It’s easy to find pretty photos on line of finished interior decorating projects. Inspiration can be found everywhere from Pinterest, to Instagram and of course, in my portfolio too!
But wouldn’t you like to learn more about the details that go into the thought process for designing a beautiful space? After all, it didn’t just happen easily and by coincidence with all the pieces falling perfectly into place.
If that was the case, then my job would be super easy or even redundant altogether.
Welcome to ‘Behind the Design’!
Here I’ll share a quick round up a few different design elements to bring you a better understanding on why I make the choices that I do when working on clients’ project. Today’s post includes interior design tips from a main floor redesign that we did in a Burlington client’s home.
1,2,3, come take a look Behind the Design with me!
#1. Make Sense of Your Space
In our Burlington clients home, we removed a wall between the formal dining room and the traditional living room in order to create a larger kitchen. The living room was not needed as my clients had a family room on the main floor as well as a fully finished basement. (FYI – the wall is behind the angle from where the photo is being taken.)
Space Saving Tip:
Our suggestion was to turn the living room into the dining room and custom build a large banquette on the far wall for seating. A wall banquette saves on space usually required for pulling out the dining chairs.
In addition, a dining table with a pedestal (opposed to legs) allows for extra seating space around each end of the table when needed to accommodate more guests.
#2. Out With the Old
Within the same area there was a half wall that bordered the front foyer with a pillar on the end closest to the room opening (see below). In addition to the new flooring and overall renovation work done to update their home, removing this traditional column helped us to eliminate a structural element that if indicative of a more traditional style.
A Plan With Purpose
We took that narrow wall all the wall to the ceiling and beautifully finished it with a detailed crown molding. This wall divides the space and enabled the addition of our clients’ simple, yet sophisticated artwork that greets you when you enter the front foyer area. So pretty, right?!
#3. Tricks of the Trade
There are so many doors in this small entry way that with the contrasting wall colour, it made the space feel very busy and closed in.
Bright & Welcoming
By lightening up the paint colour (Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore) and adding a custom mirror within the mill work on the wall, the front entry now feels bigger and is much more welcoming. Don’t you agree?
Which of these 3 updates was your favourite? Comment below to let me know which one you liked best.
It’s amazing how different a home can look and feel when you have a good design plan and a professional to help you along the way. We would love to work with you on your next project. Reach out and contact us here.
If you love interior design and decor, take part in my weekly quizzes over on Instagram. Every Sunday on my stories I choose a specific theme related to interior design so you can #TESTMYIDIQ. Click here to see how well you do!
In my latest interview, episode #485, LuAnn dedicates the entire show for me to walk her through every single step of my client intake & consultation process.
This process begins with the client Discovery Call and takes you all the way to the to the end of the initial consultation meeting.
I have set it up in a way that enables me to quickly build trust with my clients and to manage their expectations from the onset.
After you listen, if you want to set yourself up with the exact same process without starting from scratch and figuring it all out on your own, you can get my ROCK the CONSULTATION PROCESSES PACKAGE HERE for 30% off the regular price starting Friday!
Isn’t this Farrow and Ball paint colour gorgeous?! Let’s dive in to find out more about it and if it’s the right hue for you.
In this colour review video of Elephant’s Breath by Farrow And Ball, I share:
The undertone of my featured colour
Colour comparisons in order to easily see the different colour tones
Best white paint colours for the trim and ceilings
Beautiful colour combinations to inspire you for your decorating project
I’m a Certified True Colour Expert and an award-winning interior design professional having worked with many homeowners on various design projects. I want to give you the confidence to make educated decisions about your own paint choices. Let’s do this!
Watch the video below of my Elephant’s Breath Colour Review
As a reference point, let’s start off by taking a look below at this clients living room we designed. It’s painted Shale by Benjamin Moore.
Although Shale has slightly less intensity than Elephant’s Breath, it is quite comparable .
Or maybe you are already running your own business, but it’s not quite bringing you in the revenue you need or it’s proving to be more difficult to get established with steady clients than you had anticipated.
If you are going to design school; or recently graduated or are simply looking at the options available to you in the interior design field, watch my video to better understand the types of jobs currently listed in both the US & Canada & what to expect in terms of an estimated annual Interior Designer salary.
Let me start by saying that everyone has different goals in terms of what they want to achieve and how much money they want to make.
I love this about life.
We are all different.
No two people are the same and ‘There is more than one path to the top of the mountain.’ I freakin’ love that expression.
So even if we all had similar goals, there are many different ways and strategies for achieving those goals.
