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.