Ask An Interior Designer

November 26, 2018


Don't be intimidated. You should not fear the design process, but embrace it with an assurance that your designer always has your best interests first and foremost in mind.



I’ve always heard that the first step to recovery is to admit there is a problem. Design help isn’t necessarily a situation of life or death, but I can say with confidence that a well-appointed home does add contentment, happiness, and, I’m sure, years to your life! All joking aside, sometimes it’s important that we reach out and ask a professional.  


Many today believe that just by investing in countless hours in front of a television, watching HGTV or the Design Network, it’s the same as receiving a degree in Interior Design from an institution of higher education. The reality is that often it’s made to look so simple that it appears as if anyone can throw up some shiplap and everything is right with the world . . . Not so fast!  Shiplap and an overly “nail-headed” linen chair won’t solve the fact that you have dated furniture or furniture that you inherited from your mother. You find your entire home is full of heirlooms or antiques, along with many other treasured items, and you have no idea how to arrange or display them that makes sense in your not-so-formal home.



  1. A sunny kitchen in Arkansas by Shayla Copas.

  2. A curated guest suite by Rich Schell in the Broadmoor Resort Community.

  3. California Contemporary in Upland, California. A home by Rich Schell.

  4. Rich Schell, Shayla Copas and Stephen Shutts at High Point, North Carolina Furniture Market.



Nonetheless, a seasoned designer should be able to come up with the solutions to make your home a prized backdrop for your cherished past and the things you hold most dear.  Going about the process of finding help may be a bit daunting, but it’s certainly not impossible. Here are some ideas from a couple of my friends in the design industry.


Stephen Shutts, Stephen Shutts Design, Morgantown, West Virginia, says, “When it comes to large-scale projects, be it new construction or a significant renovation, I find that all too often a client will come to me far too late in the project, once many of the crucial decisions have already been made. People often think the time to hire an interior designer is towards the end of a project, when it’s time for furnishings, window treatments, accessories, etc. But for a project to be truly successful and cohesive, the interior designer, as well as all associated trades, should be considered and hired from the project’s inception. I liken the built environment to a machine, where all the parts and pieces must function together in just the right way to achieve the desired outcome.”

Hopefully, your challenge today turns into an amazing client/designer relationship, by just having thoughts and ideas become fluid in regards to your immediate needs. I have had the great fortune of working for years with the same clients and friends on the interior of their homes, or in some cases, multiple homes. Our relationship is predominant to the trust of being allowed to do what I know will work. Often, the “reveal” is the first time my client will experience the overall revision of an interior space. I cannot expect you to understand what lies in my scattered, twisted and creative mind!


The cost of employing a designer is, frankly, all over the map. Often, there may be a design fee, a retainer to secure the scope of the overall job. Construction with design often represents more site visits, as well as more total work, as opposed to only furnishing an existing space. Most designers offer an initial complimentary site visit to look at the job and discuss budgets and time frame in order to determine pricing.  


Unbelievable transformation by Rich Schell of a Broadmoor home. Architect Mark Tremmel




You should not fear the design process, but embrace it with an assurance that your designer always has your best interests first and foremost in their mind. The designer wants nothing more than to create a finale that is worthy of being published. Designers are set up with many vendors, to provide the best pricing to both the designer and client.  Like any retail store, a designer has a desire, as well as a need to make a profit. If the client hopes to obtain goods at wholesale prices from the designer, the client may have missed the purpose of engaging in a relationship with the designer. The bottom line of the designer’s position is to accomplish your project, and most designers generally will match your best price, if it is at all possible. Keep in mind, items found on the internet are often not able to be price matched, especially when considering overhead costs that are incurred when dealing with a brick and mortar operation.  


Remember, that in this day of internet DIY projects and a worldwide web full of beautifully shot interior photography (that we all swoon over), these were real rooms in real homes of real people before they become public domain. The only reason they appear on the internet is because a real interior designer had a real professional photographer take real pictures that you really like! 


If you find yourself needing some expert help to make your home even better than the photographs, don’t hesitate to call Rich Schell Interiors at 719-475-1200 or email us 






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