Saturday, February 16, 2013

Do You "Really" Need an Interior Designer


Odd topic you would say, right? You will say "everyone needs a designer provided one can afford it".
You may find it odd hearing this coming from someone from the fraternity (a.k.a. me) that.

1. Not everyone who can afford a designer actually needs one &
2. Every one can actually afford an interior designer

Let me explain what I mean. Over the last few years having been in this line & having met & spoken to multitudes of people making their homes I feel one can categorize home makers broadly into the following 3 groups

Type 1. Folks who know exactly what they want, have the time and a deep desire to be closely involved in each aspect of home making, love spending their weekends looking out for stuff for their new home & possibly have someone or can themselves supervise daily construction.

If you belong to this category then you definitely DO NOT need an interior designer to help you, simply because you are mostly good enough to help yourself. What you DO NEED however is a good Carpenter to execute what you have already created in your mind.

If you are the Type 1 described above but do decide to hire an interior designer you run a serious risk of  (1) "Clash of the Creative Juices"  and (2) "the designer is the carpenter syndrome" a situation which you as well as your designer will hate to be in. What will suffer in the end will be the work and the final output.

Type 2: Folks who know what they want, don't know how to do it and don't have the inclination or the time to learn how to either.
If you are type 2 then you are an ideal case to benefit from hiring an interior designer. The designer will bring in explicit expertise to fine tune your thoughts and specialist workmen to ensure that those thoughts end up in matching output. Also the fact that you ride on the supply chain efficiencies of the designer will ensure genuine material, timely execution and lower cost (...more on the cost later).

Type 3: Folks who don't know what they want.
If you are Type 3 and making a home then STOP. First spend some time to think through what you want. Make a list of the things that you need in your new home & have a broad budget based how much you want to spend on your interiors ... with a little bit of stretch.
Once you have done that, identify whether you now belong to the group Type 1 or Type 2 above and proceed (this is somehow starting to sound like computer programming logic:) )

To my second point - "Everyone can actually afford an Interior Designer".
In my analysis, most designers, given they are scrupulous and actually use the material they promise, would make a pre tax margin of between 10 - 15% on an average because if they are over 15% they will be priced out of the market & if they make less than 10% (= 7% post tax) then its not worth it.

A designer's supply chain efficiency itself balances out this payout. What I mean by that is that if you were to go into the market to purchase the material & quality labour on your own, you will end up spending 10 - 15% more than what your designer will spend because of the designer's established supply chain. So in effect the designer's service is coming to you at zero cost.

Additionally, if you were to do it - add to this the cost of

1) Your time & effort
2) The risk of spurious material
3) The risk of a mess up leading to rework.
4) The designers expertise built over years brought in for your project
5) Time delays due to the workers running off [the designer running off is still comparatively lower risk : )]

Net net - if you are Type 2 then hiring a designer is a Win - Win. However if you are Type 1 - then don't risk it.

The cat is among the pigeons now... as always would look forward to your comments & feedback.

Signing of

NM






39 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing again, please don't stop blogging. I recently emailed you and trust me, your blog definitely helped me and others who think we cannot afford an interior designer. Do you think its possible, to get a 3 BHK house done in 2.5lacs budget?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If one has a budget constraint he/ she has 2 options
      1. Do the whole house in lower quality material
      2. Start with the kitchen in proper quality material and incrementally add a room as and when the budget becomes available.

      Hiring an Interior Designer and a having a low budget are mutually exclusive subjects & its not that Designers do not take on low budget projects. The issue comes when expectations are unrealistic and don't match up against the budget at hand.

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  2. Hi Nandita,

    Good to see all the work and learn about your experiences. Even I am at a stage where I designing my home. I have finalized a carpenter and he indicated that he will use Century brand of ply. However, now he is pressurizing me to go for Green Ply. Which is the best amongst the both?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the same specification both Century & Greenply are the same in terms of quality. In terms of cost Century is a bit more expensive

      NM

      Delete
  3. Hi Nandita what are different types of veneer and how to chose veneer as there are so many qualities and different prices. Not sure how to chose them. Can you please put together a write up on veneers as well which we can use as our guide. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Choice of Veneer is usually made based on the design needed. Assuming standard well known brands - there is not much except the design to differentiate one from another.