I started my Interior Design Firm as a second career as soon as I received my Interior Decorating Certification. Despite applying for a couple of Interior Design jobs similar to the examples that I share with you in the video, I never worked for anyone else, nor had any previous retail experience.
However, I did work in Human Resources at Ford Motor Company in the UK when I lived in England for 6 years. That role was pivotal for me in terms of understanding the importance of having organized processes and developing effective communication skills.
Average Salary Ranges
If you watched the video you will see that the average annual salary for an Interior design job ranges from $40k – $120k. The higher end of that pay scale favours those who work in retail and are likely heavily commission based wages. Remember though that retail positions will also mean that you must work evenings and weekends.
There are other pros and cons of working for another company, all of which I cover in the video so be sure to watch it.
I’d Much Rather Be My Own Boss!
If you prefer to work for yourself (or if you already are) make sure you are signed up to email list here, where I share my no-nonsense approach to success based on my own experiences.
I’m a ‘walk the walk kind of girl’ in case you didn’t already know that. If I said it, you can bet that I did it!
One on One Coaching
Not quite making the salary you want to be making in your business?
Are you unsure of your processes or how to market yourself to target your ideal client and get more business?
Stop wasting time and making excuses! Get expert advice from someone who has been there.
Do you want to know more about this rich and luxurious paint colour? Wondering if this hue is for you? I’m here to help. Let’s do this!
In this colour review video of Hague Blue by Farrow And Ball, I share:
The undertone of my featured colour
Colour comparisons in order to easily see the different colour tones
Best white paint colours for the trim and ceilings
Beautiful colour combinations to inspire you for your decorating project
I’m a Certified True Colour Expert and an award-winning interior design professional having worked with many homeowners on various design projects. I want to give you the confidence to make educated decisions about your own paint choices.
Watch the video below of my Hague Blue Colour Review
In this bathroom by Farrow and Ball, you can see the richness and depth of Hague Blue.
Don’t start any interior design work without a signed letter of agreement and retainer payment.
It’s your business:
You make the rules
Your set the boundaries
You are in control
And guess what? The good clients love that!
If you missed my previous video, ‘What is a Retainer Agreement’, please watch that first. You can find it here. In that post I go into more detail about the purpose of letter of agreement itself.
In today’s video I focus on the retainer fee amount and how to work the retainer with your clients.
If you have ever chased clients for outstanding payments or had to reissue invoices & reminders time and again, then you know what a lousy feeling that is. It’s a terrible place to be.
Since the beginning of my career, I have been successfully reviewing my Letter of Agreement and collecting retainer payments from clients at the end of the initial consultation meeting, before moving ahead with design services. You can too.
Exude the confidence to take control & manage clients expectations on your various processes with my Letter of Agreement.
Having this powerful tool shows clients you are organised and on top of your game. When you invest in my Letter of Agreement & you’ll also receive a private link to a 20 minute video where I explain why you need an LOA; when to use it & a step by step of how to walk your client through the LOA.
Want Total Confidence in Your Consultation Process? Let’s ROCK this!
Whether you are just starting out in the business or are a well seasoned interior design professional, don’t waste any more of your precious time trying to refine your initial consultation process, because I’ve already done it all here for you.
Gain confidence to charge your worth and impress your clients from the very first phone call. My simplified, yet super effective 3-in-1 bundle package includes:
More than 20 templates
Over 7 drafted emails
An easy to follow process flow chart – all from the discovery call to the end of the initial consultation meeting
Not one, but two Letter or Agreement (LOA) templates, one for hourly services and another for design packages. Watch me explain in a step by step walk through video details of how to present your LOA and how to communicate the terms confidently to your clients.
PLUS – NEVER DONE BEFORE!
I include videos showing you how I speak to a potential client on an initial phone call and another video on how to conduct an initial consultation. Be a fly on the wall and learn how to avoid the BIGGEST MISTAKE designers are making in this first meeting!
There are also 4 scenarios where I show you how to deal with awkward client situations such as:
Asking about your discount
Having friends & other family members give decorating advice
How to handle if a client who challenges your process
How to deal with the ‘other half’ who may not be fully on board with hiring your extremely helpful services
The Colour of the Year is always a big talking point that everyone has an opinion on and I can’t say that I’m any different!
If nothing else, I love that it gets people talking about colour, as everyone is so passionate when it comes to colour and how it makes them feel.
The Sherwin Williams Colour of the Year, Naval SW 6244, was announced last month and as a huge fan of Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore, I can’t help but love Naval too.
