trade tales | Jul 26, 2019 |
The subcontractor you couldn’t work without

Good design takes a village. It’s not enough to be a great interior designer—you also need a team of contractors and subcontractors who can help bring your vision to life. We asked five designers—Caroline Brackett, Liliane Hart, Tali Roth, Becky Shea and Rivers Spencer—who they consider their most important subcontractor and how they maintain that relationship.

Caroline Brackett
Caroline BrackettCourtesy of Caroline Brackett

Seamless Performance

“Of all of the invaluable relationships we have with our subcontractors and tradespeople, I believe the most important is that of our seamstress/workroom. We always have work orders in for window treatments, bedding, decorative pillows, etcetera, and speak with them on a daily basis about details from linings and pattern repeats to install dates. The quality of these items really add to the luxury of a home, and if made poorly, the job could be a disaster. It is important to speak each other’s language and for them to know what the designer likes for the project to be a success. Also, if you have a great relationship, sometimes that four- to six-week lead time can be pushed up in an ‘emergency’—you know, the party every client claims to be having!” —Caroline Brackett, Caroline Brackett Studio of Design, Greenville, SC

Tali Roth
Tali RothCourtesy of Tali Roth

Got Your Back

“My most treasured relationship is with my general contractor, as they need to have my back during construction and work with me to find solutions that work for our clients. If something happens during construction and it’s a gray area as to who is liable, it's nice to have someone on your side. And it’s good to have someone who will help you keep the client happy and calm by offering solutions on how to keep costs low.” —Tali Roth, Tali Roth Designs, New York

Becky Shea
Becky SheaCourtesy of Becky Shea

A True Teammate

“Wallpaper is one of those materials that on the surface may seem like a simple trade to execute, however, I’m sure all of you out there can speak to an experience where wallpaper that wasn't hung properly creates endless headaches—especially when it [causes delays] for another trade, like the electrician who might have been scheduled to install sconces but now can’t. (Or, worst of all, if it’s a custom wallcovering that isn’t stocked and will take weeks or months to arrive.) After working with multiple installers when I was just starting out and consistently having issues, I was introduced to Juan Escurra of J.E. Craftsman. I saw the incredible quality of his work—and from that moment on, I’ve never gone to anyone else. He’s the kind of tradesman that puts your mind at ease because you can put him on a job and just know that it's going to be done the right way, without handholding. We recently had a client whose years-old installation started to have a section bubble from the amount of humidity plaguing New York this summer, and he went back at no charge to fix the panel. Now that’s someone who you want on your team!” —Becky Shea, Becky Shea Design, New York

Liliane Hart
Liliane HartCourtesy of Liliane Hart

Keep the best player In Reserve

“We have a client in Connecticut who gives us a seven- to 10-day window in which to renovate several rooms of her house every year. We reserve our most highly trusted painter six months ahead and pay him in full in advance. We communicate extensively throughout the process and usually show appreciation with a small gift at the end, too.”—Liliane Hart, Liliane Hart Interiors, New York

Rivers Spencer
Rivers SpencerCourtesy of Rivers Spencer

Movers and Shakers

“I would say our most valued relationship is the one we have with our movers and installers! As most designers know, it's so hard to find a team that values time management and productivity during an installation. Bayou Movers, our go-to moving and installation company, is equipped with reliable employees who always show up on time and accomplish what they are hired to do. A team like theirs is hard to come by and at the end of the day, installations are the most important for our client and our company, so having them by our side during that time helps to make the process smooth and exciting for everyone.” —Rivers Spencer, Rivers Spencer Interiors, New Orleans

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