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Five key questions to ask your interior designer

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Charmaine White gives 5 key questions to ask your interior designer

Attempting something for the first time can be overwhelming and hiring an Interior Designer is no exception. Will your visions will align?  Are they qualified professionals? How long will the project take to complete? And most importantly; what is billable? 

Identifying what a client and Interior Designer partnership is going to look like should always be considered at the very beginning. Most Interior Design studios will earmark a certain amount of consultation time without charges before design fees commence.

Interior Designers are experienced professionals who have met with a variety clients and so of course will have their own pre-prepared questions as without detailed thought before an initial consultation clients could feel ‘put on the spot’ and have inaccurate or unrealistic expectations. 

I’ve put together five key questions to ask any Interior Designer as well as five important questions to ask yourself – for clarity and peace of mind from the very beginning of the process!

1. HOW DO I KNOW THAT YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL INTERIOR DESIGN SERVICE? 

There is a difference between hiring an Interior Designer to that of an Interior Decorator – Interior Designers are technically skilled, experienced and formally trained in executing bespoke structural visions.   All good Interior Design practices will be able to demonstrate skill, knowledge and experience through a portfolio of work. 

If you are presented anything that you don’t understand, technical drawings for example, ask the designer to explain these to you – this will provide you with an even better understanding of both the designers technical knowledge and experience. 

Five key questions to ask your interior designer
2. DO YOU HAVE A PREDEFINED DESIGN STYLE OR ARE YOU ABLE TO DESIGN BASED ON MY AESTHETIC ASPIRATIONS?

Some clients seek a particular Interior Designers services as way of achieving a particular predefined style – which in most cases the designer is well known for, whilst others prefer to work with a designer as a means to finding their own unique aesthetic.  

A reputable designer will be able offer both, catering to the individual client their own vision through various principles. At The White House we consider many factors when designing a space; with an emphasis on textiles, colour, function & ambience, we’ve developed a reputation for capturing the nuances of our clients needs and aspirations.

Five key questions to ask your interior designer
3. ARE YOU ABLE TO WORK TO MY BUDGET, WHICH IS… 

It is extremely important to approach design budgets with a realistic and transparent approach. Experienced designers are able to design spaces which meet budget requirements and will provide honest feedback from the beginning if a budget doesn’t align with the clients aspirations. 

An Interior Designer won’t be able to provide an exact figure for the project as a whole from the very beginning as it takes time to develop a design and to identify the specific associated costs. They will however be able to explain what is billable such as design fees, admin and project management as well as how they invoice and purchasing procedures.

Five key questions to ask your interior designer
4. HOW DOES YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN PROCESS WORK? 

Every interior design studio will have their own processes and structure and will be able to explain this in advance, clearly and concisely. Interior design is a process and takes time, anyone promising short time scales for deliveries should be approached with caution – it’s likely that the work produced will not be thorough. 

Good designers will be working with multiple clients in tandem and producing works catered to each individual client, managed effectively with specific studio time allocated to each client.

Five key questions to ask your interior designer
5. HOW MUCH INVOLVEMENT IS REQUIRED FROM ME? 

The purpose of paying for an Interior Designer is to outsource the time, knowledge and skills required to create a truly tailored, beautiful and functional space so make the most of the opportunity. 

Your Interior Designer should be happy to do everything possible for you, whilst encouraging any feedback and thoughts at key stages during the design process – to ensure their vision aligns with the project brief. As a client it is important to make time for meetings with your designer and to eliminate any distractions so that honest and thoughtful feedback can be used to progress designs in a timely manner.

Guest Columnist & Founder of The White House. Award-winning Interior Designer Charmaine White has an illustrious background in interior design

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Wendover welcomes Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion opening

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Today marks the opening of Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion in the historic market town of Wendover. Located in Buckinghamshire, it becomes the seventh site in the popular Bel & The Dragon group.

Located in the centre of Wendover, in the foothills of the Chilterns, the new country inn will emulate Bel & The Dragon’s distinctly cosy and classic manner and will be managed by Matt Coupland, an experienced General Manager.

