Hiring an interior designer: How does it work?
All designers work differently. At Elizabeth Carter Interior Design, the first step is your initial phone conversation with us. This will help us evaluate your project, to determine if we may be of help. We then offer a no-charge initial design consultation. In this meeting we will walk through your home or business with you, and speak with you about the specific needs of your interior design or construction project. No actual design is done in this meeting, just an evaluation of the project scope and your particular needs and timing. Elizabeth will answer any questions that you may have about the process, fees, experience, timing and budget. After this meeting, if you feel comfortable moving forward with Elizabeth Carter Interior Design, a design fee proposal will be sent to you for your review.

How do we get started, and what is next?
Once a contract is signed, but before beginning work, you go through a detailed questionnaire that helps us get to know you, your goals, style and expectations. We then photograph the residence or business, and take formal measurements. From there, we prepare a schematic design presentation, showing you our initial drawings, proposed material selections, palette options, and concepts. After design approval of that stage, we work with you on narrowing down the final selections, pricing, and implementing the design. This may be in the form of construction documents, finishes & furnishings quotes and the selection of contractors - all depending on your needs.

How do you charge?
Hiring an interior designer is an investment in saving you time and acquiring the peace of mind that your job is being executed professionally, in a cost-effective manner and to your liking.

Currently, there is not one industry standard for how interior designers bill for their professional time, but there are three common formats - Hourly, Flat Fee and Cost Plus.

We maintain competitive design fees. Our design fee will typically be an hourly rate with a total project estimate, based upon the size and scope of your project and our design experience.

Do I have to hire you to do my entire space or can I just get a consultation?
Elizabeth Carter Interior Design can provide as much or as little guidance as you may be needing. If you simply need assistance in selecting paint colors or someone to discuss your vision with, we certainly provide only that service. But if you are looking for assistance with your entire project, (space planning, finish & furnishing selections, lighting & plumbing selections, construction documents, construction administration, etc.) we provide a comprehensive package, as well.

Do we need to use your contractor, architect or suppliers?
No. We will work with your builder, or tradespeople. We are more than happy to refer you to those who we have relationships with, but the choice is yours. You will not pay us for construction related labor. That is between you and your contractor. Elizabeth Carter Interior Design does not sell products or other's services. We assist you in finding the best fit and options for you, while assisting in obtaining quotes on your behalf. But, all transactions will be made between you and that vendor.

What is your style?
We don't have a style that we stick to. While we design traditional, contemporary, ethnic or anything in between, our client's preferences, the architecture of the home or building and its natural surroundings, and also the budget will dictate the interior's style direction. Elizabeth Carter Interior Design's goal is to provide a solution to your design needs that reflects you or your company brand. We believe that you hire us to achieve your goal, while keeping you from making design mistakes, not to impose our person taste upon you. The objective should always be to develop a space that is aesthetically pleasing and functional.

What is the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator?
Interior decorators typically focus on the decorative elements of a home, such as: paint color, furniture, decor, window treatments, bedding etc.

Interior designers do this, and more. In Louisiana, law states that to call yourself an "Interior Designer" you would have had formal training in the form of a college degree in the field of Interior Design. Then, there is an internship period before a stringent exam is taken to determine proficiency. Once this exam is passed, the designer can then apply to the state for their license, in order to be given the title of "Registered Interior Designer". Yearly continuing education is required in order to maintain this license. An Interior Designer should have knowledge of interior architecture principals, drafting skills, general building code guidelines and more. It is against Louisiana law for a non-licensed person to perform design services in a commercial facility.

I have a remodeling project but I'm not sure if I need an interior designer or an architect?
This is a common question. An interior designer has the skills and professional education to design and draft new space plans, whether reconfiguring an existing interior space or adding square footage to a home. (This is called Space Planning.) They also develop lighting and electrical plans, select all interior finishes such as flooring, countertops, tile, paint colors, wall and window treatments, as well as specify plumbing, appliances, cabinetry and furnishings.

If your project involves changing structural load bearing walls, or adjusting the exterior walls, an architect and/or structural engineer will need to be part of your team. They'll provide the necessary drawings and structural calculations required by your local building department to ensure your safety and welfare, as well as pass building code inspections.

What geographical area do you work in?
While I have corporate clients that have locations in several states that we work with, the majority of our work is in South Louisiana.