Earlier this month I was invited to the Benjamin Moore Colour of the Year event in Toronto. Although many speculated that the Benjamin Moore Colour this year would also be a dramatic, deep and moody tone, it was quite the opposite.
Benjamin Moore Colour of the Year:
First Light 2102-70
Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore Director of Colour Marketing and Development, said “We selected First Light 2102-70 as our Colour of the Year 2020 to represent a new dawn of idealism, design and living. First Light 2102-70 reflects a new definition of the home – a shift in mindset from the material to satisfying the core needs in life: community, comfort, security, self-expression, authenticity and ultimately, optimism.”
We have actually been seeing this colour for a long time in interior design, but more in soft blush accessories, fabrics and other accents. Even if you don’t love the colour for your walls, it may be the perfect accent colour to compliment a main colour within your chosen colour palette or design.
Along with the Colour of the Year, Benjamin Moore also announced: Ten harmonious hues have been selected to guide us into the next 10 years and beyond.
Images from the Benjamin Moore Colour Trends 2020 palette can be see below. All photos are courtesy of Benjamin Moore.
Windmill Wings 2067-60
Blue Danube 2062-30
Buxton Blue HC-149
Crystalline AF – 485
Cushing Green HC-145
Oxford Gray 2128-40
White Heron OC -57
Golden Straw 2152-50
What do you think of these Colour Trends 2020 from Benjamin Moore? I quite like them, even though I’m not a huge fan of pastel colours. When put together in a thoughtful way in interior design, they make for gorgeous colour palettes.
If you are struggling with choosing paint colours, be sure to check out my Essential Colour Guides. More paint colour guides will be added over time, so be sure to check back here often for new paint colours.
Do you ever have outstanding invoices for services from clients? You need to make sure you are getting paid up front. In this post I’m going to tell you how to do just that with a Retainer Agreement.
If you don’t have a Letter of Agreement, here’s where you can get mine. But first, watch the video below to learn more about how and why this initial contract is imperative to have in place for your business.
I’ve set up my processes so that I am never out of pocket for services. I always have a signed retainer agreement before commencing design services and you should too.
What is a Retainer Agreement?
A retainer agreement is essentially a contract between you and your client. It states the terms of how you work, the scope of a project and services you will provide, as well as details of your fee schedule.
How elaborate and detailed the retainer agreement is, will depend on your business model. Either way, your Letter of Agreement is in place so that you receive a retainer fee up front for services and your clients understand the terms and conditions of working with you.
This structured way of working also shows clients that you are an organized professional with processes in place. The good interior design clients really like that and respect you more for it.
I actually have 2 that I use depending on whether clients are hiring us for hourly services or for flat-fee packages.
As we have done so many interior design 3D plans and that is one of our most popular offerings to clients, I already know how much plans are going to cost, based on the size of the project.
A Retainer Is Still Important Even For Complex Jobs
If the project is going to be more involved & more time is required to finalize the scope of work & determine pricing for service fees, then even in those circumstances, we still ask for a retainer to hold a space in our calendar for that client’s project.
A big mistake that a lot of designers make is that they either leave the document for clients to review on their own or they email it to clients after they’ve sent a proposal.
This is a big no-no in my book. One main reason people do that is because they are nervous about pulling out a contract and discussing it through with clients. Whereas I see it completely differently and encourage you to as well. This is a fantastic opportunity to manage your client’s expectations! Sitting down to review any contract allows for an open conversation so the client can get a good grasp on what to expect moving forward .
It also provides the chance for clients to ask you any more questions & for you to further clarify how you will work together moving forward. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity! Hit it head on with confidence!
How Much Should You Ask For?
We ask for 50% of the estimated total cost for services. For example, if our 3D design concepts start at $3000, I will request $1500 at the end of our initial consultation meeting with the balance being due 5 days prior to a presentation meeting.
My business model is a hybrid model which means that we charge a flat fee for plans that take clients to the point of presentation and then an hourly fee for our services to implement our design ideas.
If a client wishes to continue with our design services and signs off on the ideas we presented, then phase two is the implementation stage. For that we have a separate purchasing agreement that covers all aspects of managing the design to the big reveal day and that includes the purchasing of the furniture and warranties etc.
Get My Retainer Agreements
If you want to save time in developing your own Agreement, I have mine for purchase here on my website. It’s the agreement that I use to move clients past the initial consultation and onto our first level of services.
I also include a coaching video where I do a walk through to show you exactly how I present my retainer agreement to clients. You will need to do some minor edits to suit your own business model and add your own logo and business details.
Please note that this is a one-page agreement, not a lengthy contract or for purchasing products. Find out more here.
