, however, you are working with a team that has been doing this so long that we are efficient with our time and with the selection process. We have been told by clients that they are often surprised by how quickly we are able to accomplish things, and because of this we know we are a better overall value than many of the lower priced designers out there.
We offer you a team of people to manage your project: Many designers are lone wolves who may be creative but are not the best business people and therefore do not understand how to run a business or manage a design project. They are often times overworked and unorganized since they are trying to handle everything on their own. Robin Bond came from a business background prior to working in the interior design industry. As a result, our firm has detailed business systems to ensure your project goes as smoothly as possible. Their rates may be lower than ours, but I am sure that you have heard the saying, "you get what you pay for." We are experienced at managing whole house projects in the most cost-efficient manner. We pride ourselves on being as technical as we are creative, as it takes both for great interior design. This, combined with our focus to create custom designs unique to you, makes us the obvious choice for your design project.
We use a project management program exclusive to the interior design industry called Studio Webware: This system incorporates an image of each furnishing you are purchasing and creates an interactive presentation that allows you to view the status of your project at your convenience, and approve and apply payments to your orders. Our project manager will also send you a weekly update of this report to keep you advised of what has shipped, what has been received, and what is ready for delivery.
WHAT IS THE FIRM'S DESIGN PHILOSOPHY CONCERNING PRODUCTS?
Our overall philosophy is one of sustainability. It is our belief that if a home is designed well the first time then the furnishings should be able to be tweaked a little at a time to keep up with trends and keep your home feeling fresh and current. If you purchase quality items the first time then every 15-20 years those pieces can be recovered and changed into a totally updated look.
Robin approaches most projects with a high/low design philosophy guided by you. She always suggests selecting the most quality upholstered goods that your budget will allow, along with any case goods (such as dressers or TV cabinets) that will get the most wear and tear. When it comes to furnishings for guest rooms, smaller accent tables, or kids' rooms which tend to change more frequently, there is opportunity to save on the budget since these items will not see as much use.
You get what you pay for when it comes to furnishings, and if you invest in quality pieces initially then in the long run you will end up spending less than if you purchase what we call "throw away furniture" that only lasts a few years. Robin has a Green Accredited Professional designation from the Sustainable Furnishings Council, and so she is all about keeping or refurbishing quality furnishings you have that are in good condition, sentimental pieces, or anything else that it is possible to incorporate rather than throw out. At times there will be pieces that just will not work with a design, and in those cases she recommends consigning and/or donating to allow the pieces to have a longer life.
WHAT DOES A DESIGNER CONSIDER WHEN DETERMINING WHAT TO DO WITH A SPACE?
There is a lot of mystery surrounding working with a designer. On top of that, most designers tend to work a little differently from one another, and so that only adds to the confusion. One thing all designers have in common, though, is we all work within the principles and elements of design. There are six principles we use when creating a space: proportion, scale, emphasis, balance, rhythm and style. There are also seven elements of design: line, form, color, texture, pattern, light and space. When all of these things work together, the end result is a harmonious space that feels like a great place in which to live your life. If these elements are not working properly, the space will feel chaotic, out of balance, loud, or simply just uncomfortable. Have you ever felt this way when entering a space?
So much more goes into properly designing a home than what might be expected. Most people would not dream of trying to landscape their yard or design the architecture of their house on their own, yet many people set out to design the interior of their homes without understanding the principles or elements listed above. Some people have a natural ability to do this, but statistics indicate that only 10% of the population can even visualize a space. An even smaller percentage than that are able to properly design an interior. It is no wonder that the majority of people we meet for the first time are frustrated and say that they have spent thousands of dollars on purchases that just don't work.
WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE DESIGN FIRM?
A full-service design firm will handle the design, procurement, and installation of all the furnishings for your home project. This is the best way to efficiently and beautifully pull your home together.
HOW LONG DOES A TYPICAL ROOM PROJECT TAKE FROM START TO FINISH?
Once a client has accepted our design plan and proposals for the product have been approved, the typical turnaround is 8-12 weeks. We recommend planning on 12 weeks, and we always push to get the project done as promptly as possible, however inevitably there will be something on backorder, delayed in shipping and/or something will arrive damaged that needs to be replaced. Most people live with a professionally designed space for 15-20 years, and so we suggest waiting for the things you really love. Chances are you will be living with them for a long time.
HOW WILL MY DESIGNER KNOW WHAT SELECTIONS TO MAKE FOR MY PROJECT?