      NM

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    2. There are different price range of veneers. Not sure if there is a difference in quality as well. Even in branded there are different qualities and a huge difference in price. How can we choose? Is design the only factor. Also the shopkeeper was using the word burl which i didnt understand what it is and tried googling as well but no luck. Would you know what does burl mean in terms of veneer?

      Delete
    3. In laymans terms Burl is the design of the grains (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burl)
      The primary factor in deciding veneers is the design. The only other thing that matters is the thickness of the veneer layer. If you are going for a reputed brand then you need not bother about this.

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  4. How much will be per sq ft cost if we use Ply with Vineer vs using teak wook

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Costs vary based on the brand of ply, the design of the veneer and the quality of teak. Best is to visit the market and check out for the specific brands/ quality that match your budget.

      NM

      Delete
  5. NM its time you go national. The country needs a trustworthy int designer who is not only good at work but also reaches to masses. Hemant ├╝beroi may be a great chef but Sanjiv Kapoor made made it big.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words. I believe in the end its not about making it big but being satisfied with what you create. A larger scale brings in quality issues and a lot of stress to keep it in control...am frankly happy doing no more than 2-3 projects at a time and doing them well

      Rgds
      NM

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  6. Hi Nandita,

    I'm planning to install sound proof windows(UPVC)to block road/traffic noise. I did some prelim research online on various brands and a bit confused as which one to choose. My questions to you:

    Do you feel UPVC windows are ideal and would help block noise significantly or are a gimmick?

    Which brands are best on a budget and with good quality? I know Fenesta appears to be popular but I've come accross many complaints on consumer sites.

    Thanks in advance.

    Best,

    Shyam


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shyam,
      Yes, UPVC windows would drastically bring down external noise.
      I have used Fenesta and have found it effective. There are a number of brands available in the market nowadays including Sobha and some imported brands - have however not used these and hence cannot comment.

      Rgds
      Nandita

      Delete
    2. Thanks Nandita.
      As I already have casement windows fixed, would it be enough for me to go for a single glazed window in addition to the existing casement window rather than a double glazed one to block noise?

      Delete
    3. Really depends on the specifics and how noisy it is outside. Ideally the glass should be double glazed to insulate against both sound & heat.

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  7. I see you are working on projects in Bangalore. Can you tell how to meet you to check on feasibility of you taking up my apartment as ur next proj ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, You can reach me at nanditamanwani@gmail.com

      Rgds
      Nm

      Delete
  8. Excellent article. An eye opener for me :) thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Nandita, Thanks for such a wonderful blog. Could you please help me with my problem in false ceiling .. I have a huge living cum dining space 31 (length) * 16 (width) and a beam is passing in the middle of the ceiling ( a sort of partition look). I want a 6 feet swing in the living room. So instead of doing two false ceiling designs one in the living area, and one in the dining area, can I cover the beam with false ceiling and provide just simple shandelier points..Please let me know your suggestion. Kindly include false ceiling ideas also in your posts. It will be of great help.. Looking forward to hear from you.. Thanks, Soujanya

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would not want to risk a comment without actually seeing the place. Me commenting based on limited knowledge may cause you trouble

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  10. Hi Nandita,

    We are about to take possession of our flat at Sobha Classic (Harlur Road). The builders suggest we engage Sobha Interiors for our interior work. The approximate quote given for a simple 3 BHK (1400 sft) is about 7 lakhs.What is your opinion about the quality as well as pricing of the interiors done by Sobha?

    Thanks for taking the time to add value.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really depends on the scope of work being done, the material used and the designs. If the quote is for complete interiors in good quality material then on the face it looks to be quite cheap & I cannot say where might be the catch (if there is one that is). The thumbrule I use for estimating interiors is available at http://www.homedesignbangalore.com/2013/11/home-interiors-thumbrules-for-costing.html

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  11. Hi Nandita,

    Even I read that Sobha has interior division which have imported machinery and thus the finishing would come out very smooth. I we hire another interior designer will they be able to get machine finishing ?

    otherwise have you heard about Sobha's quality in Construction and in furniture ?

    thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most good designers have factory tie ups to offer machine finished interiors. Also, mostly all factories use "imported" machinery hence that really is not a differentiator. Note that all designs may not be amenable to factory cuts and may require carpentry at site based on the intricacy of the design.
      I have not come across Sobha's interior work hence cannot comment with conviction of its quality.

