Ask the expert: Schwarz Design NZ
Ask the expert: Schwarz Design

Ask the expert: Schwarz Design

Schwarz Design interior designers Juliette and Rose Schwarz answer all of your burning questions on how to get the most out of an interior designer.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

How does someone find a designer?

Don’t be afraid to approach designers who have inspired you through a magazine or online article. Perhaps it is their style or approach to design that has resonated with you?

Word of mouth [is good too]. As a design practice that has been transforming/creating enriched home interiors through spatial and interior design for many years, our mantra is still ‘You are only as good as the last home completed', so best advice is talking to friends, colleagues and industry insiders who can recommend or have worked with designers before.

How do you know if a designer is the right fit?

The first client meeting after approaching the designer is very important. It is an opportunity for the designer to understand the client's wants, needs, dreams and wishes. The client is able to establish the designer’s processes and unique approach which will then be tailored to their brief.

Ask questions. This will give you an indication of the designer's intuition and style and how this fits your vision. Finding out what services are on offer and how they structure the design process can also be helpful in the decision-making process.

Preparation. This will help you convey your dream and ensure the process is easy and fun. This may be a folder of images that inspire you, or something that conveys the essence of you.

Interior designers Juliette and Rose Schwarz.

How do you guide a client through the process?

Each project—whether a new build or renovation—is bespoke, therefore the processes which we follow are customised to each client and project. During any design process we always remain open to change, challenge design possibilities, and invite client feedback and involvement.

When do you discuss fees and what's your fee structure?

Establishing a budget is a fundamental. A bespoke fee proposal is created once we have established the Client Brief and Scope of Work.

What services do you offer?

We are a spatial and interior design studio offering a full design service from conception, planning and specifying to construction, implementation and styling for any residential project around New Zealand and internationally.

We additionally offer procurement services for both hard and soft fit-outs, where we utilise our long-standing industry connections to obtain advantageous savings.

We work alongside your architect and trades, in the knowledge that great design results from a collaboration of client, architect, designer, landscaper and trades. We have completed installations on luxury residences at sea, lodges, and some of New Zealand's most luxurious and monumental homes.

What’s your top tip for someone who has not worked with a designer before?

Ask questions and do your research. For example, social media can give you an instant insight into the designer's practice and further investigation of their website should reveal a more complete picture of their design capabilities. A comprehensive website that the designer updates regularly says a lot about the design practice.

PS: Do not expect instant answers and solutions, design is a process that requires time for the magic to happen!

What do you recommend clients splurge on versus save?

Timeless design pieces and art that you love.

If you do intend to be living in your home long term, ensuring the furniture is tailored to fit within the space is always a priority.

As the client, you can save a lot of money by using your chosen designer's industry knowledge. We are there to guide the client in their decisions, including presenting them with multiple options beyond what they may have considered, catering to the individual's requirements.

What's an interior trick you often use?

We custom design and manufacture cabinetry including for kitchen and bathrooms, plus furniture to suit your space, plus we work in with any existing furniture you may want to include. This ensures there is a space for everything, and the interior fit-out works seamlessly with the furniture selection.

Also, using a dark colour in a windowless confined space can make it feel mysterious, moody and calming; trying to make these spaces feel bright with a lot of white paint is never successful.

Any other insider tips for getting the most out of an interior designer?

Andree Putman stated: ‘Great design is the perfect balance between discipline and revolt’; juxtaposition of objects and even styles can keep a space feeling fresh and interesting.

The French barn aesthetic of the interiors in this lodge in Matakana, by Schwarz Design, balances elegance with liveable luxury.
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