Molly’s Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the steps involved in working with an interior designer?
  2. What services does Gracious Living offer?
  3. Are Gracious Living design services limited to a particular geographic area?
  4. How long does it take to complete a project?
  5. What does an interior designer have access to that I don’t as an individual?
  6. Can I see examples of your work with former clients?
  7. How will I know what my newly designed space will look like?
  8. I want to include some of my existing furniture in my re-design. Can these be worked in?
  9. I consider myself to have a good eye for design. How can an interior designer help me yet still have my home feel like my creation?
  10. How does Gracious Living handle payment for goods and services?
  11. What do I need to get started?

(1) What are the steps involved in working with an interior designer?

The role of an interior designer is much more than painting a pretty picture. At Gracious Living I learn all I can about your hopes and needs and use our professional skills and resources to help you create a space that will please you for many years to come. Click here to read about the process of working with Gracious Living.

For a detailed explanation of working with an interior designer, visit the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) website. You’ll find an excellent explanation of the process and many other valuable resources. I recommend you read this as part of getting the most out of the creative relationship with your designer.

(2) What services does Gracious Living offer?

Click here for a list of services offered by Gracious Living.

(3) Are Gracious Living design services limited to a particular geographic area?

In order to give each of my clients the time their project requires and deserves, Gracious Living services are limited to the area of the Pacific Northwest from north of Seattle to the Canadian border. More specifically, from Marysville to Bellingham and throughout Skagit County and the San Juan Islands. On occasion, I work with local or current clients on vacation or second homes located outside these boundaries.

(4) How long does it take to complete a project?

By phasing a project properly, Gracious Living helps you accomplish your project in a minimal amount of time. Expect it to take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months—or more—depending on the size of the project, availability of subcontractors, and order time of specified materials and furnishings.

(5) What does an interior designer have access to that I don’t as an individual?

In designing your space, Gracious Living makes the best use possible of local resources (we believe in supporting the businesses and services that contribute to the vitality of our corner of the Pacific Northwest). However, we also have knowledge of and access to specialty shops and services throughout the Puget Sound area, as well as to the multitude of showrooms at the Seattle Design Center. I also annually attend the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC, to keep up with the latest products and maintain relationships with vendors.

Furniture, accessories, fabrics, countertops, tile, paint, cabinet design, and lighting are just some of the elements that go into creating a well-designed room. Our experience with a wide variety of suppliers enables us to efficiently suggest just the right solution for your design project and budget.

(6) Can I see examples of your work with former clients?

You’ll find a wide variety of projects illustrated on this website. In addition, I have a portfolio of photos that I share with you during our design consultation.

(7) How will I know what my newly designed space will look like?

Remember, your goal is as much about how your home or room will feel and function as it is about how it will appear. In addition to presenting you with an initial floor plan showing placement of furniture and other elements, you’ll have samples of all the materials being recommended for your project. Arriving at a final decision is a matter of re-selecting and narrowing down until we have defined your look together.

(8) I want to include some of my existing furniture in my
re-design. Can these be worked in?

Absolutely. Knowing what personal furnishings and accessories you want to keep in your life is an important part of our initial discussions. You might even be surprised to find that some overlooked objects gain new life when given a fresh role in your home.

(9) I consider myself to have a good eye for design. How can an interior designer help me yet still have my home feel like my creation?

Working with someone creative is always fun for me, as you offer a ready second opinion and someone to brainstorm with. Secondly, I understand that it’s your home. Because of my experience and access to multiple resources, I help stimulate and focus your imagination and translate your ideas into a coordinated, timely project—we even save you money because of our contacts and knowledge of the resources available that fit with your style. I help you conceptualize the big picture you’re trying to achieve, prioritize the steps to get there, and work with you to select the elements that express your vision. The suitability and durability of one material over another and the flow of activities and color coordination from one room to the next are just some of the issues I can help you resolve expediently.

(10) How does Gracious Living handle payment for goods and services?

A variety of financial arrangements is possible, depending on your project and personal budget. My first discussion with you is to determine if our interests and skills are a good match for your project. For limited projects, such as a design or color consultation, our hourly fee is $150 per hour, with a two-hour minimum. For ongoing projects, we charge $125 per hour.

A detailed invoice is provided for all materials/goods or workroom services prior to order; an 80% deposit is required before these orders are placed. The remaining 20% is due upon delivery or, if required by vendor, prior to shipping.

The invoice is calculated from net plus a percentage, which is a sliding scale that depends on discounts to us and is printed in our contract.

All purchases for materials/goods or workroom services are non-cancelable, unless cancellation is specifically approved by the vendor. The client is responsible for any cancellation charges incurred.

Complete financial considerations are spelled out in the Letter of Agreement and Terms and Conditions contract that both the client and Gracious Living sign when we agree to work together.

Gracious Living accepts payment via personal check, cash, and credit card.

(11) What do I need to get started?

It’s important to do your own homework. As your designer, I need as much insight into your personal likes and dislikes as possible—both verbally and visually. Some of this may be gleaned by looking at and discussing your existing home. It’s also helpful to assemble pictures from magazines or elsewhere of rooms, furnishings, colors, or treatments that appeal to you. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) recommends you take the time to consider the following questions:

  • For whom is the space being designed?
  • What activities will take place there?
  • How long do you plan to occupy the space?
  • What is your time frame?
  • What is your budget?
  • Are you relocating or remodeling?
  • What image do you want to project?
  • What is the approximate square footage to be designed?

The ASID website has an excellent section on how to prepare for working with a designer. Click here to read “How to Hire an Interior Designer.” ASID also offers a free, 18-page book called Designing Your Space. It’s in Adobe PDF format and can be read online or downloaded.

Click here if you need to download free Adobe software for viewing the ASID book.

Need to know more? Get in touch with us.