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Every client has questions!

We've put together a list of the ones we hear that may be helpful as you begin your inquiry process. If you have additional questions, please connect with us through the contact page.

  • What does an interior designer do and how does what they offer differ from an architect or contractor?
    An interior designer’s focus is the form and function of a space and we spend our time thinking about what you need as you use and move through the space. Interior designers partner with you, the clients, to achieve your desired aesthetic and design that enhances your lifestyle and works with the architecture of your home. Designers collaborate with other professionals—like architects and contractors—as needed, based on the type and scale of the project. The designer selects all of the finishes for the home (like tile, fixtures, etc.) and furniture. An architect’s expertise is in building and structure, so they’ll be on the project team for additions or new builds. A contractor builds from the design plans created by the architect and designer.
  • What do I need to know about hiring an interior designer? Where do I start?
    The most important thing to know is that working with an interior designer can be a rewarding, stress-free process. In addition to helping you create a beautiful home, designers can define the budget and scope of your project. They also have the connections and recommendations to help you hire the right contractors to complete the work. Interior designers take on renovations and new builds but also furnishings and soft good selections. Not sure if you need a designer? Hiring an interior designer is hiring a thought partner who takes the time to truly understand your goals for your home and lifestyle, crafting design solutions that uniquely serve your needs. An interior designer is a good idea if you can answer yes to any of the following questions. Are you looking for expert guidance and someone to help you navigate defining (or redefining) your style? Are you looking to streamline the decision process and make sure you aren't wasting time and money on items that ultimately don't serve your goals or work together? Do you need help establishing your project goals and timeline or perhaps don't even know where to begin? Other times you may need a designer are if you and your family members have different styles and aren't sure how to combine them or if you are not sure how to make the most of the space you have as your family grows or needs change. An experienced designer is skilled at seeing things in new ways. To get started on your full-service project, contact us and schedule your complimentary Discovery Call - a short zoom call so that we can connect and tell you a bit about how we work. If we're a good fit, we move to a Design Consult - a working meeting to fully discuss your project, get advice, and fully explore the scope of your project. A Design Consult is required for all projects and is a working meeting in which we review the spaces you’d like to see transformed. We talk through the details of timeline, budget, and specific concerns to create a complete scope of work. We use this information to craft a proposal unique to your project. We then present our proposal including our plan for executing the design, budget and timeline. If the project moves forward the fee is applied to your invoice, otherwise it is is non-refundable.
  • What will my project cost?
    Each full-service design project presents its own unique challenges, so we charge hourly based on time spent working and use our years of experience to provide you with an extensive proposal outlining the expected estimated hours based on your project scope and goals, gathered during our Design Consult. This proposal includes the scope of work, the budget, and projected hours for Phase I - the inquiry and design phase of your project. We charge a percentage of the total materials cost for sourcing and procurement and a flat fee for installation. Project management is also a flat fee, although change orders will are billed at our hourly rate. All of these are outlined in your initial proposal, along with our billing practices. We’re committed to transparency with our clients and will provide regular updates so that you always know where you stand financially. We work with clients in a few different ways so we can accommodate different budgets. Please review our Services page for complete descriptions of each item.
  • How does the full-service design process work?
    Kathryn Murphy Interiors sees possibilities where others see limitations. This, alongside our years of experience in listening to multiple stakeholders and creating consensus, creates a unique combination of skills that work together to create a room - or an entire home- that is individual to each client. For our full service design clients, we have a 5 step process that moves seamlessly from our first conversation to installation. We begin with the in-home design consult, a working meeting where we discuss ideas along with our design process. Here we get to know each other and understand the full project scope. A proposal is created and with it's acceptance and the payment of the retainer, your project is officially underway. Once we are officially working together, we begin the inquiry process, exploring ideas and inspiration to finalize the vision for the project. Lots of questions and questionnaires guide this established process that ensures that your voice and needs are clearly understood from the start. You've hired us for ideas that you can't think of on your own, but an important part of that process is understanding you - your home and lifestyle needs. Then we dive in and get creative, putting everything together to create a detailed design plan - floor plans, elevations, fabric and finish samples - the works! We'll present this to you for feedback so you have everything you need to confidently move forward with the next steps. Once all materials are approved, we get to work behind the scenes places and managing all ordering, inspections, and storage and checking in with the trade team as required. We are your agent during a renovation to make sure that everything moves forward smoothly. You can sit back knowing that everything is coming together exactly as specified. Once all items have been received and construction is concluded, we oversee and coordinate delivery and installation. Depending on the project scope, installation can last 1-5 days. Once complete we step back and leave you to enjoy your new space.
  • How do I know if I need a Design Consult or Full Service?
    If you just need advice on a few items or paint color - you need a Design Consult. If you have a few spaces that need looking at or one room that needs a deeper dive on a limited budget, try a Design Intensive. If you want to know that everything is taken care of, with turn key and trouble free procurement and project management for all the details required to bring our design into reality or have a project that involves renovation, you need full service design. Still not sure? Schedule a discovery call with us today, we're happy to discuss your project and questions.
  • Why don't you offer free consultations?
    When I started my business I knew I wanted to be helpful to clients in all budget ranges. With a paid consultation I share any and all ideas during our meeting and don’t hold anything back in hopes of ‘making a sale’ on a bigger project. I make sure that your consultation ends with all the information you need to either tackle your design project yourself or hire my design services.
  • What if I find something amazing?
    We ask that you make any purchases before we move into design phase so we can incorporate them into your design. But also, you hired us for a reason—let us do the sourcing for you.
  • What if I don't like the design?
    We spend a lot of time in the research phase understanding your family and your style to make sure you love your design. If a selection or two misses somehow misses the mark, you can be confident knowing that one revision is included with all projects.
  • Can you work with some of my existing items that I love?
    Yes! We go through this in the research phase of our process and will catalog any items you’d like to use. We’ll guide you through what’s worth keeping and what’s better off being rehomed. If something simply won’t work with your approved design concept, we’ll let you know!
  • Do I receive trade pricing?
    We are so fortunate to have relationships with so many talented vendors and we love incorporating custom and special pieces to make every design unique. Our prices are competitive with retail and we manage the entire ordering process for you. Part of the fun when working with a designer is gaining access to our expertise, knowledge, and exclusive resources. When you buy goods through any retailer, us included, the products are purchased at a lower price than they are being sold for so that business makes a profit. A traditional retailer, like Crate & Barrel or Target, also takes advantage of purchasing their goods at wholesale pricing which increases their profit margin. We invest thousands of dollars, and countless hours, identifying and vetting our preferred vendors and suppliers.
  • How often can we talk?
    We’re available by email Tuesday - Friday and are happy to schedule calls to talk through your project. We’ll find out upfront how involved you want to be and how often you want updates, then we’ll manage the communication from there so you can enjoy the process without overwhelm or anxiety.
  • What if I'm not in the Chicago area?
    We primarily serve Oak Park, River Forest, and the near west suburbs - including Elmhurst, Oak Brook, Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Western Springs, and Glen Ellyn. We also work in Chicago's West Loop, Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, and other neighborhoods. For projects outside of this area we charge a travel fee and are always open to working in new communities!
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