K + K Interior Design Shares 5 Things to Consider…Before Hiring a Designer.

A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kristina Phillips and Kerri Pilchik, of K + K Interior Design in Ridgewood, to discuss their company and interior design for the modern family. Their new space is a light-filled, airy studio that overlooks the soon to open Filena’s rooftop bar. The ladies are both amazing at describing their style, their design process, and interior design in general. Both Kerri and Kristina have a passion for design and materials that excited even a seasoned designer like me.

How It All Began
First, I wanted to know how these two Ridgewood moms became interior designers and what brought them together. Kristina explained that she’d always had a love for interior design, but it wasn’t until her three children were in school full time that she realized she had the opportunity and desire to pursue her dream professionally. She attended the New York School of Interior Design and earned her Interior Design degree giving her not only the required in-depth knowledge she felt was imperative to offer full-service, high-end design work, but the confidence to start a business.

Kerri always dreamed of being an interior designer, but took a somewhat circuitous route to get there.  After practicing environmental law for 14 years in NYC, she decided she needed a change. She took the plunge and turned her lifelong passion for design into a career. Like Kristina, Kerri also strongly believed that a true foundation and education in design was imperative. She, too, attended the New York School of Interior Design. The two serendipitously met during an online project and realized not only did they both live in Ridgewood, they also had the same design style and work ethic. K+K Interior Design was quickly formed, and they have not looked back. They have been building their company ever since.

Let’s Talk About Their Design Process
So many potential clients feel like the design process is a deep dark secret. However, both Kristina and Kerri say they want them to know how it all works before they commit.“Our design process is very straightforward. We are always upfront about how we work and what is to be expected, both from us and the client.” Kristina explained that they specialize in “full service design, from the concept of the space to completion, down to the accessories and art.”

The first step in the process after being approached by a potential client is discovery.  “We begin with a phone call to find out what the client is looking to accomplish; any design issues they wish to resolve; their budget and timeline for the project.  Our focus is on understanding what their needs and limitations are, and if we are a good fit for each other.” If it is a good fit, they schedule an in-home consultation to better understand the scope of the project and to see the spaces.

Next, the client signs an agreement that sets forth the scope, proposed budget and timeline and our fees. Then, they hit the ground running! We work on floor plans and concept boards, which are presented to the client. After approval, they source and specify furniture, fabrics, floor and wall coverings, window treatments, lighting, and art – all the good stuff!!

Then they present design boards with fabric, carpet, wallpaper and finish samples. After approval and payment, all of the orders are placed and managed, and shipping, delivery and installation is coordinated.” K + K prides themselves on their attention to detail and our customer service.  They believe the process should be seamless, easy and also fun for the client. Their ultimate goal is to create spaces that not only are functional and beautiful, but unique and bespoke to the client.  Another one of their specialties is in sourcing quality products that stand the test of time – and families and dogs! They know real people live in the spaces they design.

If you follow K + K on social media, you will know that they are known for their use of bright colors and bold prints. I asked them about how they decide which colors and prints to use for any given project. Since so many people are afraid of bright colors or bold prints, I wanted to know if they ever have to convince a client to follow their suggestions. They explained that most clients that approach them do so because they are attracted to their use of color and prints in previous projects, and want to create a similar look in their home.  

Kristina knows that mixing prints can be daunting, and can go very wrong if scale and color are not carefully considered. “We always provide a cohesive design board so the client can clearly see how each piece fits into the whole.  When we push a client to go for a color or pattern that is slightly out of their comfort zone, without fail it becomes their favorite part of the room!” explained Kerri.

 Lastly, we discussed the 5 most important things that clients of any designer should know before hiring them.

5 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Designer:

1. Make sure you understand what to expect in terms of cost and timeline.  We always would rather a client understands up front how much they will need to spend to get the result that they want.  Clients need to be realistic! Things quickly add up, especially when working on multiple rooms. While the number you discuss may feel like a HUGE amount to you initially, it still may not be realistic to get everything that you want done.

2. It is so important that you feel comfortable with the designer(s).  Trust and honesty are very important in the designer-client relationship.  And then once you’ve found that designer, TRUST her. We do this for a living!

3. Speak up! Designers want you to be happy and won’t be offended if you don’t like something they have chosen.  Don’t let a designer push you into doing something you don’t love.  Many of our clients have told us that this was their experience in the past about a previous designer they worked with and it just ended up costing them more in the long run.

4. Do some homework – find inspiration photos, make a Pinterest board or Houzz page.  The more direction you give a designer, the more efficient and streamlined the process will be, and the better the outcome.

5. If you’re renovating or building, involve a designer early in the process.  We see things with a different eye than an architect or builder and can catch issues that there may be with materials, furniture and lighting layouts, saving you money down the road.

Home Editor Hope Fallin is an architectural color specialist who is here to inspire you and your space. Need help choosing a palette for your home? She’s your girl. Have a color question or need some advice, email Hope at hopefallincolordesign@gmail.com

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Author: Hope Fallin

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