Client Confessions: Capella Kincheloe

Client Confessions: Capella Kincheloe

You very rarely hear about design from the design client unless it is in a shelter magazine or a bad review online.  But there are thousands of experiences in between.  Here is a perspective of different projects through the eyes of a client and the value they see in interior design.  This series is to help other designers understand design clients better and for clients to see the value of interior design.

What made you decide to hire a designer?

I had to get very honest with myself about how I wanted to spend my time. While I love looking at furniture and everything related to homes and decorating, it is an entirely different process to have to shop for a room full, or a home full, of furniture, rugs, art and accessories. Even if you don’t mind the amount of time and energy it takes to do that amount of running around, I think you have to ask yourself if you have that very specific skill set 

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Working with a designer how to be a good client on Capella Kincheloe Interior Design Phoenix

In my series, Business of Design,I help designers run better businesses.  I also have helped a client or two find the right interior designers.  This list, how to be a good client, is based on hiring the right designer, someone who is just as considerate of these items as you're going to be.  Designing a home is a collaboration, so the project can only be completed with cooperation from both the clients and designer team.  So you've found a great designer, here are 7 requirements to being a good client and having the best experience.


This is the most important.  If you hired a designer to help you, you better trust them.  Trust them to make good decisions for you, trust them to be honest, because nothing sours a relationship more than distrust.  Trust their design, because we are creative people and when client's second guess or reject creative ideas we die a little inside.


Be open to your designer's ideas and vision for the project, trust them to take you out of your comfort zone a little.  Designers are creative for a living and if you open your mind to their ideas you will end up happier in the end for it.  You hired them to do something to your home that you couldn't so let them flex their creative muscles.  One of the most rewarding things I hear from clients is, "I would have never thought of that."


If you hired the right designer, they will be a great project manager or have a great project manager.  Do not tell your designer how to do their job or obsessively check to see if they have done something.  You know what micromanaging is - don't do it.


Thou shalt not shop behind your designer's back.  Thou shalt not steal your designers ideas.  Thou shalt not lie or be sneaky.  Thou shalt not be unethical.


Don't waffle and waver.  Stick to your decisions and make decisions quickly.  Not doing so can delay the project and cost you money.  Constantly questioning the decisions you've made and the choices of your designer is a slippery slope to a design that lacks integrity and ultimately frustration.


This also goes under be ethical, but your designer is running a business, not a bank and should be paid for her services.  If you are concerned about the bill, open the dialog with your designer - if she is the right one she'll explain and help you understand the charges.  But if you don't trust (see #1) this may not be the right fit.


Often the designer will see the big picture, the end result, the ultimate design when the client cannot.  The best results are when the clients can let go and let the designer do their job.  So often clients second-guess or over-analyze.  In the end, projects turn out better when the clients aren't stressing over every detail.

Title Image: Flowering Cherry 1 by Michaela Pereira


5 reasons to not hire an interior designer photo credit: dttsp Hiring a professional to help you with your home or office is a big deal.  It's no easy feat, you are letting this person into your personal environs and into the way you live.  You may feel you can do it on your own, you may think you can't afford help, maybe you just don't know how to find the right person.

{Download Interior Design QuestionnaireBefore They're Hired: 12 Essential Questions to Ask A Designer Now}

Just as there are very good reasons to hire an interior designer or decorator there are also some very good reasons to not.  Some designers are desperate for work and will tell you what you want to hear just to secure the job.   So if any of the below reasons apply to you and a designer still accepts the job I foresee rough waters ahead for the project.


1.  If you are looking for someone to agree with your every design choice.   If you aren’t open to new ideas the relationship will never work and your house will reflect that.

2.  You are not ready to invest in your home's interiors.  This doesn’t mean that you must have a large budget or spend more than you can afford or are comfortable with, but if you aren’t ready to pony up a little to improve your surroundings, don’t hire a designer.

3.  You don’t know what you want.  While this may seem like a good reason to hire a designer, if you don’t have any idea how you use your space, how you want it to feel, or what you like or don’t like it’ll be even harder for the designer to determine and create a space that is uniquely you.  A designer can help guide your design and decisions, but can’t make them for you.

4.  You want to do all the shopping yourself.  If you are going to take your designer’s ideas and go shop for those items on your own, do not hire a designer.  Instead, when interviewing designers ask if they could create a plan you can follow for a fixed price.  Some designers will be open to this and others won’t, but at least you’ll be open and honest up front.

5.  You think you can do it yourself.  If you want to do it yourself or think you're going to do a better job than a designer.  I've seen people meet with a designer and start the process only to prove to themselves that they don't need the help of a professional.  If you think you can do it yourself don't waste your time exploring working with a designer.  This seems like common-sense, but believe me I've seen it happen.

Keep the conversation going in the comments below!

Why do you feel ready (or not) to hire a designer?


Its become clear to me that not everyone understands what an interior designer does, what my job is, how I spend my day.  Unfortunately the proliferation of media has not helped this, but made it worse.  But, its not just that, the business itself is inconsistent and varies from designer to designer (or decorator to decorator).  Each of us choose how to run our business, what the scope of our services will be, are educated differently with different specialities, and how to price.  So I understand that this makes it difficult for clients and those not in the industry.

To boil it down, I work with the client and a team to create a design concept and manage the execution.

So let me tell you what I do as simply as possible.  I work with my clients to create a design concept that fits their space and how they live.  This is the first thing and I think hardest for clients to understand paying someone for their intellectual property - my design - because most of the work the client does not see, the research, the shopping, making sure things fit both spacially and in design, the floor plans, details, relationship between design and functionality for my client.  If I have done my job well, the client presentation is seamless, planned, and a concept that the client loves.

The design concept phase can be initiated at any time for any space.  For example, if you are building a house, you can bring me on for a whole-house concept, down to the building materials and finishes.  On the other end, if you have most of your furniture and need help pulling it all together, we can work on a design concept for that as well.

Once the design concept is agreed upon and accepted, we move into purchasing.  Sourcing the just right coffee table on budget and managing the purchase, completion, storage, and final installation go into each purchase.  I am a project manager, making sure that items arrive on-time as specified and in good condition.  This requires regular check-ins and phone calls to vendors and showrooms.  But again, my job is to make this seamless, planned, and uneventful for the client.  Issues do arise and I have to keep my clients up-to-date and avoid surprises.

Part of being project manager, I work with architects and builders, contractors and subcontractors to make sure the client's space is completed successfully, on time, on budget, and as desired.