FAQ’s – InHouse Design Studio
1. How long does the design process usually take?
Depending on your availability, how quickly you make decisions, the complexity of the project and the number of projects I have underway, the design stage of the project can take six weeks or more from the first meeting at my studio.
2. Once we decide to proceed with a specific design how long does it take until we receive the goods or they are installed?
Once you approve the final design and the requested deposit is received, it often takes a couple of months until the project is actually installed. Of course, timing varies depending upon contractor availability. If there is an available opening that would allow me to expedite the process, I will try to take advantage of the opportunity.
3. Are you a manufacturer/fabricator as well as a designer?
I am a designer, not a manufacturer or fabricator. I have a professional relationship with several independent cabinet makers with whom I have worked during the last two decades, and they consistently provide competitive bids for my designs. My designs are highly specialized, and I find that not all cabinet makers/fabricators understand their complexity and there is a steep learning curve. It is important to work with experienced craftspeople I respect and trust. “My” fabricators understand my work and my expectations and consistently provide me and my clients with high quality products and service. The bottom line is that I can count on them to see a project through to everyone’s satisfaction.
4. Do you only work in wood?
No, my designs can incorporate plastic laminate (e.g. “Formica”), glass, stone and metal to name a few material options. I also welcome working with new products/materials since it provides me with new ideas and experiences, which can be incorporated into future designs.
5. Are your products composed of particle board?
I never specify particle board for our products. My designs specify wood veneers and solids in the construction of furniture and cabinetry. When the cabinet makers use veneers, they are most often laminated over plywood for durability (e.g. “maple veneer ply”). When I specify a painted surface rather than a stained finish, the cabinet makers occasionally use medium density fiberboard (“MDF”), which is less likely to warp and takes paint very well.
6. Are your products “green”?
I usually specify FSC* certified wood for my designs and ask my cabinet makers to source the components locally, if possible. The finishes on “my” furniture and cabinetry are resilient yet non-toxic and meet all environmental standards of the State of California. If there are additional green initiatives that can be taken which are of value to the client, I will do my best to go the extra environmental mile.
(*FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.)
7. We live outside your California service areas. Can InHouse help us?
Although I primarily work with clients in the San Francisco Bay Area or the northern California coastal communities near Sea Ranch, there are ways I can assist those who reside elsewhere.
- If you are working with an interior designer, I can provide custom furniture and cabinetry solutions that s/he will help implement. My designs will be based upon information supplied by your design professional related to the room, its dimensions, and an aesthetic direction, among other considerations. The designer will also take charge of any delivery, installation and trouble-shooting which may be involved in the process.
- If you have an existing relationship with a cabinet maker/contractor, I can act as a design consultant, charging you on an hourly basis for my expertise and drawings, which you, in turn, will execute with your cabinet makers’ assistance. A competent cabinet maker should be able to take my drawings and build out the designs. Of course, I am always available for consultation during the fabrication and installation process.
- You can arrange for me to visit the site, meet with you and oversee the project’s design and implementation. This option entails a per diem charge and travel costs and possibly other costs, which are entertained on a case-by-case basis.
8. Do you design only home offices?
No, I design furniture for almost any space in your home. I have a degree in Interior Architecture, and I have designed: entertainment centers, fireplace surrounds, bedroom sets, dining tables and sideboards, kitchens and bathrooms, etc.
9. I am hesitant to make a large investment in my current home, since I may be relocating in the near future. Can you design furniture I can take with me if I move?
My specialty is designing furniture that is inherently modular in nature. I often take into account a client’s potential relocation and factor that into the design so that the furniture “makes sense” when configured differently in a new room/space.
10. Can you help with lighting, electric, and floor and window coverings?
Yes, as an Interior Designer with a degree in Interior Architecture, I am trained in those areas and have assisted many clients with full interior design services, which covers those areas and more.
11. What other services does InHouse provide?
InHouse provides a full range of design services including: color consultation, project management for renovations (acting as the owners’ rep), interior design including purchasing of non-InHouse furniture from wholesale design sources on behalf of my clients, and furniture plans/layouts, See question 10, above for additional information.
12. What kind of warranty is there on the furniture and cabinetry you have built for your clients?
The cabinet makers I use guarantee their product to be free from defects for one year from delivery and/or installation. During this time they will repair or replace, at their option, the defective merchandise.
