Updated: Aug 5, 2019
The interior design process plays out before our eyes in one thirty-minute segment on HGTV. We’ve watched as Chip and Joanna Gaines get to know a client, finding the perfect house for them to purchase and completely transform it. The project ends with an emotional reveal after the adorable duo scurries to place finishing touches on the home just before the clients arrive. We’re entertained by Chip’s antics, transfixed by Joanna’s effortless beauty and amazing talent not to mention having our hearts warmed by their incredible marriage. Sure there are a few challenges along the way, but everyone takes it in stride and the project quickly concludes with perfection.
You, on the other hand just found the designer that’s right for you. You’ve spoken on the phone with plans to meet in person, but you can’t help but wonder about the timeline she mentioned to complete your project. She’s talking months!
So, why does your interior designer take so long?
The truth is, the “reality” in reality television is a misnomer. It’s simply not the way the real world works. Most designers don’t have a dedicated construction crew, a production crew, a slew of assistants and most importantly, sources who will make sure that their order is THE highest priority due to the millions of eyeballs watching the delivery on HGTV. If there is a custom piece to be made, while designers may have an amazing woodworker, we don't have the Gaines' dedicated Clint Harp ready and available to start right away.
If only every interior designer could have a dedicated carpenter like Fixer Upper's Clint Harp...
Most interior designers do have a trusted group of tradespeople, sources, workrooms and installers whom they rely on to get the job done as expected. The difference between the reality of your interior designer and those on TV is that your designer's team of professionals work on other projects and are not solely dedicated to your designer throughout your project.
So, realistically, how long should your project take?
The answer is, it depends. Construction is the major X factor in any project. If you are doing a renovation, as you know from HGTV, there are electrical or plumbing issues that may arise as walls come down. Sometimes, a slab of granite gets broken during installation or the wrong tile is delivered.
When you are ordering custom home furnishings, portions of or all of the items are being created especially for you. For instance, in case goods and upholstery you may be selecting a special finish which must be hand-applied and the process does not begin until your order is placed. These pieces can take eight to ten weeks to receive from the time the order is placed. With custom draperies, the fabric you’ve been swooning over on Pinterest may not be in stock and may take several weeks to ship to the workroom for fabrication. The holidays can also add delays, and if you would like custom home furnishings installed by Thanksgiving and Christmas, you should get the ball rolling with your designer by midsummer. You will be competing with others who want the same installation time frame.
Anna Kucera, Gracious Living by Design custom drapery with box-pleated leading edge and tassel trim
So, how do you handle this long time line with your interior designer?