Well, folks, we made it. It took a year, but we finally reached the end of this blog series. We've looked at styling, kitchens/baths, space design, furniture, window treatments, installation, DIY, and even material life expectancy, but, we've finally reached the end: specifications and exteriors. So, let's get started with the more complex of the topics.
What is a Specifier?
Have you ever ordered a piece of furniture, light, or faucet and seen an area labeled "specifications"? Some places do, some stick to general dimensions. Essentially, specifications are the specifics of an item. What are the measurements? How does it attach? Does it need one or three holes in the sink? But that is just the start.
According to the Interior Design Productivity Toolbox by Phyllis Harbringer, "specifications take us through all of the components of a space from electrical to furnishings, cabinetry, and fixtures to window and wall treatments. Checklists are provided to ensure we are providing complete and appropriate specification for all of the bedding, wall, lighting, window treatment, luxury space, kitchen and flooring." Most remodels involve specification because the measurements need to be exact. You cut granite once and if it wrong, it is wrong. Also, this has to be done before construction starts. You need to know where the plumbing and electrical are going. If you want a sconce in a certain position but you don't keep track of its offset from the wall, you may end up with a door running into the sconce.
This process has a lot of pitfalls if you don't know what you're doing or you don't have help. It is even more complicated due to the constraints we live under. COVID changed a lot, including shipping times. Part of specification is keeping track of all items, when they are purchased, when they will arrive, and when they will be installed. Not everyone is capable of keeping track of everything and some projects are more extensive than others. TLN Interiors can and will take care of this for you. That is what we call Full Service.
Now onto something a little easier to comprehend.
I don't get to work on exteriors as often as I might like. I get even less photos of them. I do love the outdoors, though, and enjoy working with a landscaper to create a relaxing retreat for my clients or an elegant entry to frame their home. But how much can an interior designer do when it comes to exteriors? Aren't they different?
Yes and no. Just like when I work on a kitchen remodel or have flooring replaced, I consult with those who are better informed. Very few people in this industry are islands unto themselves. We all work together to give you the home that suits you. And, really, the same skills I've learned working inside the homes apply when I step out their door. Choosing paint colors for the siding, tile for the pool, a sink for an outdoor kitchen, or furniture to go around a fire pit are all familiar tasks, albeit ones with unique challenges.
The same principals for balancing highs, lows, colors, and patterns apply, but the materials vary wildly. If you aren't familiar with the way those materials interact with heat, weather, and other hazards of nature, then you can get yourself into some trouble. And, as always, good, better, and best apply to the products.
There is also a process for what gets put in place first. Hardscape is always the first part. That means patios, walkways, pools, and the like are the structure that we build off of. Next, we layer in any hard rocks we want to use as part of our focus, waterfalls, or stationary furniture. Next come plantings, which I consult a landscaper about for larger projects. While I have a good general knowledge of appropriate plantings, I also know that I'm not an expert, nor do I have access to all of them. A good landscaper has contacts and can get less common varieties of plants that can't be found at your local Home Depot or Green Acres. What's more, just like in a house, exteriors require measurements and drawings to ensure that everything is placed appropriately. If waterlines are being run or moved, those need to be accounted for. Worse, we may be constrained by your HOA's rules about what type of plants are allowed in a front yard or what color your home can be painted.
If you are looking for an interior designer to do either of these tasks, you may be in for a rude awakening. They are not easy, nor are they simple. They have challenges that not everyone is equipped to deal with. Always speak with your designer about their capabilities and concerns. Don't expect to find a one-stop shop that meets all of your requirements. And, don't forget, you are more than welcome to contact me with your questions about this process.
I hope that you've enjoyed this blog series and learned a lot! I'll leave the links for the other sections below. Have a great day!
Furnishings & Window Treatments Magazine