Inside Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion Wendover

With 23 beautiful en suite bedrooms and an extensive selection of fine wine and British food, Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion will be a sought-after destination for weekday and weekend breaks. Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion is a historic grade II-listed coaching inn with stunning features dating back to 1669 and possibly earlier, with much of the original building still standing.

Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion has been sensitively restored this year, with the aim of providing a premium, contemporary English inn, with sophisticated charm and historic character and also offers alfresco dining with 160 covers in a beautifully created covered and heated patio area.

Dining at Bel & The Dragon Wendover

With an emphasis on provenance and quality, our team of talented chefs have created a menu full of modern adaptations of simple classics. Think Devonshire mussels in a cider and bacon broth to start, followed by sustainable Cornish fish and crayfish pie or salt-baked saddle of lamb with seasonal vegetables to share, as well as a range of daily specials.

The pudding menu will be full of theatre, including the Bel & The Dragon classic of a flaming Baked Alaska, served with salted caramel ice cream, providing a perfect end to any meal.

Wine at Bel & The Dragon

As with all Bel & The Dragon sites, Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion will offer an outstanding selection of wines at competitive prices. In addition, the comprehensive From the Cellar list includes some of the greatest vintages of the world’s most sought-after wines, and the use of the Coravin system allows guest to sample rare wines by the glass.

Word from the General Manager

Matt Coupland, who is originally from Lincoln, moved down to join Fuller’s eight years ago at The Paper Mill at Apsley Lock near Hemel Hempstead. After completing the Fuller’s Management Training Programme, and having acted as a holding manager at The Paper Mill, he moved to The Six Bells at Thame for his first general manager appointment. He subsequently moved to The Red Lion in Wendover and has played a key role in its transformation to a Bel & The Dragon.

Matt said: “This is a dream come true for me – it’s a fantastic site, in a great area, and Bel & The Dragon is an outstanding brand. I can’t wait to bring our fantastic menu and excellent wine list to the great and good of Wendover, and our stunning bedrooms to those who want to come and visit.

“I’m really looking forward to welcoming back locals and visitors alike and to working with the local neighbourhood to ensure Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion takes a place at the very heart of the community.”

Directions to Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion Wendover

Located in the centre of Wendover, in the foothills of the Chilterns, Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion is an easy commute from within Beds, Bucks & Herts.

Bel & The Dragon at The Red Lion address

9 High St, Wendover, Aylesbury HP22 6DU

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Homeowners in The Three Counties spend £13,000 to create the perfect home

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Homeowners in The Three Counties spend £13,000 to create the perfect home

A new study has found that the average homeowner in The Three Counties is willing to spend as much as £13,000 on special features to give their home added ‘wow factor’.

When it comes to adding special features to home, residents are willing to spend big, with 86 percent agreeing that they would pay more money for added extras. A large garden (47 percent) and a great view (39 percent) are the features most likely to be splurged on, with homeowners valuing outdoor space more than any other region in the country.

Homeowners in The Three Counties spend £13,000 to create the perfect home

Some are even willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure they get exactly what they want in their home, with one in 10 saying they would be willing to reduce all other household expenditure to be able to afford the upgrades they want. What’s more, over one in 20 admit to financially overstretching themselves in pursuit of the perfect home.

When considering moving to a new house, homeowners in The Three Counties are also happy to compromise on the overall size of a property in order to get the features they want. The study found that over three-quarters of residents would sacrifice square footage for certain features, with a large garden, an en suite, and a great view all considered more essential than space.

Top 10 Most Desirable Features in a Home

  1. Natural light
  2. Storage
  3. En-suite bathroom
  4. Large garden
  5. Garage
  6. Outdoor seating area
  7. A great view
  8. A quality front door
  9. Walk-in wardrobe
  10. Kitchen island

The survey, commissioned by Origin, the UK’s leading manufacturer of aluminum doors and windows, found that the most sought-after feature in homes in the East of England is ample amounts of natural light, with 60 percent of local homeowners agreeing that this is important to them. This is followed by storage (56 percent) and an en-suite bathroom (55 percent).

Homeowners in The Three Counties spend £13,000 to create the perfect home

Interestingly, homeowners in the area are less likely to compromise on the location of their home than the size or price, suggesting that location remains king. With the cost of homes rising year on year, it is no surprise that more than a quarter of Brits (26 percent) believe they are unlikely to ever afford a home with all the features they look for, no matter what sacrifices they make. Almost the same number (24 percent) claimed it is impossible to have a home with all desired features as one can never be truly satisfied.

