How do you charge for your time and services?
Let’s get that out in the open right away, because I know it’s on your mind! The short answer is, I charge $85 an hour. The longer (and more realistic) answer is, my time is charged a few different ways, depending on the scope of your project. For example, I offer a 40-hour new construction consulting package at a reduced rate. But with a remodeling project, I charge a flat fee based on a percentage of the total cost. With a quick phone call, I’ll be able to tell you how YOUR project’s fee will be structured.
Do you offer free consultations?
I offer a phone consultation at no charge for all of my potential clients. During this call, we discuss your needs and the scope of your particular project. I can give more information to any questions you might have about how my design process will work in your situation. We can also use this time to get to know each other to see if we're a good fit to work together :)
What's included in our initial consultation?
When we schedule a consult for a specific date and time to meet, I charge a non-refundable consultation fee. I'll travel to your home to listen to your ideas and assess the space in person. We'll discuss your needs, vision, budget, time frame and expectations. I'll also take basic measurements and photos, and make a few recommendations. As part of the paid consult, I'll return to my office and prepare a proposal for you on how we might proceed. Most clients understand that this initial consultation cost is minimal compared to the cost of making huge mistakes on their own.
Why do you ask my budget?
The amount of your overall budget does not make a difference to me - my fees are the same nonetheless. But I need to keep your budget in mind so we don’t develop a design that is below your expectations or is just not financially possible.
Who are your typical clients?
I seem to have 2 types of clients - empty-nesters wanting to remodel rooms in their existing home and younger families building their first home. The common thread is that they just don't have the vision of the big picture (and almost never have the time!) to tackle the project themselves. My typical client might have an idea of what they want (and sure knows what they don't want), but they just don't know where to begin!
How involved in the process will I need to be?
You may be as involved as much or as little as you would like to be. We can either shop together for selections, or I can visit showrooms on my own and return with options. I find that the most successful projects have a good balance where you consistently contribute your ideas and suggestions, but allow me to act as the professional. Ultimately, you always get the final say!
Do you sell any products?
I do! I am a TimberBlind and Horizons Window Fashions dealer, offering custom (yet affordable) window coverings. These lines consist of plantation shutters, woven woods, and faux woods; as well as fabric Roman and roller shades. I'm also a new dealer of Waypoint Cabinetry!
What areas do you serve? Do you charge to travel?
My office is based in Sunset, but I regularly provide interior design services for the following parishes: Acadia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, and Vermilion. In addition, I can (and do!) travel to other areas (like Lake Charles and Baton Rouge), with the travel time billed at ½ my hourly rate.
What is your style? (I’m afraid to hire a designer, because I don’t want them to ignore my personal taste.)
For the most part, I don’t have one particular style, because I like them all! An important aspect of being a designer is listening and appreciating your client’s personal style. I’m a firm believer that your home is just that, YOUR home. With my design skills, I will work to develop the best version of YOUR style that I possibly can. Now, that being said…there are some things that I wouldn’t recommend. I still need to make sure your space is pleasing, comfortable, and functional. Sometimes I have to suggest alternatives to homeowners’ preferences. However, if you really have your heart set on something, it’s you that makes the ultimate decision. (FYI, my personal style is a bit quirky and funky. I like to use unexpected elements and push the envelope of commonly accepted design.)
What are your qualifications?
I received my Bachelor of Interior Design in 2002 from the University of Louisiana’s School of Architecture, a FIDER accredited program (FIDER is now called CIDA). I worked in residential sales in the building industry (flooring, paint, wallpaper, shades and blinds, lighting) for 3 years while I prepared for the NCIDQ exam. I became a Louisiana Registered Interior Designer in 2006 and started Tara O Design, LLC in 2011. And finally in 2016, I obtained my Home Improvement Contractor license!
During this time, I also designed (and implemented) several personal projects including: building an addition and updating our first home (a 100+ year-old home), flipping a house, and gutting and remodeling two personal homes. We’re also about to start building a new “old” house. So I don’t just practice interior design, I live it!