Common Questions about Interior Design

Angela recently answered online interview questions regarding our services and our philosophy about interior design and the process… If you are in Portland. Or. and in need of interior design services, please reach out to us to see if we are a good fit for your design project.

The majority of my clients are middle class professionals. Only a small amount of my clients are what I would classify as luxury elite. We help the families get their projects started and finished (down to the last detail). We source materials and products not readily available in the marketplace. The value of a designer is that you spend the same amount of dollars on your project – but reach a better outcome.

What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire an interior design like you?

I would first recommend reviewing the designers portfolio. Do they offer work that is on par or more comprehensive than what you need? Do you like what you see? Next, schedule a call and pay attention to the questions the designer asks about you and your project. Then when you meet for a design consultation see if you sync up. A designer is best utilized when the chemistry is right between you. If your gut isn’t sure, keep looking.

Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.

Our most common client projects are 1.) furnishing or interior decorating in the home, 2.) remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, or 3.) additions or whole house remodels.

Describe three recent interior design jobs you’ve completed.

At any given time we are working on a variety of design projects. We just finished a new construction project nestled in 30 acres outside of Portland for a young family. We also are working on a bathroom master suite remodel for a contemporary home in NW Portland, and we just finished furnishing a master bedroom for empty nesters in the Mt. Tabor area. Our big reveal day for the master suite was really exciting for not only the client, but also for us. It is such a gift to unveil a finished space.

What do you like most about interior design?

It sounds cliche, but the people I meet. Peoples stories, travels, family history, pets and family speak to me. My life has been enriched by not only my clients, but the contractors and artisans I work with. I love delivering to clients something meaningful to them. We focus on this not in only our design, but in how we treat our clients and our team.

How did you decide to get in your line of work?

It was a natural fit for me. I see spaces finished. I memorize colors and textures. I have a disciplined work ethic and I am a detail person. I am one of those creative people that can keep a schedule, and handle multi-tasking. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else for a living at this point in my life. Well, maybe I can imagine myself being a backup singer for a big name artist or being a travel writer.

What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What’s your answer?

Clients frequently want to know how much a project is going to cost in the beginning of a project. That is understandable. We are adept at quoting estimated design hours for a project. When it comes to construction and furnishing a room, we also estimate a range for the project. However, it isn’t until we specify all the materials and work to be performed that we can be truly accurate.

Imagine asking someone how much a trip to Europe costs. That would probably be impossible to quote accurately without some additional questions: how long is your stay, where would you like to go, do you want a rental car, what type of hotel would you desire, what types of places were you planning to eat, and so on?

It is similar with construction and furnishings. While we absolutely will give you a cost range after seeing your space, reviewing the scope, and understanding your desires for quality and craftsmanship, we can’t be exactly pinpoint accurate. (We are frequently within that initial range once the space is completely finished.)

Please know we always appreciate candid discussions about budgets. Even our most elite clients have dollar amounts they don’t want to exceed! If what you want and what it costs aren’t exactly a match, we have clients that phase their project. In that case we suggest an implementation schedule that makes the most design impact. We also have options at the good, better, best price points. We will just figure out together what works best for you. We just ask that you be open to final pricing requires designing.

Do you have a complicated pricing system for your service?

It is actually simple. Most designers like me work by the hour much like a CPA or independent contractor would. In the case of construction, most of designers are not general contractors and although they are a collaborative member of the build team – what you spend is not part of the way they make a living. What this means to you is your designer is like a CPA or independent contractor. They are part of the team to ensure goals are met, but they don’t work for the contractors or subcontractors. It means your designer may research less expensive materials for you, and you can also trust them when they say an item or design idea shouldn’t be substituted or augmented. A designer is 100% your advocate for the vision you have in your head and in the case of working with me in construction there are no strings attached to your total investment.

Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?

Let me first say that we have some outstanding interior designers in the area. I would recommend most just finding someone that feels right for you. Here are some highlights of what we do best here.

Technology is impacting our line of work rapidly. I guess that could be said of many industries, but our industry known to be technologically behind the bell curve is catching up! I love technology, so it is truly exciting how my industry is catching on.

I think one of the reasons interior design 25 years ago used to be for just the luxury class was because it was so time consuming to do the backend work of documenting and communicating design to all the client, tradespeople and vendors. There is a lot of backend work, details and timing in an interior firm that is tough at first glance for a client to fully appreciate.

We use technology in my business many ways. We communicate as we need to in the field. We can send info instantly. Imagine just the time it used to take to call in an address to a vendor or send a fax. Pictures are easier to upload. Imagine the old days of developing or printing photos. We encourage clients to create idea galleries helping us understand their taste. No more magazines tear sheets or me transporting books of design and project examples. We use Pinterest for storing ideas and client specifications and tablets at our client appointments for presentations. We also have a fully integrated system that allows us to keep a watchful eye on schedules, specifications, and deliverables. Embracing technology translates to making the process more efficient for our clients, reducing errors and in most cases cutting back on billable time. It is wonderful. Read more here.

What are you currently working on improving?

I think about ways to improve our client’s experience a lot. We have for the most part accomplished the basic necessities on all of our job. The design work is beautiful. We are contentious and service oriented. So, I find myself pushing for a better client experience. I want our clients to be truly delighted with *the experience* of working with us. I am constantly thinking about clever ways to make a memory for them. I have found little things mean a lot and people appreciate thoughtfulness.

What do you wish customers new about your profession?

Well, interior designers have a reputation that we just pick out pretty things and place them. Actually, great interior design has some technical aspects that are both right and left brain natured. On both the furnishing and construction side there are hundreds of details. We use digital and hand renderings to communicate to the client and the trades. We ensure the finished space carries the original vision.

Angela Todd Studios For Custom Furnishings

Angela Todd

Owner & Principal Designer

Angela is the principal designer at her boutique interior design firm in Portland, Oregon. She is known for creating memorable backdrops that tell the story of fascinating and intricate lives.

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