Comment below to let me know if you use a Retainer Agreement in your business.
In this week’s video I share both my favourite interior decorating features inside the home and the ‘Design Disappointments’.
Hey, I appreciate that not everything in a residential interior design project is going to resonate with everybody and there will always be critics.
As an Interior Design Professional who works with clients on a daily basis to redesign and redecorate their homes, I wanted to share my perspective and thoughts. I welcome your feedback as well, please leave a comment here on my blog.
Also, what kind of Colour Expert would I be if I didn’t mention the Benjamin Moore paint colours?! Read on past the video to find out what paint colours were used in this home.
My Favourite Things
Mill Work & Trim
When you hear the expression, ‘It’s all in the details’ you cannot argue that in this home, each room has substantial elements of beautiful, detailed custom mill work.
Wallpaper and Drapery
Interior Designer Brian Gluckstein is well known for using subtle and sophisticated wallpaper and drapery in his projects. This Princess Margaret Lottery Showhome is no exception. Here are some of my favourite rooms with these exquisite decorative elements.
Gallery Wall & Artwork
In terms of wall art for home decor, we have been seeing large prints either framed or on canvas for quite some time.
Here in the Princess Margaret Lottery Home, that trend was no exception. But first, you’ve got to see this gallery wall which is one of the most interesting I’ve even seen!
The main reason it’s so unique is because it wraps around a curved wall in the stairway. All photos are in black and white with black frames. Quite the statement, wouldn’t you agree?
Here are two more art pieces that could be found on the second level of the Princess Margaret Lottery Home.
In the video I am able to easily convey my feelings about why I feel the way that I do about some of the main areas within the home. (This is why I always promote video for your business as the best way to share your message!)
Please watch the video if you want to hear opinions straight from the ‘horse’s mouth’. -that’s me! I’ve made bullet points below to list elements of the design that I was deeply disappointed in for such a luxurious family home.
The Kitchen – Things that make you go ‘hmmm’
The bookcase murals that cover each fridge on both ends of the kitchen
Seating configuration at the island -are we in a hibachi restaurant?
Lack of counter space between the stove and the sink
The kitchen is open to the hallway, but not open to other rooms
The Laundry Room – Or Lack Thereof
No actual laundry ‘room’, but rather a walk through laundry area between the kitchen and the pathway to the garage & side door
No rod nor a dedicated area to hang delicate items to dry
Not enough space to place a laundry basket AND fold your laundry at the same time
Second floor laundry is in an awkward location, at top of the stairs in the middle of the main hallway (see below, second image)
With the ‘all in one washer & dryer’, the linen closet doesn’t leave much room for linens, pillows, or duvets
Custom Vanities Fall Short
I absolutely appreciate that these two vanities were likely built to look like furniture – and there is no denying they are absolutely GORGEOUS!
But why not have them custom built wall to wall? The gaps between the walls on either side are not practical & you run the risk of having toiletries that will inevitably be placed here, likely falling to the floor.
These ‘gaps’ also become a dust trap, especially with the area underneath being open. I mean, can you imagine how many dust bunnies would be playing under there at any given time? Hopefully the eventual owners will be able to employ a daily cleaner.
A Basement Fit for a….a…..Spinning instructor and Masseuse
Most families I know, including my own, love to spend time playing board games, cards, darts or watching movies. Often, these activities take place in the basement -especially for us since we live in a small 3 bedroom bungalow.
I also understand that every year there is added pressure to come up with a design that has an incredible ‘Wow’ factor. Last year the home had this 2 lane bowling alley. Now that was fun!
This year it was all about wellness, with a Spinning room and large spa area. There is no denying that the space is absolutely worthy of a jaw drop when you first enter, but is it the best use of space for a family basement?
In my opinion, no. Here’s a summary of what I felt the basement was lacking:
A games area with storage -where is all the storage for board games, video games, DVD’s?
The TV/Movie space was small with seating arranged in a way that did not look like everyone could adequately and easily view the TV
A wet bar…there is no bar! Nowhere to make popcorn, no mini fridge to grab a pop. Must I walk all the way upstairs to get the wine?
Privacy in the open tub, sauna and shower area.
Alright, so there you have it. I told you what I thought and now it’s your turn! Comment below to let me know what you think about this Lottery Showhome?
Regardless of whether you feel the same as me, the event the Princess Margaret Lottery Home stands for is worthy of supporting. Go get your tickets here now. Good luck!
2319 Glenwood School Drive, Burlington, Ontario. L7R 3R6 email@example.com 905-599-2588 Hours of Operation: 9:30am – 4:30pm