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  12. Hi Nandita,

    1) I wanted to know if you do interiors with machine based wood cutting and pressing or carpenter at our premises. Which is better.

    2) is rubber wood good to use in the wardrobe ?

    3) Also for the Kitchen for the shutters on top is rubber wood good to use ?

    4) is Lacquer finish a good one to have in kitchen ? does it cause maintenance ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Responses in line below
      1) I wanted to know if you do interiors with machine based wood cutting and pressing or carpenter at our premises. Which is better. - Machine cut work is generally cleaner however you can achieve only straight line finishes with it. Hence the decision on whether to go with machine cut or handmade needs to be made based on the design

      2) is rubber wood good to use in the wardrobe? No, its good for small size shutters only as it is prone to bend

      3) Also for the Kitchen for the shutters on top is rubber wood good to use? Yes Rubber wood is fine for Kitchen shutters

      4) is Lacquer finish a good one to have in kitchen? does it cause maintenance? Yes Lacquer finish in the Kitchen will pose maintenance issues

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  13. kindly guide me as to where can I shop for bar stools or breakfast counter high chairs especially in white in bangalore.good options on ebay but they dont ship to India

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can try www.fabfurnish.com, www.urbanladder.com or the shops - @Home, Lifestyle, HomeStop, Evok etc.

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  14. Hi Nandita,

    Thanks for such a wonderful blog . I am planning to do interiors for my apartment and for most of the area except kitchen and crockery unit i am planning to use 19mm commercial plywood, inside laminated fixed and exteriors fixed with veneer and given a melamine matt finish . Could you please help me if I have selected the right material

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, broadly the material is fine. Avoid using commercial ply for woodwork on walls that are likely to get moist -- like outside facing walls, walls next to the Bathroom etc. for these BWR ply is recommended

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  15. Hi Nandita,

    The best thing about homedesignbangalore is - "It connects with the reader" and your knowledge of interior designing is commendable. I purchased a flat in whitefield and will get the place around november'14 by builder for interiors. After reading the article, I found myself in between Type 1 and Type 2 (Type 1.5 may be... :)..), but definately consider consulting an interior designer as I don't want to regret the quality and outcome later. Do you think 4L approx is a decent budget for 2bhk (1170 sft SB) considering I want to modify some of my current furnitures (Sofa, King size bed, Crockery Table etc.)?

    What is the best way to get in touch with you?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anish,
      A broad thumb-rule for decent quality interiors is 800 times the super built up area of the residence, refer http://www.homedesignbangalore.com/2013/11/home-interiors-thumbrules-for-costing.html
      I am reachable at nanditamanwani@gmail.com

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  16. Dear Nandita,

    Your blog is very informative for first time home owners like us. Thank you for providing the information. We just got our interiors done and have shared our experience at: https://chaikesaathbiskut.wordpress.com/

    Regards,
    Megha and Vishwam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations on your new home Megha, Vishwam

      Rgds
      NM

      Delete
  17. Hi Nandita,

    Excellent blog ! Thanks a lot for so many valuable inputs !
    I will be getting my house in a month or so and I had a query on this topic.

    There are a lot of these middle people who don't claim to be interior decorators - but they will do all the work for you. They will get the material, take it to the factory, make it exactly as per the designs you give them and then come back and install them in your house with the help of a carpenter. They manage the false ceilings, electricals, plumbing - anything you want them to do.
    If an interior decorator does all this + design your house and all that at 15% margin, how much do these guys typically charge in terms of margin?

    I like the idea of me making all the designs, but not having to manage the day to day execution of the carpenter. I just want to make sure that I am not paying for an interior decorator without getting one.

    Thanks,
    Tejas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I frankly would not know the pricing model/ margins of the service providers you have mentioned.
      The simple rule is that you get what you pay (market rates) for. If this equation has a mismatch then there is something that is unknown and therefore has corresponding risk.

      Regards
      NM

      Delete
  18. Hi Nandita

    We have a flat in a 11 storey building. I want to have a swing hanging in my living room. Do you think swings can be hung in apartments too or are they only for individual homes? Can this be done without false ceiling or need to do a false ceiling? Whom can I contact for the same? Can a carpenter help. Do I need to take permission from the builder?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't need a false ceiling to install a swing. Get a carpenter and he will be able to fix it directly on the concrete ceiling using anchor bolts.

      Delete