By: Katie Anderson
August 21, 2012


We have noticed over the years that spring and fall are the seasons most people inquire about how to begin and plan their interior remodels. As summer winds down and for families a new school year begins we look towards the coming fall and think about our home interiors. The idea of spending more time indoors and the upcoming holiday entertaining seasons causes us to look at the insides of our homes and ponder how they can be improved in both function and aesthetics.

We have also noticed that in the last several years people inquire less and less about good design, seldom questioning “ If I make this change how will it look? How will this affect the way I live? What will it provide for me” ? Instead the resounding questions we hear so often they have become a mantra are: “ How much will it cost? How much will you charge me? Can’ t we get it at a deeper discount? Isn’ t it cheaper to buy online?”

It is perfectly normal and quite expected to inquire the cost for merchandise, designer fees and total cost for a remodel project. However if those are the only questions given during a design consultation as well as during a project and they are repeatedly asked after being answered, then we can tell that the client does not have a balanced perspective and neither understands nor recognizes the deeper value of good design. It is very difficult to help people who over-emphasize price. What does price convey? Why should you pay for example $4000.00 for a custom sofa made to your specification rather than $300.00 for one off the rack at IKEA (worst case scenario) or $1,500.00 at Macy’ s? The answer is quality and (surprise surprise…) cost efficiency. It is far more prudent to pay more for something that lasts, is timeless and beautiful than to pay less for something that will need to be replaced within a short amount of time because it does not last for being too trendy and too cheaply made.

We recently came across a quote by the wonderful 19th century artist, art critic, writer and philanthropist John Ruskin that explains this concept very well.

“There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’ s lawful prey. It’ s unwise to pay too much, but it’ s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’ t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

Indeed you do get what you pay for and you should ask what fees and pricing costs are but that should not be your only concern nor allow price to overshadow you making better choices. Beyond cost there are more profound questions to ask: How do you want your home to feel? How do you want it to look? Imagine, dream and yes, get excited about having a new home environment, new kitchen, new bathroom, new drapery, new furniture, all being lovely to look at, sumptuous to feel, your life running smoothly during your day to day tasks. Ask yourself how will this change improve your life? How you relate to your loved ones by having a more elevated mood for living in a more
beautiful, well-functioning environment? Ask what will it all cost but also what will it cost if you don’ t do it or not do it right for trying to get more for less. In the end the quality of life for you and your family are far more valuable than a sum of money.