Instant Gratification vs. Quality Results

In my 7 years of designing high-end residential homes, I feel as though I have seen a wide array of products differing in their beauty, design, construction, origin, price, and quality. I love buying something online and cutting open the box, to find the product even better than I imagined! The texture is even better in person, the switch on the lamp is even easier to use and of higher quality than I expected, and the shade color isn't so "stark" white like the picture showed, etc. 

 Green Hills Georgian Project - Designed by, the-ever-so inspiring, Sarah Bartholomew

Green Hills Georgian Project - Designed by, the-ever-so inspiring, Sarah Bartholomew

As exciting as a quick, online, "instant gratification" purchase can be, you can certainly find yourself feeling exactly the opposite.  - The texture on the base of the lamp is pink, not that soft brown I imagined. The switch on the lamp is broken, and now I have to go through the process of submitting an RA and having FedEx or UPS pick it up, or even better, making a special trip to the drop off center. That shade! Wow, super cheap. Is it plastic on the inside? I thought the fabric would be linen, not a white paper. (I could go on and on).

 Lighting Sources Available: cs@caseysanfordinteriordesign.com

Lighting Sources Available: cs@caseysanfordinteriordesign.com

As I am sitting here writing this, I realize this is almost therapy for me to express the words I have often heard from clients when they tried to complete a room on their own, or insisted having something directly shipped to them, rather let us take care of it for them. This is one small area in our every day work regime, that we take care of day in and day out to avoid that step or frustration for our clients.

I love every step of the design process. It thrills me to know that we have researched the product, presented it in a way to the clients, that it not only sold them on the quality and the look for their particular room, but also the process of letting us manage the project and items for them. We get to personally touch and look each item over before we ever reveal anything to the client for the final room install.

 Master Bedroom Project in Arlington, VA

Master Bedroom Project in Arlington, VA

The same happens with large items. Custom items that we design and specify for each client go straight to our receiver for inspection, assembly if needed, and then prepared for the final room reveal. Some times the items we specify are in stock and available to ship within a few weeks. Other times, we wait 6 - 8 weeks for fabric to be applied to a sofa, with that special tape and nail head banding designed to wrap the base for a unique touch and contrast. In the worst cases, sometimes an item or fabric is back ordered, and we may wait a few extra weeks, maybe even a month or two. But the same conclusion has always been unanimous - "It was WORTH the wait!" 

Rarely do we ever have anyone complain of a lead time. Of course, we would all love for the room to be designed within a week, and the furniture to arrive a week later! But there is an understanding and sense of comfort when there is an educated and informative conversation that happens between the designer and client - and also an open mean of communication if something does come up!  We try to do this on our initial visits with new, and existing clients. Setting the appropriate expectations, understanding overall cost of a space, respecting the client's budget - while also discussing and helping the client map out what each room should cost, based on their specific home and their desired look, as well as longevity.

The one thing we, as an interior design firm, want to accomplish, is ease of process. If it's easier for the client to envision, comprehend, and feel comfort knowing what the end game will be - the more at peace we feel on our end to deliver the absolute best design, customer service, and completed product possible.

I find myself trying to explain myself as left and right brained individual. Meaning - the left brain loves the numbers, the paperwork, the filing, the emails. I know - so weird. While the right side of my brain obsesses and seeks joy in the designing and planning of a full room or full home design. Focusing on the details of a custom pillow, or picking the right finish on a frame for a piece of art, digging through rows of rug samples and fabric samples on a mission to find that pattern or texture, etc. to bring the space together is a puzzle in of itself, and I love working that way, especially along side a client, to achieve their desired look.

For me, and for our business, we see them as one in the same. The jive and balance of budget, details, design, communication, timing, ordering, etc - all demands one cohesive plan.   This is a discussion Houston and I have daily after meeting with our reps, business associates, and clients. The conversation that a lot of designers are not having with their customers. Every day is no doubt a work in progress and sometimes our most difficult challenges root unbelievable conclusions and implement a more clear process for the next opportunity.

 Left: Design Concept, Right: Completed Install

Left: Design Concept, Right: Completed Install

This past April, we celebrated the 2 year anniversary of our business. Unbelievable what has happened in a short two year span. Projects from way down South in Cleveland, Mississippi to up in beautiful, quaint Darien, Connecticut. Houston left the law firm last July to come on as COO and Project Manager, and now we are hiring our first time full-time designer to come on board in June! We have quickly outgrown our 2 month old storage unit (as well as our home office) and now narrowing down options for office space in the Old Town/Del Ray area.  So many exciting new steps along the way, and to come. We feel eternally grateful to our family, friends, clients, referrals, and wise council for being apart of this exciting ride. 

Follow the link below to La Dolce Vita's 2017 Mother's Day Gift Guide: http://www.ladolcevitablog.com/2017/05/03/mothers-day-gift-guide-3/

 

 

XOXO,

Casey Sanford