Getting the right help: Part 2 of Amy’s Presentation at Open Book

What happens when a homeowner has the dream and the vision to update their home? In Amy’s presentation, she walked the audience through the process of carefully selecting the right type of renovation professional.  If you missed part 1, click here.


Different parts of the renovation process require different types of expertise:

  • Stuck on layout or style?   Interior Designer
  • Wall coming down?   Additional square footage needed?    Architect
  • I know what I want, I just have to get it built. Contractor or Carpenter

Amy feels that personal referrals are the best when looking to hire a professional.   When a client is working with down2earth interior design, we often provide recommendations for other professionals with expertise beyond our interior design services.    Angie’s list can be used at times as well. 

Once you’ve spoken to a qualified professional or two, how do you choose who is right for you when it comes to interior designers, architects, and contractors? Amy suggests doing your research.   You will want to know more about the interior designer, including:   the designer’s qualifications, philosophy, visual presentation, methods of charging, turnaround time, and reputation.  Looking at reviews on Houzz is a good way to learn more about a designer. Click here to see d2e’s Houzz page.

Down2Earth Interior Design Houzz Page

Some professionals have signature styles.  If a signature style is essential to you as a homeowner, you may find it helpful to look through an interior designer’s portfolio to find a style that suits you. But it’s more important to read up on or talk to the designer about the philosophy since some designers, like Amy, respond to the homeowners’ style, rather than having a signature style they bring to every project.   Amy talks a little more about that in this video.

Since the best way to get at information about a designer’s philosophy is by having a conversation our firm sets up an initial call between prospective clients and our Operations Manager, Maria.   It’s a chance for Down2Earth Interior Design to learn about your ideas and goals and we are able to explain our philosophy and services in more depth.  This conversation helps identify if we are the right fit for our clients and vice versa.  Before we first meet with a homeowner for the initial consultation we like to assign a little bit of “homework” as we like to call it: inspirational pictures each client puts together of spaces they like.   During the initial walkthrough we also get to see their home and we can identify themes that will help inform future design research and recommendations. 

This research is a two way street.   You’re asking for information from the professional and at the same time, the professional will want to understand as much as possible about your project so they can provide realistic answers and manage expectations.   An interior designer will want to know the type of space, timeline, and budget.   Amy is also keenly interested in exploring expectations around sustainability.

There are also many great books out there that help homeowners with general inspiration, provide ideas for layout, and even methods to getting unstuck.  An interior decorating book can sometimes help you determine your style if they have many pictures and descriptions of specific interior design styles.  Some books even help turn what’s old into something new by providing creative ways to repurpose items you already have.

Amy recommends the Domino Book of Decorating as a starting point for clients who are trying to zero in on their style. It also provides examples of many room types, tips on how to mix and match, and why those combos work.

Domino book covers, the book of decorating and the guid to your stylish home
Domino book page - determine your style
a mantel
Domino book page - how to mix and match

Another helpful book is Home by Emma Blomfield, which goes as far as to give sample layouts for furniture floorplans, gallery walls, even bed pillow arrangements:

Home book cover by Emma Bloomfield

Some books even help turn what’s old into something new by providing creative ways to repurpose items you already have.

Where should I go to acquire such books?   Why, Open Book Bookstore, of course!

Open Book Bookstore

We want to wish Open Book a Happy 4th Anniversary. Stop in if you can and help this small, local business celebrate the milestone. If you have an interest in purchasing one of the books we mentioned, you can check out Open Book online as well, click here to visit.

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