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Hiring an Interior Designer for Furnishings

I have teetered back and forth on whether we want to do the furniture thing for a while now. Because we do not get a lot of furniture requests, it is the area we are least practiced in. Then, we get to the selection and it starts to feel like glorified personal shopping, which is not how designers are trained (at least in today’s college programs). Today’s training focuses on DESIGNING the furniture specifically for the space it was to be a part of. Trying to select retail or even designer showroom pieces that already exist feel a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It takes a LOT of design time, then we look at the piece and say “perfect, but I don’t like the curve of those legs”.. and the legs only come with that curve. So the search starts over. It’s frustrating and that is the part of the job I have never enjoyed- because it’s not design… it’s shopping. We are not buyers, and personally, I’m not a fan of shopping.

We expect designer furnishings to be built on the west coast if we are sourcing them for west coast clients.

Reducing the carbon footprint is important to Waldron Designs. We realize that most furniture is built in North Carolina. So, finding local manufacturers to ship locally is very important to us.

We expect designer furnishings to be made ethically.

Designer furnishings should use renewable resources and FSC certified wood. We expect these pieces to not participate in live down plucking. We expect them to allow us to choose options such as 100% natural latex as a filling, rather than toxic foams.

We expect designer furnishings to be of the utmost quality construction.

Designer furnishings should at minimum have Sinuous springs, preferably they should be eight-way hand tied. The wood should be doweled together or at least screwed together, not stapled. Sofas should have support at the corners to prevent splitting.

We expect designer furnishings to give complete customizability.

Many years ago I decided that I would not work with any major cabinet manufacturers. I would only work with local, custom shops. It was the best decision I ever made simply due to the incredible level of customization. Many ‘designer’ furnishings are provided with one fabric option, one wood finish option, one leg style, etc. While others offer options, they are limited. Nail head vs no nail head, etc. I just wasn’t passionate about picking pieces that had already been supplied to me.

As of today (okay, maybe a week ago), we made the decision that we will no longer source products this way. Our new policy for furniture selection and design is as follows:

All furnishings and furnishing projects will be 100% custom designed pieces

It sounds horribly expensive, we know. And, we do have options for working wtih your retail purchases but being a designer, it does not seem ethical to charge designer fees to pick and choose something someone else designed, which cannot be customized to meet specific needs or styles. And, depending on the piece, for the most part they price out very much like high end retail (Restoration Hardware). If you ask me, that’s well worth it to have a piece that will be like no other in the world.

We understand that high end retail is often outside the budget range. So, let’s talk about the alternatives and how we are approaching them (or not approaching them)

Online purchasing

While we understand that this can be the best shopping on a budget, and it is easy, we are unable to provide the kind of service or product that we can stand behind. Instead, we recommend using e-design services. It is a great option for people on a tight budget, but please be understanding that expecting high end services is unrealistic.

We absolutely will review your selections as a design consultant, however we cannot guarantee your happiness with these selections simply because we do not know the product, the construction, and often dimensions provided are either not trustworthy, or we haven’t had the time to review all the existing conditions as well as all the detailed conditions of the piece(s) selected.

Retail shopping

Again, this is no longer a service we provide. When looking for products from local furniture stores, we instead recommend utilizing the in-house designers. If you’re looking at multiple stores to create a balance, the in-house designers will understand this. Bring the selections you have made at one store to the next to ensure that they work well together, and voila- a designed space at no additional cost to you.

Most in-house designers will come to your home to measure, review the selections you have, and often will even draw up the plan. Like the online shopping- we are happy to review your purchases before you give the final thumbs up. Again, we cannot guarantee quality, comfort, consistency, etc.

To-The-Trade Showrooms

This is what most designers offer, however after years of doing this on rare occasions, we are finding that we don’t have the time to get to know the product, and it is very difficult to find all the pieces that meet the expectations we listed above. They simply aren’t really that custom. Now, that doesn’t mean it is entirely off the table. If we know of a piece that is JUST right, we may recommend it and go that route.

We are thrilled to have partnered with a small network of manufacturers in California that will build… anything we draw, to our specifications. The pieces come in quite affordable considering the level of customization. Once built, these pieces are delivered to our warehouse, inspected for any damage, repaired if necessary, then a date is scheduled for installation. We install while the owner is out and about, then unveil the finished space upon return!

Here’s the transparent and honest, open part. It does cost more. It costs more because the items are stored in a warehouse as they arrive to ensure that everything arrives unharmed and can all be delivered in one day. There are costs for the warehouse, costs for the delivery, then costs for the designers’ time to be there overseeing the installation process.

Design isn’t always affordable- but we want you to know what the alternatives are and ensure happiness, even if that means not using our services. We are happy to guide our community in the right direction because we all deserve to live in beautiful, uplifting spaces, regardless of budget!