Frequently Asked Questions
What should I know first before starting a design project?
It is very important to have a clear and defined budget before anything begins. The funds you have available for the project will determine a lot about the project insofar as the scale and scope of work that can be achieved. We work within the budget as defined by our clients and having a clear amount to work with makes the process easier.
What happens in the first consultation/meeting with you?
Depending on the scope of the project, ideally, I would prefer to meet clients in the actual space to be designed. This gives me a chance to see the space for myself and for you (the client) to convey what you desire the space to become. If another location for the first meeting is more convenient or desirable, then I’m flexible to accommodate. During the meeting, I usually ask questions to get to know more about you, what you use the space for, and how you envision the end result of the space. We’ll discuss initial details of the project and then go from there.
What should I bring to my first consultation/meeting you?
Because design is very visual, it’s best to bring pictures of items or products that you like to see included in the overall design. These can be pages from magazines or catalogues that you picture yourself living in or very abstract like an image of a piece of art wherein the colours have inspired you in some way. Bring printouts of furnishings you saw online or simply bring anything you like because having an image helps define the visual direction of the design. I’d also like to hear how you want to feel in the space. For example, if you want to be relaxed, energized, warm, cozy, calm, elegant, joyful, grand, sophisticated or simply feel at home. All these descriptions form the basis of the design and help to create the space you always dreamed of.
What are some of the important considerations when designing a space?
Aside from the visual aspect, the space has to be functional. Starting with a floor plan goes a long way to see how the space will be utilized and how it will flow from one area to another. When a proper floor plan is utilized, you can move through the space with ease and comfort. Another important consideration is how you want to feel in the space. The way we achieve this is by the use of colours, textures, patterns and style. The ultimate goal is to design a space the clients will love and at the same time be specific to the individuals that will be using it.
What decor styles are you familiar with?
Tastes in styles are very personal and can vary from individual to individual. It can range from Traditional to Contemporary or from Country to Art Deco and everything in between. There’s nothing wrong with mixing different styles within a space. The challenge is working with the different styles to create a unique space. As I am diverse in all styles and depending on the client’s direction, I work with the client to achieve a look and feel that ultimately the client will love.
What is a design theme?
This is a concept that will form the direction of the overall look and feel of the space. For example, if the design is Asian themed, we would be inspired by a style that promotes serenity, emphasis on peace and calmness, natural finishes in wood, bamboo or stone with a ruby, gold and white colour palette. If a Contemporary theme is chosen, we can imagine furnishings that are sleek with clean lines, black & white or neutral colour tones throughout, bold colour focal points, and geometric shapes with graphical patterns. Themes can be single or multi-layered with subtle hints that highlight each theme. The choices are limitless from the subtle to the bold and daring. Whatever your taste and style is, together we can find the right design theme that works best for you.
What design projects excite you?
Each and every design project is unique and exciting in its own way. The design projects that excite me most are projects that focus on spaces that bring people together like Living Rooms, Family Rooms, Dining Rooms or even Dens. It’s very satisfying to know that my designs and ideas for these spaces can improve the quality of time that my clients spend with each other, their families and friends.
What is a Project Manager?
A Project Manager is the single point of contact in the design process. Benito Designs can act as your Project Manager to coordinate the work of all the vendors, contractors, painters, electricians, flooring specialists, furniture and fabric sales people, delivery services and etc. As the Project Manager, we coordinate and communicate with all the various people working together to making your space uniquely yours. At the end of the day, we report the progress directly to you so that you’re up-to-date with all the activity.
What types of projects involve hiring an Architect?
For larger projects involving the demolition, moving or construction of structural walls, it’s very important to engage in the services of a licensed Architect. These professionals ensure that the structures being built are in accordance to current building standards and codes.
When do I hire a Contractor?
When projects involve removing drywall, installing a deck, remodelling an entire kitchen/bathroom or general construction work, hiring a contractor will ensure that the job gets done in a timely manner. It is advisable that our clients acquire at least two different quotes from licensed and insured contractors. Also, when considering one contractor over the other, it’s recommended that you view their previous projects and that references are reviewed. Finally, when choosing a contractor, it’s important to remember that a lower quote does not always necessarily mean you should choose that particular contractor. Sometimes a slightly higher quote means getting a better outcome and quality of work.
What types of projects require specialists?
The services of specialists are generally engaged on an as-needed basis. For example, when creating a media room, the services of sound, projection and electronic specialists may be a great way of adding value to the room. Another example would be in the installation of a walk-in closet organizer system. The functionality of the walk-in organizer may be improved just by speaking to a closet specialist. When designing a new kitchen or bath, the knowledge and advice gained from a kitchen/bath specialist would definitely be of benefit.
Which projects give the largest Return on Investment?
It is generally accepted that Kitchens and Bathrooms would yield the highest return on investment. An updated and a well-designed kitchen with modern appliances, quality cabinetry and countertops are great selling points when it comes time to sell your home. Renovating your bathroom, especially the master bath is also a great way to make your home stand out.
Do you design commercial spaces?
I specialize in the design of mostly residential spaces because designing for residential spaces offers a wider flexibility in what can be done to a space. It is also the most fulfilling. To see clients’ enthusiasm and joy when a space is finally revealed is priceless.
Do you design outdoor spaces?
Absolutely! Designing outdoor patios, balconies and yards are natural extensions of an interior space.
Do you offer services to Do-It-Yourself-ers?
I’m always doing some kind of D-I-Y project myself so it’s great to meet like-minded people who love to create something out of nothing. Sometimes people need a fresh set of eyes to provide a different perspective and to help in making a final design decision. A design consultation can offer an abundance of new ideas.
What about Rental Apartments or Leased Condos?
Just because you rent an apartment or lease a condo doesn’t mean you can’t have a professionally decorated space. We can always utilize the existing conditions of the space, paint the walls, purchase great pieces of furniture, change the lighting fixtures or add accessories to create a space that you’ll love. Decorating your apartment or condo is worth doing it if it makes you love the place you call “home”.
What qualities do you bring as a Designer?
Listening to my clients and giving them what they ask for is my number one priority. Other designers often try to impose their own style into someone else’s home with no regard for their clients’ own desires. You can rest assured that that will never happen. I offer professionalism, a unique ability to understand a client’s design esthetic, new ideas for your home and a true enthusiasm for the work that I do.
What qualities would your ideal Client have?
I love clients that have a good idea of the things they like and don’t like but who are also open to new ideas and suggestions I have for their spaces. Decisiveness, a great attitude and a sense of humour are great as well.
What do your services cost?
It really depends on the scope and scale of the project. For a larger project, a budget is usually drawn up that breaks down the costs into contractors, furnishings, design fees and etc. Costs for furnishings are typically the most variable. For example, a sectional sofa could range from $1,000 to $5,000 and more so the budget will depend on where to allocate funds within the budget. Smaller projects are usually done on an hourly, half-day or full-day fee basis. The best thing to do is to contact Benito Designs so we can discuss the specifics.
Do you perform Design Services outside of Toronto?
Yes, we do! We offer the same services to clients with homes outside of the Toronto area. For projects that require some traveling, we will have to assess fees for travel time, transportation costs, hotels (if necessary) and etc. It’s best to contact Benito Designs so we can discuss the specifics to make sure having us design for you would be in your budget and in your best interest if you live outside of Toronto.