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Home » Featured Homes » Coastal » Why Hiring a Design Pro May Be the Best Investment You Can Make Today
Why Hiring a Design Pro May Be the Best Investment You Can Make Today
Text by Maria LaPiana Photography by Jessica DeLaney
August 24, 2020
van der Kieft chose a soothing palette with an understated coastal vibe for a light and airy living room in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
An antique chest keeps dishes and serving utensils at-the-ready in a North Shore dining room.
van der Kieft oversaw the renovation of a historic home that focused on creating a large family-friendly space with an open floor plan.
A well-conceived furniture arrangement uses swivel chairs to accommodate conversation or television viewing.
One of the requests for this full-home renovation was a formal but approachable dining room. A floral Cowtan & Tout fabric used for the drapery inspired the warm color-scheme while an informal pine table and upholstered chairs make the space feel cozy and welcoming.
A mix of textures such as this rattan console from Currey & Company adds interest to a monochromatic palette.
A room painted in New Hope Gray by Benjamin Moore is a soothing retreat for the homeowners.
van der Kieft thinks a powder room is a perfect spot for trying a bold wallpaper. She recommends using wainscoting on the bottom of the wall to protect the paper from splashes and other messes.
Bold navy blue cabinetry is balanced with large windows allowing light to stream into the kitchen.
Cabinet doors conceal the inevitable chaos of messy coats and other clutter in a family-friendly mudroom.
An oversized ottoman is a cozy alternative to a coffee table while smaller upholstered ones can be used as footrests or stools.
Great spaces don’t just happen; in the best of times, they’re carefully planned and thoughtfully curated. These days, it’s important to do “great” one better, according to interior designer Christine van der Kieft . “Clients are more in touch with their homes than ever and want them to reflect who they are and how they really live.”
That’s where her full-service design firm comes in (she works out of Hingham on Boston’s south shore). From consults and styling to project management, van der Kieft offers clients whatever they need to create spaces that are both relevant in this moment, and timeless.
A seasoned professional like van der Kieft clearly brings a lot to the table, but she believes there are compelling reasons to work with any good designer. Here, she shares her thoughts:
A designer knows how to plan.
“When working on a project, my goal is to create a complete and purposeful plan ,” she says. Her initial presentation is comprehensive and detailed, complete with finishes and fabric and wallpaper samples. “It helps to create a vision so we know where we are going. The idea is to have all of the selections ready so the client can chip away at things on his or her own timeline.”
A designer can tailor a space to a client’s preferences and lifestyle.
“I want every space to be unique , and not simply out of the pages of a catalog,” she says. “I want my clients to feel as though the design reflects their tastes, but I help them think outside the box a bit, too, and come up with ideas they wouldn’t have on their own. That being said, among other things, I ask a lot of questions, including:
How will you use the space? Many of us are using our rooms differently than we did several months ago. More than ever, spaces need to be adaptable! A good example: I began working on a dining room in the spring, and as the project evolved, we had to make sure that it had a dining room feel—but could also accommodate family members who now work and go to school from home. That meant forgiving rugs as well as comfy chairs.
Is this a high-traffic area? If so, we need to look at space planning, indoor/outdoor rugs, and performance fabrics.
Will the space be used by kids? More importantly, by children other than your own? Different houses have different rules, and I never want my client to be stressed over design decisions. For example, I love wallpaper in a powder room, but if young kids are in the home, I always suggest wainscoting to protect the paper from little hands, splashing water, and day-to-day traffic. As an alternative, there are incredible vinyl options out there now too!
What colors do you gravitate toward or stay away from? What materials do you like? Do you favor prints, patterns, or solids?”
A designer will save you time from start to finish.
Working with a designer is all about efficiency; they have the knowledge and resources that keep a project on track. “Once I gauge a client’s individual style, I typically know where to go to find their furnishings,” says van der Kieft. “It’s a designer’s job to know the products that are out there and the quality of different lines so we can speed up the process. None of us has the time to scour the Internet for hours on end, looking for the perfect tile or kitchen light. During our presentations, we come to the client with two to three options for each element. This, combined with a clear vision for the space, makes decisions much easier—and quicker.”
Working with a designer is cost-effective.
Mistakes can be costly and designers help prevent them. A good designer will work within your budget—with no surprises. Plus, these days pricing is more transparent than ever. “I have relationships with vendors because I work with them on a regular basis,” says van der Kieft. “We know which prices may be inflated because of a name. We are often able to source great quality custom furnishings in the same ballpark as some popular retail stores.” It’s a win-win for the client, because designers know how to get the best value on the dollar—and the services they provide are included in the cost.
Working with a designer gives you peace of mind.
They will handle every detail —from selection to ordering and delivery to installation. Once you’ve made your decisions you can stop worrying. Designers handle all the uncomfortable details—like making the call when a piece is damaged in transit, or talking to a fabricator if a piece isn’t up to snuff. With any design project, glitches are a reality, but when you’ve got a designer on your side, you can rest easy, because it’s literally not your problem. And these days, from jobs and schooling to health care and the economy, clients already have more than enough on their plates.
VAN DER KIEFT DESIGNS, 781-366-4217, vanderkieftdesigns.com