When Custom-Designed Is Best

Often times clients come to us with a request that cannot be fulfilled by simply going online to a furniture vendor or browsing a builder’s catalogue of house plans. Sometimes clients’ needs call for a customized, well-thought-out design to solve there particular need.

In interior design, clients choose to consult a designer when “store-bought” or standard solutions are not measuring up. Perhaps a living room is challenging based on a unique size or shape, or a storage need they have cannot be adequately addressed with cabinets on the current market. Sometimes it is simply that a client cannot find the right piece that completes a room–the perfect sofa or side table.  Many fruitless hours can be spent in a client’s search for the right thing. In fact, we have had clients spend 18 hours or even 18 months looking for a piece when a custom solution would take a fraction of the time.

A good example of this is our recent client who had a large bay window in their kitchen. They wanted an upholstered bench on one side so they could tuck their breakfast table into the window nook. They simply could not find an upholstery bench that fit the dimensions of the room correctly, so, custom design TO THE RESCUE!

First, we drew up a fitted custom bench and had it priced by a cabinet maker. Then we designed cushions to go on top. We selected beautiful and durable fabrics for the cushions and had the project priced by one of our trusted upholstery workrooms. The total cost was perhaps more than a store-bought bench, however considering that there was nothing that worked with the shape of the space and that the client would’ve had to give up their cohesive design idea, the custom solution was certainly best. In the end, the clients got an incredibly comfortable kitchen nook for long lazy brunches that tied in perfectly with the design of the adjacent living room.

Sometimes it is worth investing in the right solution rather than living with a situation that doesn’t work.

Another example of when customizing is the best choice is when it comes to clients’ pets! We all love our pets, and we want them to live with us in the best way possible, keeping the mess to a minimum and making their lives with us as happy as possible. To that end, we have designed many a “cat wall” — a wall of custom shelves that repeat up a wall in a staggered pattern with plenty of bells on springs or scratching posts to engage the animal and provide a source of entertainment to the pet owner.  For a custom cat wall, we often design a custom built-in cabinet that can house a litter box with easy access for the kitty, storage for the litter and liners and a discreet drawer that pulls out to allow the box to easily be cleaned.  

Investing in a custom solution with the right design can keep your home feeling clean and stylish. You need not sacrifice your chic home for ugly, clunky pet solutions.

As for architecture, when clients reach out to us it is often because they own a piece of land or a city lot where they want to build a genuinely custom house. They are hoping to live in a home designed to take in the views and enjoy the natural light and relaxing breezes, not conform to a standard, box-style house typical in modern large-scale developments. Some may find it surprising that engaging an architect is not always as expensive as people commonly assume. Investing in a thoughtful and distinctively designed home can increase your home value while increasing the enjoyment you get from your life in the home.

A truly custom home will also allow you to make choices for yourself about the flooring material, windows, roof and layout conducive to your lifestyle, which is always preferable to buying a mass-produced plan from a builder.  Sometimes builders will promote that they have “custom options,” but that typically means that only a few minor design selections, such as countertops or cabinets are available from which you may choose–a far cry for a truly custom home.

Sometimes folks who are doing a renovation to an existing home will reach out to an architect. Perhaps the clients wants to raise the ceilings in their home or add a sliding door wall for easy access to the outside. These major, structural changes require a custom plan to make sure that they can be successfully and correctly achieved.

When you have a home project you are considering, don’t be shy to reach out to a professional to get advice. Often there is no charge for an initial consultation, and a professional should be able to give you a lot of valuable information to save you time and money, even with just one conversation.

There is no cost in getting expert advice–and often even an estimate of what design cost would be to achieve your desired home design goals. The investment in your quality of life, along with the efficiencies and peace of mind that come with choosing to work with a professional can be immensely beneficial, in the short- as well as the long-term.


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