Our firm goes through a detailed questionnaire with all potential new clients, and will also request that you provide us with inspiration images of spaces you like. By being thorough in these two areas, we are able to typically pinpoint exactly what products will be needed to create a space you will love. Keep in mind, though, that not everything in a single space should be fabulous. Some items are meant to be functional and/or are designed to allow the eyes to rest so that the focal items in a space appear to pop out and look more special. If everything is special, then nothing is special.
WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE THE ITEMS SELECTED BY MY DESIGNER?
Fortunately, since we do our homework ahead of time, this is a rare occurrence with our firm. We find that our clients are usually happy with 95%-98% of the items suggested by our designer. If for some reason this does happen, we offer one hour of complimentary design time to allow for the time is takes to make re-selections for an average project. Should you request more than an hour's worth of re-selections, our standard hourly design rate will apply. We will continue to work with you for as long as it takes to ensure that you are 100% satisfied with your selections before ordering any product.
SINCE ROBIN HAS A TEAM WORKING ON MY PROJECT, DOES THAT MEAN THAT I WON'T HAVE AS MUCH DIRECT CONTACT WITH HER?
Actually, the opposite is true. Robin's talented team takes much of the detailed processing off of her plate so that she is allowed more time to work directly with you on your project and selections.
HOW WILL MY DESIGN CONCEPT BE PRESENTED?
We usually present our designs through an interactive presentation as a part of our project management system. This presentation will allow you to view all of the items for your project and the associated costs. We will schedule an appointment with your designer to discuss all the aspects of your design as well as present you with any available fabric and finish samples so that you may see them in person. Often times that is all that is required for our clients to be able to see that the products we are recommending will work nicely in their home. In situations where we have a client who needs a better visual, we are able to offer digital design boards, floor plans and full-color 3D renderings of their space. This will allow you to see the relative size and placement of all the items in your space.
DOES YOUR FIRM CHARGE FOR PHONE AND EMAIL CONSULTATION?
Yes. We charge in 5 minute increments with a 5 minute minimum for any phone call, text or email consultation. If it is a quick question that warrants a quick response that is one or two sentences by email or a minute or two by phone then we will typically not charge for this. Many times, however, we work with out-of-town clients or clients who work and so much of their projects will need to be handled by phone and/or email. It takes up just as much of our time to handle this type of consultation by phone or email as it does in person. It may even take us longer to compile an email response than to quickly discuss something on the phone.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DESIGN A ROOM?
Because we work so efficiently with our product vendors, we can design the typical room in 8-10 hours. If the room is large and/or there are a lot of accessories needed for an oversized bookcase, the project could take longer. Our firm provides a custom scope of work prior to starting any project that is intended to give you a good idea of how long we think your particular project will take to complete. The less involved our clients are in a project, the more efficiently we are able to work as a team.
HOW DO YOUR FEES WORK?
After your initial consultation with Robin, we will send you a copy of our Fee Summary Agreement for approval to allow you to gain a good understanding of standard fees and invoicing practices. A custom scope of work will also be provided prior to starting your project to give you an idea of the amount of time your particular project will take.
HOW DO YOUR RATES COMPARE TO OTHER DESIGN FIRMS?
We are not the most budget-friendly designer in town, but we are the best. We have a tiered billing structure broken out by design service, design support and digital design services, which causes our overall project costs to fall somewhat in the middle based on industry standards. Since we have been in business since 2003 we are very experienced and have been told by clients that they are often surprised by how efficient we are with our time. This, coupled with the fact that we are able to produce quicker turnaround times for projects by working with our products in lieu of spending hours upon hours retail shopping, make our firm a great value for our clients.
I HAVE PURCHASED A HOME THAT I WOULD LIKE TO USE AS A VACATION RENTAL INVESTMENT, HOW CAN YOUR FIRM HELP ME WITH THIS?
You have picked the perfect city in which to purchase an investment property for short-term rentals. There are special events in Austin almost every weekend. Investors are able to charge significant rent during Austin City Limits and South by Southwest alone. Add in Formula One and the many other events going on here on a regular basis and you can count on this sort of property bringing in a nice rental income that is much better than leasing out the property to a monthly tenant.
