I've seen photos of this NYC apartment transformation many times lately on different blogs I frequent, but leave it to one of my favorites, Little Green Notebook, to tell the full story and encourage me to check out the details for myself. It's a lovely transformation and some of the ideas are worth considering, but the real story here is the designer's fees. You can find the full article here at: NY Times but the most interesting part of it to me is what the designer would have charged (she volunteered her services for the article and I'm sure marketing purposes). Before I disclose the fee, check out the before pic:
The cable design shows have really affected the design profession in a profound way. On the one hand, there is greater exposure to a much wider audience of this thing we call interior design, but for the sake of TV this is done and presented in such a miraculously short amount of time that people believe that we can redesign a room right there on the spot or at least just in a few days! Not possible! It takes so much longer.... many times to the designer's own disbelief. As for this particular project, I would think the designer doesn't usually do smaller budgeted jobs such as this one. Charging $10,000 for design services when only $5,000 is allocated to new furnishings sounds crazy because it is simply not done. People who have budgeted only $5000 in new product would not be hiring a designer like this. Maybe if $50,000 was spent on furnishings we wouldn't bat an eye at the fee even though the time spent would have been somewhat similar....the ironic thing is that it takes even more time to work with such a small budget.
$10,000 is ridiculous for the amount of work done in the room. Yes, the designer seemed to "search" for deals - but didn't seem happy about going out of her comfort zone to look for anything in the couple's price range. $750 for 5 pillows - out of a budget of $5000! 15% of the budget! She also didn't seem to care if they liked an item or not - just that she did. I agree that designers need to push their clients to test their boundaries and liked her advice to live with it for a couple of weeks and see how you felt. However, it seems very unfinished to make your clients keep something they absolutely do not want in the room (the antlers) until you photograph it (at which point the design process is over, I'm assuming) and then have them return it. Now they have to decorate that part of the room - a part they paid you for (well, not in this case, but in real life). And then to hassle them about wanting a painting their friend was giving them. I think if the client wants something incorporated in a room - it is your job to make a design that incorporates it. There is a big difference between a good shopper and a designer.
So, how do you feel? I know it's an unheard of fee in the QC, but I will tell you that the comments made are dilemmas we as designers struggle with. So, let me know what you think. Click on the black footer below and then on comments and let me hear you!