13. Why does InHouse emphasize ergonomics in its design work?
I consider ergonomics in all of my design solutions. Whether it be the height of a counter in a custom designed kitchen or the addition of an articulating keyboard tray in a home office, I try to ensure that my designs work with the body and not against it. Home offices, like commercial offices, provide numerous opportunities for incorporating sound ergonomic design solutions into a design. Factoring good ergonomics into my work makes perfect sense since it contributes to the overall long-term health of my clients.
14. Do your designs reflect any particular aesthetic style?
No, my design skills are quite extensive; I produce what my clients want. Since I am based in the Bay Area where a clean, contemporary aesthetic prevails, you will find many of my designs reflect this perspective. However, I can match any particular style, from traditional to deco, craftsman or midcentury modern. A quick look at my portfolio will give you an idea of the range of styles inherent in my work.
15. I want InHouse to design and build furniture that resembles furniture I already own (or similar to cabinets that are already built into my home). Can you replicate the “look” of the original pieces?
Usually the answer is Yes. See question #14, above.
16. What is your background and how long have you been designing furniture, custom cabinetry and practicing interior design?
I have been a self employed Interior Designer for over twenty years. In 1990, I returned to school for a BFA in Interior Architecture from the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts). In 1999, I was honored with the designation “Recent Graduate of Distinction.” Prior to Interior Design, I practiced City Planning. (I hold two Masters Degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, one in City Planning and one in Social Work). For fifteen years I ran non-profit housing development corporations before deciding to follow my heart and enter the field of design.
After graduating from CCAC, my first design job was with Gary Hutton Design in San Francisco. This position provided me with an invaluable introduction to the San Francisco design community and the business of design. In 1995, I founded InHouse Furniture & Design, a furniture and design store in San Francisco for quality home office furniture. In 2001, this retail endeavor evolved into InHouse Design Studio, a venue for custom furniture and cabinetry design with a specialty in home offices, media rooms and entertainment centers, home libraries and other specialized residential environments.
Due to client demand, I have provided an even broader range of interior design services during the last decade. These endeavors include the design of custom kitchens and bathrooms, color consultations, the creation of furniture plans, furniture acquisition, the management of project renovations and other interior design initiatives.
I have also designed a line of furniture for Directions, a prominent manufacturer of contemporary residential furnishings.
My work has been featured in numerous publications including: The New York Times, Fine Home Building, Sunset Magazine, California Home and Design, This Old House Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, Furniture Today, “New Workplaces for New Workstyles” and “Practical Home office Solutions” (both by Marilyn Zelinsky) and “The Organized Home” (by Leslie Clagett). My work is prominently featured in the design website HOUZZ and I have been awarded BEST OF HOUZZ in 2012 for Design and in 2014 for (customer) Service.
As a nationally recognized expert on home office design, I speak frequently on the contemporary home office. My design solutions reflect the ever-evolving interests of my clients, incorporating the latest technology and sometimes specialized hobbies or avocations.
17. I am already working with an interior designer and/or architect but s/he is not strong on cabinetry or home office design. Can you help me?
Yes. On occasion, people who are already working with a designer or an architect on a project turn to InHouse for the design of cabinetry or furniture for specialized spaces in their homes. These projects can include home offices, wall beds, entertainment centers or fireplace surrounds (to name a few). Clients appreciate that I have extensive experience with the integration of ergonomics and technology into my designs. I am viewed as an outside consultant who provides a very specific design service that is either not offered or cannot be addressed as well by their own design team. I deal directly with the Client, with occasional input from their designer to ensure a consistent aesthetic vision for the home. My contract and my relationship are with the Client (not the designer) as is my communication and billing. I have found this to be the most efficient way to ensure a successful project.
Interior Designers and Architects who represent clients from outside the Bay Area can assist me with addressing their Client’s design needs in another manner (see question #7). They can act as their Client’s design representative, communicating their comprehensive design needs and the space’s relevant dimensions and idiosyncrasies so that I can design a solution that truly meets the Client’s expectations and accurately reflects the environment. They can also assist with the receipt and placement of any furniture I design and/or bring in a local cabinet maker/contractor to build out my designs, while ensuring adherence to the original design and undertaking quality control initiatives.
18. Do you have a catalog?
No, I do not have a catalog. The InHouse website serves as my catalogue/portfolio. Everything I design and produce is custom; nothing is standard or stocked. Therefore, a catalog is not relevant to my business model.
19. I am in a rush; do you have any pieces in stock?
No, all my designs are custom. Individual pieces can takes a minimum of seven to eight weeks to manufacture. Timing will depend upon my availability, the length of the design process and the availability of the cabinet makers.