August 21, 2015

Tying the Knot

New York-based interior designer Alan Tanksley offers up some wonderful tips for a successful designer/client relationship.

by New York Spaces

Tying the Knot

Alan Tanksley's Tips for a Successful Designer & Client Relationship

Alan Tanksley

Finding the right interior designer can often be a challenging process. The hiring phase for both the designer and client can be a tedious journey imperiled with miscommunication and misunderstanding. For designers, the interview phase is just as important as it is for the client. The interview is key to exploring the needs, desires, and personalities of both the client and the designer before tying the knot.

Alan Tanksley, one of New York's leading practitioners in residential design offers insight and advice for both sides of this two-way relationship. "We feel that in creating a great client/designer working relationship, it is important to inform potential clients that THEY will play a major role in how successful the project will be," says Alan. Here are his top five questions for the designer and key advice to clients:

For Designers:
What are the client's needs, goals and expectation for this project? What is their timetable/schedule?

Alan Tanksley

Does the client have a particular style in mind? Do they have any visual references, ie. Lookbook, tear sheets? If not, would they be willing to do so?

Has a potential client worked with a designer or architect before? How familiar are they with the process?

Who was the decision maker on the previous project? (Very important to know this. If this is a couple you will most often find that one is the decision maker for the aesthetics, the other is the decision maker for the numbers).

Have they established a budget? If so, how did they do so (previous experience, research, bank account)?

For Clients:
Choose someone you want to spend a lot of time with. Projects require strong, long-term relationships.

Alan Tanksley

Recognize the designer as your partner—a collaborator versus an adversary.

Establish how decisions are to be made, and who is to make them. Do not vary from this and communicate this to your designer.

Be available, decisive, flexible, patient.

Pay your bills on time.

By asking these questions from the start, the relationship between client and designer will have a greater chance of being a success throughout. Understanding goals and expectations from the very front end and defining them at the early stage is key in creating a happy design marriage with a successful end result.

Alan Tanksley