Commenting on the findings, Property Consultant Alex Goldstein, said: “The results prove that people are often willing to pay a premium for the features that really matter to them. Having worked in the property sector for nearly 20 years, it is no surprise to me that natural light and storage take the top spots. However, we are also seeing new and emerging trends, like en-suite bathrooms and outdoor spaces, becoming far more important.

“Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, people are spending even more time in their homes and they have had to become multi-purpose – suitable for work, rest, and play. During the lockdown, people have had time to consider what they really want and need; be it designated workspaces, more accommodation for the children or a bigger garden. Once they have decided, they go the extra mile to get it, as they know they will get good use out of it and it will make the additional time spent in their home more enjoyable. An Englishman’s home is his castle, and, in his mind, he deserves all the comforts that go with it.”

What’s more, people are optimistic about how much value features can add to a home, with a great view expected to add up to 10 percent to the value of a home and natural light and outdoor seating both considered worthy of an eight percent increase. It is, therefore, no surprise that 15 percent of British homeowners intend to boost the value of their home by adding some extra ‘wow’ factor.

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New kitchen and bedroom showroom opens in Marlow

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New kitchen and bedroom showroom opens in Marlow

Kitchen manufacturer, Optiplan Kitchens, and bedroom manufacturer, Spaceslide, are hosting a special launch event to celebrate the opening of a new showroom in Marlow, which can be found in the converted 17th century cottage, Barmoor House, situated on Clay Lane.

Taking place on Saturday 25th January from 11am to 3pm, the launch event will provide guests with the opportunity to view the impressive range of kitchen and bedroom collections. In addition to being treated to a glass of fizz on arrival, at 11am and 2pm visitors will have the chance to listen to expert talks from the resident interior designer about the latest trends in interior design and gain an understanding of how these can be incorporated into the home.

New kitchen and bedroom showroom opens in Marlow

Visitors to the event will also have access to exclusive offers which include an extra 5% all kitchen furniture and an extra 10% off all bedroom furniture.

Situated at the entrance of the popular Notcutts Garden Centre in the village of Booker, just 1.5 miles northwest of Marlow, the showroom is now positioned in the recently-renovated cottage which previously stood as a local florist and grocery store.

New kitchen and bedroom showroom opens in Marlow

The ground floor of the cottage features five brand new Optiplan Kitchens’ collections, whilst upstairs is home to four new bedroom room sets displaying the latest fitted storage from Spaceslide. The displays showcase the vast array of sliding wardrobe door design options that can be created by varying the colour, finish, and size of the wardrobe doors.

Barry Beech, Showroom Manager, said, “Optiplan Kitchens has had a presence in Marlow for 12 years, during which we were located within the Notcutts Garden Centre. We made the decision to open our own space in the period cottage on the grounds of the garden centre in order to showcase both our brands to their full potential.

“We’re delighted to see the showroom come to life and we’d encourage anybody interested to pop down to our event to view the quality design and finish of both our kitchen and bedroom storage ranges.”
Optiplan Kitchens is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and retailers, selling high quality, handcrafted kitchens from a network of 14 showrooms across the country.

New kitchen and bedroom showroom opens in Marlow

Optiplan Kitchens Hemel Hempstead

Optiplan Kitchens Hemel Hempstead is located just 5-minutes’ drive from the town centre and 24 miles northwest of London. Extremely well-connected, it is easily accessible from a number of large towns including Hemel, Leverstock Green, Boxmoor, Harpenden, South Harrow, Welwyn Garden City, St Albans, Bovingdon, Berkhamsted, Amersham, Pinner, Stanmore, and Watford. Reach us by car in just 15 minutes from St. Albans and Watford, and less than 20 minutes from Luton.

Optiplan Kitchens Marlow

Optiplan Kitchens Marlow is a short 10-minute drive (3.5 miles) from High Wycombe. The showroom can be found on Clay Lane just off junction 4 of the M40. It was opened in 2008 and has been creating kitchens in High Wycombe and beyond ever since.

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