What’s difference between an interior decorator and interior designer?
Interior decorators help furnish and/or accessorize interiors to create a space that is both beautiful and a reflection of your personality. With Michelle Binette Design, this also includes smaller construction jobs (ie. built-ins or fireplaces), as well as selecting finishes for your renovation project.
Interior designers help design and renovate interiors. They will redesign your space from the ground up, as well as navigating day-to-day details like working with contractors, some designers so also offer decorating services.
Should you hire a decorator or a designer?
If you’re your project doesn’t include structural changes and you need help deciding on style, furniture placement, choosing furnishings, wallpaper, paint, window treatments, lighting and accessories, then working with an interior decorating firm, like Michelle Binette Design, is the best way to go. We can help you bring an entirely new look to your existing space.
If you’re working on a remodel and require guidance beyond aesthetics (structural changes such as removing a wall, moving plumbing around, or adding new windows or doors) then Michelle Binette Design is not the best fit for your project, we recommend working with an interior design firm.
What type of client / projects are we looking for?
We are looking for clients who value the processes and creativity that a only a professional can bring to a project. We work best with clients who are decisive, and ready to take action. Trust is an important element in any client/decorator relationship, you should not be afraid to let us make big decisions if needed.
The most successful projects are the ones where clients are honest, make time for the process and put the trust is us to deliver the result they are looking for.
Projects that aren’t a fit for us include staging projects (note: Airbnb’s are not considered staging) or large renovation projects.
What is the best advice you can give clients just starting?
- We are often booked weeks and sometimes months out, so early planning is key
- Allocate time in your schedule before the design process starts
- Be prepared with inspiration images
- Be prepared to make decisions at our design meetings or quickly thereafter
- Put your trust in us and the process
- Expect something to go not-to-plan, it will happen every time
- It’s okay to be upset or frustrated by something, but we would rather talk about it and help you through it
What are some challenges that can arise in a project?
Here is a list of typical challenges that we’ve seen:
- Busy clients. Your project will require your time to make decisions and take action items away to implement. Be sure to schedule your time accordingly and keep progress moving ahead.
- Absentee clients. From time to time, clients “disappear” on us for weeks at a time. If after 10 days of no responses, we automatically pause all work. In these scenarios, there is a charge to re-start a project.
- Not reading legal agreements fully. It is the our responsibility to provide you with a contract and offer to review it together. It is the clients responsibility to read and understand the contract. We can not make someone read our contract, but it is our responsibility to enforce our Agreements.
- Clients shopping on their own (aka going rogue). All selections are presented and considered as a whole, when clients shop on their own it can impact all other selections presented, this means more revisions and more options, which means added costs.
- Clients changing their mind. In each of our meetings, we take direct action based upon client feedback to implement solutions and products. Changing your mind often means added costs.
How do we make project decisions?
The Design Decision Triangle helps illustrate the combination of the three most common requests received, and while it’s not impossible to achieve all three it’s not likely.
- We can design something quickly and of high quality (good), but it won’t be cheap
- We can design something quickly and cheaply, but it’s not likely to be good (high quality)
- We can design something of high quality (good) and low cost, but it won’t be fast
What does the process look like?
You’ll start by filling out this form, from there you’ll schedule a discovery call. We’ll talk about your project and goals, and you can ask us any questions you have.
From there we’ll schedule a Consultation, this is a working session for up to two hours. During this session we’ll learn more about your project needs, goals and budget. We’ll tour the spaces to be decorated and any other spaces that might be relevant to your design plan. During this working session you’ll be given valuable ideas, guidance and tips. We’ll also review our process and the terms in our Letter of Agreement.
How long does a typical project take?
The length of the project varies depending on the scope of work, but phase 1 (kick-off to presentation) can take anywhere from six to eight weeks. Execution can vary from two months to six months depending on where furnishings are sourced and lead times associated. A true timeframe cannot be determined until furnishings are approved and lead times are estimated.
The timeframe will be discussed at the beginning of your project, but a critical factor is how quickly decisions are made. The most successful projects are with clients who are ready to make decisions quickly.
Will you work within my budget?
Yes, but our job is to ensure you understand what is realistic within your budget. We will ensure you have realistic expectations of what can be accomplished and guide you on where to best spend your money. Most clients have no idea what their budget should be. If you do have a number in mind, a good rule of thumb is to multiply that number by two or even three in order to accomplish your wish list.
When we present project budgets they usually elicit an initial emotional response, but when reviewed line by line, clients will see where the number came from and are always happy with the end result. The beautiful projects on our website are the result of full-service, healthy budgets.
Can I use my existing furniture?
For sure! Many clients own furniture, art or accessories which hold sentimental value to them. Great design shows personality and tells a story, and the best way to do this is with pieces that have meaning. That being said, our role is also to create a beautiful, functional space, to ensure this happens, we’ll be honest and let you know what works and what doesn’t. It may mean that something needs to move to another room or space where it’ll be better suited.
Do you do work outside of Toronto?
Yes! I travel up to 45 minutes outside of Toronto, additional travel fees may apply. If you’re interested in working with me, but live outside the Toronto area.
How involved do I need to be in the design process?
This is completely up to you! We find that our clients generally fall into two categories; those who want to be a part of the process and those who don’t. That being said, it’s important that the space reflects your personality and style, in order to accomplish this there is some information and involvement we’ll need from your early in each phase (see “Your Role” pages).
What style do you like to work on most?
We love the modern California vibe. Lots of white walls, textures, beautiful warm wood tones with a mix of high and low, old and new. That said, we work with our clients to create a space that reflects their personality, style and goals. Finding a designer or decorator with a portfolio that reflects your goals is important though, we recommend checking out our portfolio or Instagram to ensure we’re a good fit aesthetically.
What are your design fees?
Every project is different, with this in mind we start every project with an in-home Consultation to really understand the goals and scope of the project. Consultations are $425+tax for up to two hours. Following the Consultation we will provide a service proposal which outlines the estimated hours for your project. Minimum project design fee is $5000, no matter how small the job.