There are essentially 2 ways I typically work with clients in my interior design business. The first is full service project management, where I design, implement and oversee the transformation of a renovation or decoration project. Most of the clients I work with want the luxury of hiring a professional who can essentially say- “trust me to handle this”- and then they step back and we do just that. It’s a great partnership of trust and spectacular results can occur when this trust is there.

The second way I work with clients is in a design consultation. Design consultations are perfect for: a) people who can take a plan and run with it; b) people who have a plan and are looking for ways to maximize said plan; c) people who have the funds allocated to purchase home decor items but not to hire a designer in a full service capacity.

If a design consultation might be a good fit for you, here are a few tips on what to expect from a consultation with me and how to make a design consultation run smoothly.

1. Call in advance. If you know you need advice for your living room to get it ready for Christmas for example, give yourself lots of time in advance. While I do my best to fit consultations in as early as my schedule allows, typically it is 3-4 weeks from the time of your call. So to avoid disappointment, call with lots of time to spare.

2. Be prepared. I come to a consultation ready with a paint deck, paper, marker set, ruler, tape measure and iPhone (soon to be iPad!) to show you examples of furniture, window treatments, etc. on-line, on the spot, to aid in our discussion. You can maximize your time with me by having a list of questions and images and measurements of furniture pieces you want to incorporate if they are not already in the room. The more you have ready for me, the more you’ll get out of the design consult.

3. Pick a space to focus on. While I inevitably end up walking around the entire house during a consultation to give general tips on window treatments, light fixtures, paint colours etc. I like to try and focus on a primary area that we can build a good plan on. For me, this means we work out the furniture layout, window treatments, paint colours, lighting fixtures, potential art and accessory placement for one room in totality and I sketch it for you to keep. The sketch is obviously rough and done on the spot, but it will give you a general sense of how I picture a completed room in magazine photo ready form.

4. Maximize your time. I book a minimum 2 hour consultation that I will sometimes break up between your home and my office if I feel it will serve you best. For example, if there is a perfect wallpaper or tile selection that I have in my office library, or if I think a more detailed drawing of an area will be beneficial for you in achieving your design goals, then I’ll allocate some time in my office and send you notes after the fact. While I am in your home, you can maximize your time by being prepared (see point 2) and putting your phone on silent. Schedule your consult when you know your home will be relatively quiet without distraction, and at a time of day when you know you can focus on all the great things we’re going to talk about to make your home spectacular.

Photo by Larry Arnal.

Design consults make great gifts and can be done in person, or anywhere in the world with an Internet connection and Skype capabilities. Contact us at info@lisacanning.ca for more information.


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