You DON'T NEED a designer.
Go ahead. Reread the title. Yes, I just told you that you don't need to hire a designer. No, I am not trying to dissuade you from hiring Leslie Toran Interiors, or one of my colleagues for that matter. Let me explain. If you are here, you may have already read that part of the website that says that trust and chemistry are two of the most important aspects of the designer/client relationship. This is not merely a platitude that I threw up on the website because it sounds good. Trust cannot be established or maintained by peddling falsehoods. So, I'm going to be honest with you--you do not need to hire a designer.
If you are a parent, you are probably all-too-familiar with the need versus want conversation. A roof over your head, a functional place to store perishables and prepare meals, a working bathroom--these are all needs. Hiring a designer is a want, a luxury. Having a beautifully designed home is a luxury in much the same way as a visit to the salon, a winter break in a tropical locale, and a dinner at a fabulous restaurant are all luxuries. Of course you can paint your own nails, blow dry your own hair, and maybe even prepare your own gourmet meal. Most of my clients already have a fabulous sense of style or, at the very least, a strong appreciation for great design. They could outfit their own home.
But when you are ready to treat yourself, you turn to trained professionals to do these things. No doubt there are many practical advantages to hiring trained professionals. Think back to the hairstylist example above. If you are looking to make a dramatic change to your hair--perhaps you are a raven-haired brunette and are considering a switch to platinum blond--or even a more subtle refinement--say adding a few layers to a bob that is growing out--you probably would not run out to buy a bottle of bleach or shears from your local beauty supply. More likely, you would make an appointment with a stylist you trust, in part because you know there are huge advantages to hiring a professional hairstylist. Your hairstylist has experience and access to products that you do not have, and you most likely won't wind up with fluorescent orange hair or hair that looks like it was trimmed with a chainsaw (which is undoubtedly what would happen if I tried to do my own hair, by the way). So, if you are going to turn to a professional when you are spending a few hundred dollars on your hair, it only makes sense to use a professional when you are spending at least that much to make changes to what is likely your single largest asset, no? There are many substantial practical advantages to hiring a professional designer, all of which I will address in other posts. But for now, let's focus on the luxury aspect of hiring a designer.
You don't only go to an experienced hairstylist for purely practical reasons. Nor do you choose the luxury hotel simply because it provides a roof over your head while you enjoy the beach. You treat yourself to these things because you enjoy the experience. There is a certain pampering that goes along with visiting a beautiful salon or a fabulous hotel. In addition to knowing you won't walk out of the salon looking like you stuck your finger in a radioactive outlet, you also go to a salon because of that sublime massage while you are being shampooed and your stylist's witty conversation. At a hotel, the concierge's job is to ensure you have the best possible vacation experience. He or she is there to provide recommendations suitable for you and your family for everything from restaurants to activities. You may even take the concierge's advice to try a cuisine or activity you've never considered before. A great concierge can score you tickets or reservations that are not available to the general public. My job, as a designer, is to act as your concierge to the design world. I am here to help you find the vendors and trades that are suitable for your family and your project, to encourage you to try new things, to make sure every detail is considered from overall space and color planning to whether the placement of outlets works in a room, and to provide you access to fabrics and furnishings that are not available to the general public. While doing all of this, my job (and joy) is to make design a seamless, luxurious experience that my clients look forward to.
Never let anyone try to convince you that hiring a designer is a necessity. Of course I would love for you to hire me--I love working with my clients! But I realize that I am providing a luxury service to my clients. I am here to make your life easier and more beautiful by collaborating with you to create a fabulous environment at home. My goal is not only to provide my clients with spaces they find aesthetically pleasing and that function for them, but also to provide a service that makes my clients feel pampered and taken care of. My goal is to get precisely the reaction I recently received in a text message from a client:
When you allow yourself a luxury it should be "something fun." Don't think of design as yet another necessity you must mark off your to-do list. Design is a luxury that should make you happy!
Until next time,