Who's old enough to remember doctors making housecalls? I am. Dr. Ronan, Bellwood, Pennsylvania, our family doctor, visited the Sunderland house more than twice. In "those days" (1950s, 1960s), there were times that Jim, Jill, or I were too sick to leave the house. German measles, mumps, chickenpox, you get the drift.
Doctors always carried a bag not unlike the one pictured above. It smelled of leather, medicine, and that "hospital antiseptic smell," as I recall. The visit was usually short, but it was a visit nonetheless. I wonder how many doctors today still make housecalls. Teresa: anyone you know of?
Times have changed, but housecalls are still alive and well within the Interior Design Industry. I personally try to make at least 2 housecalls each week. It might be a brand new client, new to the Atlanta area, or a past Design Client working on a different room.
In any event, I feel it is very important to visit a customer's home. During the 1-2 hours you are there, you see what kinds of things people have acquired. Some things they want to keep. Others might a new home somewhere else in the house.
Most times, I take measurements. As many of you have heard me say, "I must make everything you buy FIT, both physically and within your budget." I can't tell you how many times I see those epic mistakes people make: sofas the size of the Hindenberg,...all seating facing one way (toward the television most times)....perimeter decorating (everything pushed up against each wall, with a Black Hole in the middle,........or,.......those homes where the dogs and cats take over, doing anything they darn-well please with the furniture in the room.
I also take photos of the room, the existing furniture, the rug, the floor, and the window placements. No matter how good you are (and I'm GOOD,....haha....), if you don't have photographs to reference, you forget the EXACT lay-out of the room.
A Housecall (or Home Visit,......whatever you want to call it) is IMPERATIVE to creating the BEST interior for a client. I find it hard to believe that some Interior Designers do not make that visit. For me, it's an opportunity to sit down, talk to your client,.....maybe even have a cup of coffee.
Sometimes, a new client might say she just wants a new sofa and chairs, but after a personal visit, decides that her "ready-made" curtains need to be replaced with custom window treatments.
You sit. You LISTEN. And you don't overstay your welcome. 2 hours is quite sufficient to get the information you need. The rest of the technical work can be done back at the store/office.
Most people love taking about their pride and joy, where they got what, and what their Dream Plan is for the near future. It's also fun seeing what pets they might have (and THAT is so very important for a Designer to know in proposing new furniture).
Many stores, such as Home Fashion Interiors (where I presently work) have complementary design services and in-home visits. Other boutiques and independent designers have various ways of charging, it all depends.
The point is that no matter WHO you hire to decorate your house, it's a very good idea to invite him to personally visit your home. You'll get the best results that way.
Keep Calm And Schedule A Housecall!