The only kicker with a short term rental is that you want for your property to be appealing to be able to demand top rents and stay leased. Our firm is able to furnish these properties in a manner that creates a small oasis for renters looking for a luxurious feeling property that is not a hotel. We are experienced in creating this type of environment and even have more value priced furnishings to allow investors to turn a quicker profit when investing in these types of properties. We don't recommend furnishing these places with throw away furniture since the items will see a little more wear and tear than an owner occupied residence, however we also understand that as an investor, you are not looking for the same quality as our clients who occupy their homes.
We are also experienced in managing all of the furnishings that need to furnish a property and so we are able to get your property furnished and on the market as quickly as possible. In cases where you have purchased a property that needs renovation prior to furnishing, we can recommend trade partners to start working on this aspect of your investment and at the same time can work on getting furnishings ordered so that they will be available to furnish the property shortly after the renovation.
WHY SHOULD I GET AN INTERIOR DESIGNER INVOLVED IN MY CONSTRUCTION PROJECT?
We recommend that you hire a good architect, builder and interior designer for any renovation and/or new custom home project. We all have different strengths and by hiring a good team you will get the best results for your dream home. Interior designers are the most informed about what current trends are when it comes to finishes, and are typically the best with color palettes, textures and materials. Your designer will make sure that all of these products are working harmoniously with the beautiful architecture your architect creates and the quality structure your builder puts together. Interior designers also think about space planning as early as the architectural design phase. By working side by side with your architect we can ensure that the finished space will allow for the furnishings and window treatments you are envisioning, and will allow for proper placement of floor plugs, lamp plugs, wall space, etc.
HOW DO YOU HELP CLIENTS WITH NEW CONSTRUCTION OR REMODELS?
There are so many finish selections that go into building or remodeling that it can often times be overwhelming. Our firm will help you select everything from paint colors, tile, counter tops and exterior rock down to things like what type of cabinet hardware will work best. We have been told by many of our clients that they thought they were going to be totally stressed out by the process, but instead they found it to be enjoyable and much quicker than anticipated.
DO YOU SELL CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS?
We do not compete with builders at all and therefore do not sell any construction related products (items attached to the structure) such as tile, flooring, counter tops, etc. We do sell items like light fixtures, wallpaper, and cabinet hardware as part of our interior design projects.
WHY DOES YOUR FIRM SELL PRODUCTS?
Most interior design firms sell products because it is the most efficient way to plan, design and implement a room. This allows your designer to have access to quality products that are often not available on the retail market.
If you think of a room as a whole comprised of many parts it will make more sense. Your designer will make sure that all of the principles and elements of design are considered when putting together a space plan for you. Many of our manufacturers allow us to customize sizes, finishes and fabrics to pull together the look of a room with ease.
Our clients save hours of design time by working with a firm that operates in this manner. Retail shopping is very time consuming, and would take our firm two or three times longer to design your space. This is not to say that your designer will never recommend vintage or one-off pieces from a retail establishment; we just prefer to procure most furnishings through vendors we are familiar working with to have the most control over the outcome of the project and to know that the vendors we are dealing with will replace damaged items in a timely fashion to avoid unnecessary delays with your project.
WILL I PAY MORE FOR HOME FURNISHINGS BY GOING THROUGH A DESIGN FIRM FOR MY PURCHASES?
The general overall answer is no. Our pricing structure is just different than that of a retail furnishing store, and in the end you will get a better value purchasing through a designer. It's akin to comparing apples to oranges. If you compare apples to apples, product from a design firm is typically less in price than retail stores because we do not have the high overhead costs of doing business that retail establishments have such as retail rent, inventory, and a floor sales staff or warehouse staff. As a result of these factors, we are able to offer more favorable pricing on product. A more detailed explanation is broken out as follows:
Accent furniture, art, accessories, lighting and rugs: The prices we charge for these products are typically less than retail stores, and on most of these items we are also competitive with internet pricing. Even though at times our cost may be slightly higher than you would find on the internet, you get much more for your money purchasing these items through our firm, including inspection for damage, handling of damage claims, prompt replacement of damaged items, and the disposal of boxes, pallets and other packing material associated with receiving these items. Let's not forget all of the time and headache you will save by not having to deal with these things yourself. Our relationships with the vendors we are used to working with assures prompt, no questions asked replacement items, which you are unlikely to get them ordering on your own over the internet.
Case goods: A design firm also tends to be in line with internet pricing for case goods (chests, tables and other wood pieces), however most of these goods are shipped in pieces and require assembly. We take the burden off of your plate by having our receiver assemble these things for you, either in their warehouse or on-site at your delivery appointment.
