While all clients are unique, their questions and concerns are often similar. We asked four designers—Dennese Guadeloupe Rojas, Mary Maydan, Aisling Mittman and Kristine Mullaney—which questions they’d rather not have to answer anymore.
All in good time
“We do a ton of custom furniture and one-of-a-kind pieces, for which lead times are often very long. Clients sometimes want to know if they can rush it for a fee. However, most fine furniture makers simply do not rush pieces, because it takes time. They are made by hand and often by one person. Sometimes [clients] have a hard time understanding that in this day and age, because it seems almost everything is instant. I would not say I get tired of this question, but sometimes it surprises me when I hear it from very seasoned clients. Once, we chose a spectacular antique picture frame in Paris, which we decided to turn into a mirror, but the frame needed to be restored and refinished. The client was, of course, excited and a bit anxious to see the final result. The process took five months, but the end result was incredible and truly original. Beautiful bespoke pieces take time, but it is always worth the wait.” —Kristine Mullaney, Kristine Mullaney Design, Boston
“So many clients tend to ask about paint color before they even give us a chance to present the total vision. We frequently find ourselves redirecting them and educating them on the design process and envisioning the big picture.” —Dennese Guadeloupe Rojas, Interiors By Design, Silver Spring, Maryland
“When clients ask you to source from specific retailers! We have a lot to figure out besides what looks nice—hello, logistics, scale and budget!—[so] when a client pushes a vendor that you may not otherwise stand behind, it adds another layer of complication and more time than if they trust you to give them the design they want within their budget.” —Aisling Mittman, ALM Curation Studio, Los Angeles
Worth the wait
“The most predictable question, which is the same one I had when we were building our family home, is: ‘How fast can we design and how fast can we build?’ Clients dream about building their new homes for years, but once they start the project, they want it to be completed yesterday. While as a firm we are focused and can provide a fast turnaround, we are also perfectionists and detail-oriented, so each phase needs a reasonable amount of time. We do our very best, but we never agree to compromise the result by rushing it!” —Mary Maydan, Maydan Architects, Palo Alto, California
Homepage photo: A project by Interiors by Design | Courtesy of Interiors by Design