Known for its exciting cuisine, tropical weather and rich cultural history, and more recently as the home of a few design house headquarters, Durban Kwazulu-Natal is fast becoming the design hot-spot of South Africa. And without exception, interior designers and decorators in Durban are establishing themselves as major players on the South African design stage. If you're looking for a qualified and experienced design professional who has a passion and appetite for innovative design, rest assured that there isn't shortage of those in Durban.
Taking on a home renovation can be intimidating at times. Most homeowners have a vision for their space but are often overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of tasks to do before getting to their desired outcome. Other homeowners on the other hand, actually enjoy the thrill of marking off duties on their to-do list as they live out their dreams of being on a home makeover show.
Whether you require and interior designer to handle responsibilities like coordinating contractors, overseeing a build or submitting building plans to the city council, or, you need the eye of an interior decorator to cast the vision for your color scheme or pick out furniture and accessories for your space, hiring a design professional is always a good idea.
Whether you opt to go with a Durban based interior designer to overhaul your space or an interior decorator to revive it, or hire a kitchen planner or a landscape architect there are a few things to bear in mind while courting candidates. Every partnership must begin with a candid and forthright conversation in order to align your visions.
It might seem a little crass to lead with this but since much of the project's' success depends on establishing and sticking to a budget, you’ll need get over the awkwardness and tackle it head on. It’s important to have already determined what your budget for the project is and how much you are willing to go over, if at all. Thereafter enquire about their consultation fee, design fee, and what their fee structure is like – do they require 50% upfront and the balance on completion or do they prefer to receive payments as and when certain design elements are completed?
The next point to verify is if they have a service level agreement (SLA)? Not to be mistaken with a contract, an SLA is a standard agreement between you and the designer or decorator which sets clear limits to responsibilities and liabilities and provides indemnification of the service provider by the you against claims from vendors or contractors. An SLA also outlines the level of service that will be provided, for example, hours of availability, overtime charges etc. Having an SLA helps maintain the relationship between you and your design creative as the project rolls out.
Depending on their location or where they are based, you want to find out if the interior designers and architects operate in your area and if you live just outside of Durban, it’s crucial to your bottom line to find out if they are prepared to travel and how the cost for that travel will be billed.
While we all know a shiny resume doesn’t always guarantee a professional outcome, this question (apart from delivering crucial information about their background) gives the candidate a chance to talk about themselves and consequently, it also gives you an opportunity to read between the lines, get a gage on their personality and identify their work ethic.
While looking at a folder of beautiful images is useful, it’s valuable to also enquire about any current projects they are working on and whether you’d be able to do a site visit with them. This way you’re able to see them in their work element and judge if their productivity style is one you can work with. You could even go as far as chatting to homeowners or contractors to find out what it’s like working with that designer. If that isn’t possible, you can also ask for client references to help you make your decision.
While an interior decorator doesn’t need formal certification to work their magic in Durban, an interior designer is required by law to be registered with the SACAP. Note that this certification applies not only to architects and contractors, but since it’s legislation in 2006, any professionals providing architectural services of any kind are mandated to be registered. So, if you’re planning to add on an extra room, knock down a kitchen wall or convert your attic into an en suite, this certification is essential.
There are many components associated with revamping a space – floor plans, renderings, shopping trips and styling to name a few. It’s critical to establish with whom these various responsibilities lie. Depending on how involved you want to be, it's useful to ask if the designer or decorator will be handling all aspects of the remodel or just some and if so, which ones.
Having a clear understanding of expectations with regards to service provision is key to ensuring successful install. And it all starts with finding the right person for the job.