Upholstered Goods: One of the best things about purchasing product through your designer is the quality and customization of upholstered pieces that you just can't get on the retail market. Upholstered pieces take the most wear and tear and so we highly recommend budgeting as much as possible for these pieces since these are the items on which you will be sitting and spending time with your family. There is no comparison to the quality you get through a designer versus off of a retail floor. We work with high quality American made upholstered goods, and most are one-off custom pieces that are made with hardwood frames, quality joint construction such as doweled and glued or mortise and tenon, quality cushion options, and superior fabrics. Most of what you will find on the retail market is made overseas with particle board or fiber board frames, stapled joints, and inferior cushions. Even luxury furniture stores will often purchase items in bulk with duplicate fabrics that can be mass produced. Items made in this manner just don't compare to custom made upholstered goods, where more care and attention to detail is taken during manufacturing. Plus, you'll never have to worry about walking into your neighbor's house to find they have the exact same sofa. Trust me, we hear this happens a lot.
Handling: We send all of our clients' products to a white glove receiving and storage facility as a third party to inspect for damages and to assist with handling damage claims. Our firm partners with the receiver to ensure that your products are free of damage and that replacements are ordered promptly when damaged items are received. This all goes on behind the scenes without your involvement. The same climate controlled facility will also store your merchandise until all of your items are received and we are ready to stage and install your finished room design or whole house project. These deliveries are usually done in two phases, with phase one being rugs, accessories and case goods, and phase two including art, upholstery, and drapery or other custom items.
The fees associated with receiving, warehousing, assembly, storage and delivery of all products will average around 20% of the entire project cost. Since most of the product pricing through our firm is likely at least that much less than retail pricing you will typically be at a similar price point to purchasing the product the traditional retail route while receiving a superior turnkey service and totally custom design.
WHAT QUALITY OF PRODUCTS IS APPROPRIATE FOR MY HOME?
If you have made the decision to have your home professionally designed, we suggest that you at least go with mid-range quality furnishings. We do not work with economy furnishings for many reasons. If your home is valued over $500,000, it is time to move into the upper mid-range to higher end products so that they will look appropriate in relation to your home value. For homes valued at $1,000,000 or more, our clients tend to look more for high-end products, and custom or unique pieces that reflect their personalities and are in line with the quality of their home.
When you take out a homeowners' insurance policy, the policy will typically allocate 60% of the home value toward home furnishings. You don't necessarily need to budget that much, but we would highly suggest allotting at least 30% of your home value for furnishings.
WHAT ABOUT BACKORDERED OR DISCONTINUED ITEMS?
It is not uncommon for vendors to suddenly discontinue an item or for an item to be put on backorder. In cases where an item is on backorder for a short amount of time and/or if it is the perfect selection it is usually worth the wait. In cases of a longer backorder and/or a discontinued item, our firm offers complimentary re-selections (after all, it isn't your fault that the item was discontinued). We are used to working through these situations and always find a new item that is at least as good as the original, if not better.
WHAT ABOUT THE COMFORT OF UPHOLSTERED GOODS? CAN I SIT IN THEM PRIOR TO ORDERING?
The quality of upholstered goods sold through our design firm are superior to 90% of what is on the retail market. Much of the furniture sold in retail stores is made of particle board or fiber board frames and inferior foam products. Our firm has a range of quality upholstered goods from an entry mid-quality line all the way to extremely high end lines as offerings to our clients. We have the ability to customize these goods according to what is important to you, with firm, blend down, down and spring down seating options.
We have a couple of upholstery options in our office, and there are design showrooms in Dallas as well as a small one in Austin with some floor samples. If you have any concern at all about the type of seating you desire, your designer can take you to one of these showrooms to try out different types of products prior to the specification stage. If you are very particular about upholstered goods, please discuss this with your designer prior to the design specification phase of your project.
SINCE I AM PURCHASING ALL OR MOST OF MY ITEMS THROUGH YOUR FIRM, WILL MY HOUSE LOOK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE'S?
Absolutely not. We deal with hundreds of distributors and we make it a point not to reuse selections in our projects. Just like no two people are exactly alike, we believe that your house should have a style unique to you based on all of the information we gather prior to working on your design.
WHAT IF I FIND SOMETHING FOR A LOWER PRICE ON THE INTERNET?
