Behind the Design: Design House Interiors
Design Firm Spotlight: Design House Interiors – Wallingford, CT
How did you get to where you are today?
Design House Interiors is owned and operated by three partners. Each partner does interior design, however, we all have expertise in different areas.
Judi Granucci is an expert in all things window treatments and soft goods. She started her career doing window design exclusively and as clients would ask for her input on their interiors, her business evolved to include all phases of interior design.
Ramona Eldridge is a certified kitchen and bath designer and is an expert in all phases of kitchen and bath design and renovations. She is also a professional member of ASID.
Jennifer Napolitano is a certified real estate stager and interior designer. She began her career doing home staging and redesign and soon found herself helping clients with all phases of interior design.
The three partners are a perfect complement to each other. We work on all of our projects together and love to bounce ideas around and watch them blossom. Our clients love having the input of three design experts at their consultations.
Design House Interiors is a full service firm specializing in both residential and commercial spaces. What’s the most exciting part about starting a new project?
The possibilities! When we start a project, we always bounce around the “wishlist”, you know, the ideas that come from an endless budget. From there, we narrow it down to what the budget will allow keeping those original ideas in mind.
How do you prepare for an in-house consultation?
We love to do our presentations. We always set the stage with our design boards, artwork, accessories, lighting, fabric samples…you name it; anything that will support our vision and make the client fall in love. This works like a charm.
What is your process for guiding color selections and specifying color palettes?
We always look to the client for color inspiration, may it be from a piece of artwork they love, an adjoining room, or even their favorite outfit. Anything the client loves can become a palette they are guaranteed to love.
Who are some of your favorite local Wallingford and Connecticut vendors that you work with?
We trust The Sewing Loft of Avon for all of our custom window treatments and other soft good needs. They are fabulous to work with as they understand our vision and always keep us apprised of all of the latest products and new window design styles. Porter Preston is terrific for window hardware and shades in many styles and finishes. For custom furniture pieces, we turn to Accolade Furniture in Wallingford. If we can dream it, he can build it.
How does designing make you feel?
There is no greater feeling than that of a big reveal! We never let our clients watch as we put together a room on installation day. We send them out and then get busy! We schedule everything for the same day…window treatment installation, furniture delivery, lighting, art, etc. It all happens in one day – this way, the client leaves their home the way they’ve always known it, and returns to an entirely new space! Oh yes, there have been tears of joy from both us and them!
What is your business mantra?
We love to tell our clients to “Imagine Fabulous” and we tell ourselves “Make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering”. Need we say more?!
How much time do you spend on branding, social media and marketing your business?
Since the three partners have come together, we have been in the process of rebranding ourselves. Our goal is to help prospective clients understand that with Design House Interiors, you are hiring a qualified firm and not just a single Designer. We have a bi-monthly column in two local magazines called “Things we Love”. In the full page article, each partner writes about something that is inspiring to them. We have found this to be a great way to feature our ideas and inspire prospective clients. Also, we add social media posts daily and have seen significant growth in our exposure since doing so. However, our finest form of marketing requires little effort on our part and is most effective at bringing in new clients; and that is word of mouth and referrals which are always plentiful!
Do you tune into any webinars, podcasts or other resources to receive business tips specifically for interior designers?
Occasionally we will tune in to our vendors’ workshops to help keep ourselves updated on the latest and greatest products, and of course we are always interested in learning about any procedures that will streamline our processes…after all, knowledge is power!
How do you bill your clients?
When a client approaches us, the first thing we do is listen very closely to what their home goals are. We often offer a complimentary consultation at the property to gather all the information we need to write a comprehensive proposal. Our proposals includes a write up of all the homeowners’ wants and the hours associated with achieving these goals. We charge only one design fee and in return, the client receives a master plan of their design including layouts, furnishing choices, window selections, etc., in one master plan for one flat fee. All of the items we choose for the design are provided by Design House Interiors including furnishings, window treatments, artwork and accessories. If the client loves what we are showing them and chooses to move forward, we ask for a 60% deposit to start the ordering process and the final 40% is due on installation day.
Who manages your bookkeeping and accounting?
We have a part-time bookkeeper, and of course, Ivy helps keep our accounts orderly and up to date!
How do you prepare for market? What are your next steps post-market?
It is always important for us to make the most of a market visit, as time is limited and there is so much to see! We plan our trip by visiting our current vendors first, and then, of course leave time to see what is new. We also try to find new vendors based on our needs and current market trends. Each day, we make note of what we loved best and need to follow up on. When we return, we are always surprised by the amount of literature we’ve taken home. In the Fall, we even had to pay extra for our luggage just because there was so much we couldn’t live without! During the following weeks, we have fun incorporating what’s new into our current projects, opening up new trade lines and placing orders!
Why did you join Ivy?
We were looking for a platform with an easy learning curve for all our project management and Ivy was perfect. Ivy pulls together all of the creative, administrative and bookkeeping needs for every client…quite frankly, finding Ivy was a Godsend for us!
How has Ivy helped streamline your workflow?
How hasn’t it?! Everything in one place at your fingertips? It doesn’t get much more streamlined than that!
What’s an Ivy feature you can’t live without?
We love the ability to put all of the product information in one place and send a purchase order with one click!
Are you an interior designer in search of an easy interior design software and project management tool to run your business? Learn more about Ivy here.