Feature Article Sidebar - Ashley J. Harper

Feature Article Sidebar

Section of a feature article comprised of segments from multiple contributors.


Help! My Floors Are Boring...


There are a lot of things that come to mind when we feel like freshening up our surroundings — a new coat of paint, maybe some wallpaper, a stylish light fixture, new furniture, maybe even just a throw pillow or two. But while you’re standing there looking around, have you ever looked down? How about those floors?

I don’t know about you, but changing a floor has always seemed a more daunting task than, say, new paint on the walls. I mean, if your ideal color happens to turn out kind of hideous once its spread across the length of the room, all you have to do is repaint. Sure, its a pain in the... ah... wallet, but not that big a deal. The floor, on the other hand... Well, you know... everything sits on it. And you have to tear out the old one. And there are so many options. And... and... and...

Where do you even begin?

Maybe an interior designer can help. A good designer will ask the questions necessary to guide you through the selection process and lead you directly to the most qualified products based on your needs, your taste and your budget, eliminating guesswork and saving you time.

Questions like: How do you intend to use the space? What styles do you gravitate towards? What don’t you like? Because the truth is, no matter how overwhelming the project may seem, or how ambivalent you initially feel, somewhere inside, you do have an idea of what you want. Its the designer’s job to unveil this for you and articulate it. And as a part of the industry, designers have an advantage that you may not: they have access to, and knowledge of a wide array of products and accomplished craftspeople. Not only that, they have the skills and tools to illustrate — either digitally, by hand, or in combination — the final product in the desired location to show you how new selections will work aesthetically.

So how does it work?

While each designer is unique and the details here pertain specifically to Design Studio 15, the overall process is the same throughout the industry. The designer begins by meeting you and gaining a general understanding of your needs. We will come to your home or other job site, as we feel this is the best way for you to convey your needs to us and to begin to understand how we work, as well. We may bring you to a showroom to educate you on your choices and assist in selections. We also recommend that you gather “mood shots” or images of spaces you like from magazines or other sources. This is very helpful in guiding a designer to your more personal tastes. It is also very important that you honestly communicate your likes and dislikes, as well as the realities of your budget, throughout the process. After all, the goal is that you — not the designer — will live in and love this space once it's done.

To achieve this, many things are considered before and during the design process: how is the space to be used? is it mostly aesthetic or functional? what are your family’s routines? what are your passions and needs? what is your budget? what is the scale, color, lighting, etc. of the space? what are the potential installation limitations or possibilities? are there any alternative options that may be better than your initial expectations? An alternative use for the space, for instance.

Design is constantly evolving and changing, with new technology and styles always adding to the plethora of choices. This is one of the greatest advantages of working with a designer — designers are continuously learning, researching, and looking for new products and trends to keep up-to-date and ahead of the curve. Continuing education seminars and strong vendor relationships help us stay abreast of the latest products.

At Design Studio 15, we pride ourselves on thinking outside of the box in order to provide the most creative and relevant options and choices. We also understand the benefit of multiple perspectives. So, while the lead designers may head the projects and develop the concepts, we all work as a team to make sure we think of all possibilities.

The in-depth exploration of options and preferences necessary when working with a designer brings your concepts into sharp focus and can help make sure the project is done correctly the first time around with no false starts or wasted cost. Designers will often pass their trade savings — typically less than retail — on to you. In addition, you can benefit from the designer’s industry relationships: they will have preferred tradespeople they can recommend based on prior projects, experience, and a positive working relationship. These trade references tend to deliver timely, accurate and professional completion of projects, and will guarantee their work. You should always feel empowered to select whom you choose to work with, but a first-hand recommendation can give you greater confidence than simply selecting from a list of local providers.

We find that the relationships we have with our clients is the most rewarding aspect of being an interior designer. It is a very humbling experience to be invited into someone’s home and entrusted with their intimate visions of what the spaces can become. This is a very personal process and in order for it to be successful, it is of the utmost importance that you feel comfortable sharing your goals and requirements honestly with your designer. Designers are as unique as you are, and if you do not feel a sense of mutual understanding early on, you may want to seek out a different one. It is, after all, your space we’re talking about.

Powered by SmugMug Log In