What projects do you take?
We take full service design projects in the Main Line area where there is at least one room for a complete room design. We are a small boutique firm and we aim to take no more than 5 major projects at once including no more than 3 renovation projects. At times with a full home renovation we take one or two projects at once.
Can we use items I already have?
We are happy to incorporate a couple important pieces, particularly antiques or heirloom items. We need to complete a full room design, and will show options if an existing piece limits the design.
Why don’t you take smaller decorating projects?
Larina has chosen to keep her firm small and limit the number of projects to ensure optimal client service. Her strength is in the big picture, and she most enjoys full room and full home design. She has a background in fine art and likens the creative process to a painting on a canvas— to come in towards the end and finish a painting is more challenging and less rewarding than conceptualizing the vision from the beginning.
How do I know if my project is a good fit?
Like any relationship sharing core values is important. We value using quality materials, local craftsman, and pieces that will last. We also value healthy indoor air and environmental initiatives and avoid materials with particle board, formaldehyde and other contaminants. We also work well with momentum and best with clients who are ready to make decisions and take action on their projects.
With renovations we typically limit our projects to those with contractors we know and trust. This ensures optimal quality and project management.
What makes your firm different?
Our goal is to truly understand our clients’ needs, interests, style, and lifestyle. Larina has a doctorate in psychology and a bachelors in environmental psychology as well as interior design. We truly seek to collaborate with our clients to bring out their vision (even if they don’t know what it is) and each of our designs is quite different from the next. The ergonomics, durability and comfort of pieces is important to us. Larina also has an MBA in project management and a streamlined process for propelling projects along.
Are your designs child and pet friendly?
Yes! We are practical almost to a fault as we’ve talked clients out of very pretty fabrics at times! Larina uses her “three boys test” (would something stand up to her 3 active boys?) and makes sure that furnishings selected have the right durability for our clients’ family needs.
We have furniture makers who use industrial grade finishes. That said, natural wood products cannot always stand up to putting a hot pan on them, dramatically changing humidity levels, or a teething puppy, so of course there is a client responsibility as well.
How much should I budget per room?
There is a great deal of variability and we have done rooms for $15,000 and rooms for $150,000. At a minimum a budget of $20,000 for a living room (not including higher priced hand knotted rugs or custom window treatments) should allow for quality designer trade pieces. Smaller rooms like foyers can be lower, and larger family rooms with multiple living spaces would be higher.
What are your design fees?
Our custom room designs are around 12-20 hours per room ($195/hour). This provides three unique designs and a round of revisions based on client feedback. Shopping and decorating is another 5-10 hours typically. We do not bill for administration time on ordering.
How does ordering work?
We purchase designer trade furniture and resell to our clients. We use vendors who we have vetted and developed relationships with over the years so that we know the customer service will be excellent. We split our discounts with clients, and our portion covers our admin, liability, etc. Typically the fees our clients pay are below retail. Some of our rug, art, and furniture vendors bill our clients directly.
What if I want to purchase something myself?
Please discuss this with your designer. It is not acceptable in the interior design field to use our vendors to source custom furniture and fabrics and then shop the design around. We do not shop for better pricing and are confident that our vendors are fair and that they provide the integrity and service level we need.
Our vendors curate items, pay for rent, purchase floor samples and style the showroom, and the designers offer time and valuable expertise in creating the selections. If someone does not value these factors it is best to not hire a professional designer, or to find one who sources big box retail.
If, however, you see a small retail item such as a side table or accessory share it with your designer as that is likely something that can be incorporated and you can purchase yourself.
How long does furniture take?
On average custom furniture takes 10-14 weeks. Fabric delays and holidays can increase the time. We always check on the timelines and update clients.
How does installation work?
A one day installation is wonderful when possible. Seeing one piece at a time doesn’t show the full design and is less desirable; however, when there are delays or other reasons to bring items sooner we can always arrange multiple deliveries.