10 Important Questions When Interviewing a Designer

Interview

A detailed look at what you should be asking.  

Are you overwhelmed with the number of choices you have in choosing an Interior Designer?  Don’t know where to begin?  Here are 10 important questions to ask when you interview potential designers.  Asking the right questions will help you choose the right designer for you.

1)  What type of design education have you had and are you accredited in some way?

Some people don’t realize that there is a difference between Decorators and Designers.  Anyone with a “knack” for putting color and fabrics together can call themselves a decorator.  But Interior Design is a profession and one that requires years of education and experience.  In California, designers may qualify to take a rigorous exam, which deals with the California Building Code, Title 24 and California laws and regulations.  This is especially important when doing a project that involves construction and building permits.  A designer who has passed this exam is a Certified Interior Designer in CA (CID).  It is a legal title. CIDs are concerned with the health, safety and welfare of the public, first and foremost.

Debbie L. Talianko is a Certified Interior Designer in CA.   At Talianko Design Group, our designers are required to have a formal education in Interior Design.

In addition, Debbie Talianko is a member in good standing with ASID or the American Society of Interior Designers, a national networking organization that requires its members to have both an interior design education as well as work experience in the field.  In our firm, we have over 20 years of experience collectively.

2)  What makes you unique?

Ask why you should hire this particular firm.  What makes them stand out ahead of the pack?

We do things a little differently at Talianko Design Group.  Our hands on approach and excellent follow through are evident in the testimonials you may have seen on our website or otherwise.

  • We have many tools at our disposal to help us get to know you and your project needs quickly and efficiently. 
  • We also begin the planning phase with a budget.  We don’t believe our clients should ever start spending money without the end game in sight. 
  • Our accounting software is industry specific.  This means we work very efficiently when it comes to billing and purchasing, etc. 
  • Our follow through is excellent.  We treat people the way we’d like to be treated.

3)  Do you have a mission statement?

A mission statement can say a lot about a company.  What is it that drives them?  Are they a cohesive group with a common goal?

“At Talianko Design Group, LLD, Our goal is to ensure that our clients fall in love with their homes.  We make the process easy and convenient for them, because we believe this is the way people should be treated.  By listening carefully to their requests, we can thoroughly understand their needs. And in the end, we produce something both beautiful and personal”.

4)  Have you worked on any projects similar to ours in the past?

Ask to see examples of work done which is similar to your project.  Listening to the designer explain the project will give you insight into whether or not they understand your own project needs.

This is a question that will be determined when you first call us.  We will tell you if we are comfortable with your type of project and if we have had experience with similar projects in the past.

5)  What specific challenges do you think we will need to overcome on our project?

This is an important question and one that will allow you to peek into the near- future.

Our hope is to overcome any challenges by managing your expectations at the onset.  So let’s make sure we do our due diligence, plan properly and communicate with one another throughout the process in order to avoid any misunderstanding.  

6)  Are you able to complete our project on time and on budget?

A reasonable inquiry and by asking this question, you’ll get a feel for how knowledgeable and experienced your designer really is.

Your budget is your investment in your home.  We take this very seriously.  That is why we begin every project with a budget.  Time frames will vary depending on a lot of factors.  The thing to know is that we will communicate these factors well to you so that there are no surprises.

7)  Will we work with you or someone else?

Is this design firm too busy to take you on?  Will you be shuffled around?  How “hands on” will they be with your contractors, etc.?

At Talianko Design Group, we work as a team.  You will know our team members well.  We will work with you and on your behalf as your liaison and spokesperson when it comes to meeting with contractors and architects, etc.   We are careful to manage our workload in order to keep on top of all of our projects properly.  Sometimes, we will ask a new client to wait for a period of time for this reason. 

8)  How do you charge for your services?

There are many formulas for charging for design services.  You’ll want to find someone who is completely transparent and open about this topic.

We are flexible in our approach to our fees.  They are based on the scope of work required for each project and time required to complete the scope.  On occasion, we work on a consulting-only basis and this is quoted by individual project.

