The responses I usually get when I tell someone I am an interior designer usually range from “ that is my dream job” to  “when I hit the lottery I want to hire you!”, but today’s response was one I never heard before. An acquaintance of mine said she was hesitant about wanting to hire an interior designer after watching some of the very popular home decorating shows. She thought that people’s personal styles were altered to fit the look the interior designer wanted for camera, not the homeowner’s actual needs or wants. She said the budgets were ridiculous and impossible to translate to where she resides in New Jersey, plus she felt at times the homeowners were spoken down to by some of these designers.  She said her biggest fear after watching these show was that her mementos and favorite furniture pieces would be thrown to the curb and the designer would bring furnishings in her home she did not care for and the result would be her overpaying to live in someone else’s idea of what was for her. She apologized to me thinking I was offended, but it made me wonder if others felt the same, do these shows scare potential clients away?  

Does the average person understand the design process is much lengthier than an hour show?

 Our initial consultation is free.  JSI comes to see your space and more importantly meet our potential client and see how you live.  There is no question off limits and our fees are discussed at the point, the client’s needs, and the budget and scope of their project.  The initial meeting lasts about an hour and gives you an idea of the work we have done, how briefly we can help you achieve your goals and let’s you get a feel what it will be like to work with JSI.  There is no pressure of signing a contract or writing a check. Interestingly, I was told that the show gave the impression that there is no interview process and that is so far from the truth. In fact, we have found most people looking to hire a designer interview two or three firms before moving forward.

Upon signing a contract and paying the design fee, JSI has a lengthy meeting regarding your needs and the design of your project.  We form a custom made “wish list” from a series of questions as we go over every inch of your project. You will give your thoughts and we will counter with follow up questions from other design issues we have solved in the past in hopes of finding what best works for you and your family.  The more information we are given the better we can suite your needs. You are welcome to bring pictures of items and rooms you like, tell us your favorite colors, and even ask us for the craziest thing you can think of you want in your home….we are there to facilitate what you want. Not in over thirty years of being in business has anyone said, “I don’t care, do what you want” …and I truth if they had, that would not be the client for us.

The planning and design phase are where we take all your ideas of how you want to live, the “wish list”, and your color choices to form several layouts and design options that you outlined. during that long meeting.  There are many options regarding layout, style, and color and our clients are presented with and each scenario and they decide how we proceed with what they like or dislike. Many times, this is the first go-around, we revise and come back to the table with the client’s suggestions until they are satisfied.  No piece of furniture is brought into your home without your approval which seems to be a very popular theme for some of these shows…. there are no surprises. The only surprise there is our clients never imagined it as beautiful as it comes out. You select and approve every item entering your home.

We are respectful of your budget at every step.  All costs are given to the client prior to ordering and a deposit is given.  There is no big reveal where you see your project completed and the furniture is not included.  A good designer saves you money by planning out projects and costs before construction begins.

The truth is, most people do not decorate their entire house at one time. 

We have had a few who have, but most clients do one or two rooms at a time and then move on.  We feel it’s important to complete a room and move on….it makes people love their home more and want to proceed.  So, for those who believe it all or nothing…. not true!

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were many of these hour-long shows.  In truth, the viewer does not know if the client’s needs were minimized for production’s sake, but that is not how our business or the people I know in my industry run their businesses.  It happens to be all about the client. So maybe television had given a little bit of a bad rap to designers, but we are a service industry interested in giving the client the home of their dreams.  A good designer helps you solve problems in your space, weed through tons of options and selections, and saves you the time and energy of assembling all these costly materials into your vision of the perfect home.  Our goal and the final reveal of these shows is to give the client a beautiful space they love to come home too….so I don’t think they are so off the mark, except for providing how involved every client actually is in the design of their home.  And I think if you’re watching…. you too really want a beautiful space and are looking for a way to find it. So why not call and ask a few questions?