As previously mentioned, our prices for non-custom items are typically competitively priced with the internet. At times we may be a little higher and at other times a little lower. Our intent, however, is not to focus on that or compare our level of service to that of the internet. It is also not our intent to consider our firm a competitor with the internet. Ordering home goods through the internet is fine for do-it-yourselfers who have the time and energy to deal with returning damaged items, disposing of packing material and pallets and storing items when need be. We would also like to mention that damages are a very common occurrence and disposing of the packing materials that come with these goods are not an easy feat. Most normal trash service will not handle this and so you will need to add fees to take these items to the local dump. If you add in your time and travel expenses to deal with this, our pricing gets even more competitive. You as a retail purchaser with internet companies also do not have the buying power we have with distributors we deal with on a regular basis where we have local representatives who help our firm to quickly replace damaged items and move on with your project. We have heard nightmare stories from our clients who have tried going this route prior to working with us who have had to spend weeks and sometimes months dealing with a sofa coming in with a broken frame or a cracked lamp or mirror. When working with our firm, you can rest assured knowing that while we may be higher than internet pricing in some cases, you will also receive a much higher level of service as well.
The bottom line is, if you are a do-it-yourselfer or a person who must get the lowest rock bottom price no matter if it involves time and other fees or if you prefer to shop on your own either in person or on the internet, then our firm is not going to be a good fit for you. Our firm is a great fit for people who would much rather be spending their valuable time doing things besides spending hours handling furnishings for their home. We take all of this off of your plate so that you can live your life and end up with a home in which you will truly enjoy living life.
WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH FURNISHING A HOME OVER 5,000 SQUARE FEET?
My staff and I discuss all the time that we do not see how any individual person would ever have the time or skill set to furnish a property over 5,000 square feet, or really even over 4,000 square feet for that matter. Once you start purchasing properties like this, there are an overwhelming amount of decisions that go into furnishing a home such as this. Just the sheer number of items it takes to furnish this sort of home can be daunting. A home like this requires that the furnishings all look great and work well together, have the correct scale and also look appropriate in relation to the value of the home. There are other things to consider as well such as appropriate lighting, what types and sizes of rugs and many decisions to make in regards to window coverings. Houses like this call for nicer window treatments, often times involving motorization and drapery is also typically called for. We are experts at pulling everything together for large houses, and are able to take a lot of stress off of our clients and avoid thousands of dollars in mistakes from purchases that do not work.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO INVEST IN MY PROJECT?
It is actually fairly common to not know upfront what you would like to invest in your interior design project. We purchase home furnishings on a daily basis and so can also assist you in discovering what you are comfortable with if you are unsure in order to establish your budget. We will provide you with several different ranges for various product costs based on quality. We will also give you an idea of what quality range you should be in for your neighborhood, home value, etc. The project will then be specified with the intent to complete the project within the budget that has been set.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO INVEST PER ROOM FOR MY PROJECT?
Most people do not anticipate enough when contacting a designer to work on a room design. Just as most people are surprised at the cost of granite counters for the first time, furnishing costs can add up as well. If we are asked to finish a space that currently has most of the larger furniture pieces, it is possible for a room to run as little as $8,000 for the accessories. If we are furnishing an entire room from scratch, the space can run anywhere from $15,000 for mid-range products to $30,000 or more for high-end furnishings. The average room or space that we design for our clients is in the $15,000-$20,000 range if there are already some pieces in place, and when working on an empty space, in the $20,000-$50,000 range, depending on the quality of the furnishings selected. If you were to furnish your home on your own, you will end up spending a similar amount, but most people do not account for the cost of every lamp, piece of art, rug or furnishing in a room. It adds up fast.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO SPEND ON CUSTOM DRAPERY?
The rule of thumb for custom drapery is $1,000 for a window span of 35" wide x 70" tall for good quality mid-price point stationary drapery. This amount will be less for top treatments, and more for fully operable traversing drapery at 2 1/2 times fullness. If you are budgeting drapery for your whole house, you can use this formula and be fairly accurate with the final amount. Custom drapery work is a luxury item, but nothing else transforms a home quite like drapery.
WILL ANY OF THE PRODUCTS FOR MY PROJECT BE RETAIL?
We find that sometimes smaller accent items such as towels, sheets, place settings, and bathroom accessories need to be purchased retail. We try to limit working with retail items as much as possible since we have no control over product damage and/or how that vendor will handle returns. We are very familiar with the vendors we work with on a regular basis. We know that they will stand behind their products and will easily replace damaged items for us.