9)  Do you do the purchasing for us?

Some clients will want to do their own purchasing and some will not.  This may be because they know that it takes a lot of time and follow up when furnishing a room or several rooms.  You’ll want to find out if the designer you are considering has a system in place to manage this part of the process for you if that is what you choose.

We at Talianko Design Group, have industry specific software that helps us be very efficient when it comes to purchasing and project management.  It is item based which means once the information is entered about each specific item, the remainder of the process such as proposals, purchase orders and invoices follow more easily.  The more efficient we can be, the more time we have for the creative side of your project and the less it will cost you.

10)  Are there any other fees for your services?

Again, an open and honest discussion about this topic at the time of the interview is a sign that you will not have hidden fees or unexpected charges down the road.  An “open checkbook” arrangement such as hourly billing may harbor hard feelings and can ruin a relation between the client and the designer.

Before work begins, you will be presented with a Letter of Agreement, which will explain in detail, the scope of work that we will provide to you, the amount of time it should take and the fee required for this work.  Occasionally, a client will add to the scope of work so a secondary arrangement will be made.  This will be in writing, as we believe that everyone should always be on the same “page”.  There are no secrets here.

 

In summary, here are 10 reasons why Talianko Design Group, LLC is your best choice:

 1.     Debbie Talianko is a Certified Interior Designer.

2.     We use lots of tools to get to know you quickly.

3.     We insist on helping you to create your budget.

4.     Our team has 15 years of experience collectively.

5.     Planning is key and we do our homework.

6.     We have many systems in place, which help us work efficiently.

7.     We are hands on and you will always know to whom you should turn.

8.     Our approach to design fees and product pricing is flexible and transparent.

9.     Our follow through is unrivaled.

10.  We treat people the way we would want to be treated.

 

Posted in Business, Knowledge, Portfoliio, Resources, Uncategorized | Topics , , , | Comments Off

Talianko Design Group wins Best of Houzz 2014!

TALIANKO DESIGN GROUP, LLC of SIERRA MADRE Receives

Best Of Houzz 2014 Award 

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 11.25.40 AM

Annual Survey and Analysis of 16 Million Monthly Users

Reveals Top-Rated Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals

 

SIERRA MADRE, CA, February 4, 2014 – Talianko Design Group, LLC of Sierra Madre, CA has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The residential design firm that specializes in a clean, calm and casual style was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors is determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal idea books via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhone app and Android app. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz. Talianko Design Group, LLC has received both awards for 2014.

“Our goal is to ensure that our clients fall in love with their homes.”

We make the process easy and convenient for them, because we believe this is the way people should be treated.  By listening carefully to their requests, we can thoroughly understand their needs. And in the end, we produce something both beautiful and personal.

Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Talianko Design Group, LLC among our “Best Of” professionals for both customer satisfaction and design as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify with not only the top-rated professionals like Debbie L. Talianko, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home.  Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

Follow Talianko Design Group, LLC on Houzz here Talianko on Houzz Page

About Debbie L. Talianko

Debbie Talianko (Allied ASID, CID) is an accomplished Sierra Madre residential interior designer, speaker and industry mentor whose firm has perfected the design of casually elegant interiors.

A San Diego native who grew up near the cliffs of Point Loma, Talianko travelled extensively throughout Mexico and Central America and received a Diploma with Distinction in Professional Interior Design from Rhodec International in London. She’s inspired by the intricacy of landscapes, Renaissance architecture and closer to home, the color palettes and feeling of serenity she derives from the mountains and beaches that surround her family’s home in Sierra Madre.

“I love classic design but without all the fuss.  I’d define my style as transitional – clean, calm and casual.”

Whether managing a complete home renovation, a formal living room design or a kitchen upgrade, her aesthetic is defined by order and fluidity; incorporating relaxed silhouettes, fine fabrics and traditional or modern furnishings that are meticulously crafted. Her passion for the design process allows her to create consistent results for clients who expect a custom interior that lets them feel like themselves at home.

