I paid a fruitful visit to my regional design center last week. As I wandered in and out of showrooms with my favorite client, I realized how overwhelming the design process can be. I thought I would share a few photos from one of the top showrooms in the country.
Keep in mind that these three shots represent a fraction of a fraction of what this particular showroom has to offer.
That’s just three aisles you see, Readers. It is one of dozens of fabric, furniture, cabinetry, flooring, tile and fixture showrooms in the complex, all with equally large, equally beautiful selections to choose from. My feet hurt just writing about it!
My design center is on the small side when compared to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, or Miami, so imagine this times a million or more. In a best case scenario, your designer has built a long standing relationship with these vendors and manufacturers.
Their time, energy, and research saves you money. The relationships they cultivate are beneficial to their clients. Designers don’t want to spend all your money. They want to find you the best quality at the right price point for your budget.
The color palette and design were exactly what my client wanted for a chair, but it was $278.00 a yard. That is outrageous for her budget, mine too for that matter, but it gave us a jumping off point. Because I’ve walked the floors, I know that there is a reasonably priced facsimile of this fabric in another showroom, and it will still have the look she’s going for. It just won’t be as elaborately detailed.
(As a side note: This is one reason why great pillows are so expensive. I promise, if you were left to wander through a design center alone, you would fall out on the floor and beg for mercy. It can be overwhelming for designers too.)
See this collection?
It is only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the contents of the box of informational material I picked up at the 2012 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show last month. Companies are getting more and more creative with how they present their lines to designers, architects and builders. Tons of flash drives filled with product information are camouflaged in countertop samples, key rings, a Zen necklace, “Credit” cards and even a pen. It is a heavy box, filled with tiny contents.
Finding the info in the pen was exciting for me. I have to give major props to Toto’s creatives for that stroke of genius.
All of this to say, that as I sit down and go through my notes, press kits and digital media, I’ll be sharing the best finds from the show with you. I’m going to go through all of it, so you don’t have to. As in the showrooms, I consider myself to be a curator here, and I hope you’ll take the information I share with you to your designer so that he or she can help you determine the best fit for your project.
Even if your budget is small, a designer can save you money by eliminating costly mistakes. Their job is to look beyond the immediate need and towards the long term goal of the client. Talk to your designer openly about your expectations and your budget. It’s the first step to a great marriage, and it is a marriage, that ultimately gives you the home of your dreams.