WHAT ABOUT DAMAGE TO RETAIL PRODUCTS HANDLED BY THE FIRM THAT ARE PURCHASED FOR ME OVER THE INTERNET?
Since the retailer is typically not a company we routinely do business with, we cannot make any guarantees as to how they will handle damages or returns. Their standard policies will apply. If it is necessary for our project manager to work with the retail vendor to handle repairs or replacements, the time needed for our project manager to deal with these types of issues will be considered a design service and will be billed under our design support rate.
WHAT IF I JUST WANT ROBIN'S HELP WITH MAKING SELECTIONS BY SHOPPING WITH ME OR FOR ME AT RETAIL STORES?
Our firm does not work in this manner. We are able to work more efficiently designing spaces based on the elements and principles of design. This is accomplished more easily by utilizing our vast collection of vendors to look for products that will fit the appropriate shape, size, scale, color, etc. We are typically able to design spaces in half the time it would take to drive around town looking for that perfect lamp, or perfect piece of art that is the appropriate size for a wall area. As we mentioned previously, the technical side of this business is just as important as the aesthetic aspects of your design.
Our firm sells home furnishings, and so asking your designer to accompany you to another home furnishing store is basically asking your designer to help you give a competitor business. We liken this to taking your car to a mechanic you trust and then asking him to go with you to Auto Zone to show you which parts to purchase to properly complete the job. A room design is all encompassing and not just the sum of the parts. Additionally, your mechanic would not be able to stay in business very long working in that manner. In order for businesses to remain profitable and strong to be there to serve you for the long haul, they need to operate in the manner that reflects their business plan and model. There are designers who do retail shopping on a regular basis, however you will more than likely pay them more in hourly fees since retail shopping takes longer, and they will more than likely not have a support staff to keep your project running smoothly and efficiently. Working in this manner also does not give you a complete visual picture of how the space will come together prior to purchasing all of the pieces, which can result in items that need to be returned and additional shopping trips that need to be made.
We see this as working backwards. Instead of planning a design and then implementing, you are taking your chances that you are going to find the right pieces and then make them work. It might take an hour to find that perfect blue lamp looking around at retail stores, whereas we work directly with manufacturers and distributors on a regular basis so that we know what is available and can often times select that same blue lamp in minutes.
WHEN IS PAYMENT EXPECTED?
As outlined in our firm's fee summary agreement, payment for any services is considered due when rendered, and therefore any services invoiced are considered due upon receipt of the invoice. We will collect a deposit on our scope of work for design services that we will apply to service invoices and you will be notified weekly as to how your deposit has been used as well as the remaining credit still available in your account. Once the deposit is depleted, invoices will be sent on a weekly basis. Products will be invoiced according to the type of product and how custom it is. This will be explained in more detail in our fee summary agreement as well.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE RETURNS ON PRODUCTS I PURCHASE DIRECTLY THROUGH THE FIRM?
We handle returns on a case-by-case basis with the ultimate objective of satisfying our clients. Many of the items we specify for our clients' projects are custom-made and can't be resold. For this reason, all sales are considered final on custom-made products. We provide detailed specifications on all custom items and ask that you take your time to review these visual representations of your products and their components to assure that you are completely satisfied with them prior to manufacturing.
Items that are not custom are still special ordered for your project. We are not a retailer and therefore do not have the ability to resell any items, and so we would need to send it back to the manufacturer. Often times, especially with larger art and accessories, the shipping costs are high to return items to the vendor, and there is quite a bit of time involved (scheduling pickups, issuing call tags, etc.). Most vendors will also charge a restocking fee. As such, we must pass on to our clients a 25% restocking fee as well as any fees associated with the return shipping to the vendor. Once these fees have been deducted, the remaining amount will be applied to your account as a credit. We ask that you carefully consider all items specified by your designer for your project prior to approval so that returns can be avoided.
There is a chance that our firm may make a space planning error, and on very rare occasions this has happened. If our firm has made a mistake in a space plan and as a result there is an item that will not fit where we had specified, we will gladly take responsibility for our mistake and give you full credit for any item involved in this sort of situation.
DO YOU WARRANTY THE PRODUCTS SOLD THROUGH YOUR FIRM?
Our firm does not make any additional warranties expressed or implied over and above what each individual product manufacturer offers. Most of the product manufacturers we do business with, however, do have favorable warranties. We stand behind these warranties and will assist you in any warranty claims that may arise with your products. More detailed information about how our firm handles warranties is included in our firm's fee summary agreement.