In 2012, Talianko was elected Chair of Pasadena’s California Home & Kitchen Tour, a showcase, now in it’s 26th year, that features the American Society of Interior Designers’ (ASID) most distinguished designers.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visitwww.houzz.com

 

#####

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

What Exactly Do We Do?

Cartoon DesignerThis is a question that we hear often.  ”How do you work?”  ”What exactly do you do?”  In this article, I’d like to share some insight about the day-to-day design process.  I will show you examples of how we interact with our clients as well as the types of documents we prepare for our clients, building departments and our contractors.

1. Research and Tools

We start with trying to discover all that we can about you, your lifestyle and the way you use the rooms in your home.  We like tools such as Houzz.com idea books and online questionnaires. We’ll walk through your home with you and listen to you tell us what you love and don’t love about the way it functions.  And we’ll take lots of notes.  Here are some examples of our tools:

Houzz Ideabook As A Tool

Lifestyle Interview

2.  Planning and Sourcing

With your help, we are ready to start planning and allocating the budget.  This is your investment into your home and we take that very seriously.  We are very detailed in how we approach this process.  Here is an example of budget that we created for our client:

Sample Preliminary Budget Sheet

3. The Creative Process

After we have gathered the information that we need, we’ll spend a great deal of time developing a design scheme for you, based on our research and preliminary budget.  We will measure, draft and source everything necessary to complete your rooms.  You get to sit back and enjoy the peace you’ll have knowing we are handling all of the legwork and a lot of the details so you won’t have to!

When the creative process is complete, we will present a number of items to you in order to share our vision with you.  Along with physical samples of the materials we propose, we will share mood boards, story boards, space plans, plumbing and lighting plans, and sometimes renderings in 3D to help you understand our perspective.

Examples of Our Drawings

Example of a Project From “Before” to Presentation to Final Result

4. Project Implementation

From this point, construction begins, product and material orders are under way and your dream for your new home is becoming a reality.  We work closely with your contractor and other team members to ensure a smooth process.  We are always available for questions, revisions, whatever is needed along the way.  We’ll coordinate deliveries for you so that you are not inconvenienced any more than necessary.

When everything is complete and your new furnishings have been installed, we’ll walk with you through the project site with a punch list to ensure no detail is left unattended.

Other Finished Project Photo

Thanks for visiting.  We hope to hear from you soon!

“Our goal is to ensure that our clients fall in love with their homes”.

 

 

Posted in Business, Knowledge, Portfoliio, Uncategorized | Topics , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Talianko Wins Angie’s List Super Service Award 2013

Talianko Design Group, LLC 
Earns Esteemed 2013 Angie’s List 
Super Service Award
Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Talianko Design Group, LLC has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the consumer review service in 2013.

13ANG0007_SuperServiceLogo_Final_LessGradient-2200px

“Our goal is to ensure that our clients fall in love with their homes.”

“Only about 5 percent of the companies Talianko Design Group, LLC competes with in the Greater Los Angeles area, are able to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a mark of consistently great customer service.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2013 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, have a fully complete profile, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2013 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.

###

Angie’s List helps consumers have happy transactions with local service professionals in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to healthcare. More than 2 million paid households use Angie’s List to gain access to local ratings, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List Magazine and the Angie’s List complaint resolution service.

Posted in Business, Resources, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Frosty Hits Sierra Madre! Merry Christmas!

Every year, a group of anonymous men and women make a trip to the mountains and bring snow to Sierra Madre. A couple of pick up trucks show up faithfully every year the day before Christmas eve.

 

Photo Dec 23, 4 43 59 PM

 

They build an adorable snowman (this year, he’s at least 7 feet tall).

 Photo Dec 23, 4 41 31 PM

The kids have a blast throwing snow balls all afternoon and at the end of the day, Frosty stands ready and waiting to greet those who visit Sierra Madre. Take a peek!

Photo Dec 23, 6 28 40 PMMerry Christmas!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off