Fifth Avenue Solutions

Design your world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Working with a Designer to achieve your dreams and goals for your home can be a lot of fun. However, it can also be the source of many questions. Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions about working with a Designer and with Fifth Avenue Solutions.

  • What is the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator?

    Answer: Interior decorators typically focus on the decorative elements of a home, such as: paint color, furniture, décor, window treatments, bedding etc. Interior designers do this, and more requiring formal program training. An interior designer has knowledge of interior architecture principals, drafting, general building code guidelines and more. Drawing on this training allows interior designers to create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also promote the health and safety of the public.

  • What experience do you have?

    Answer: Jennifer McKune has been formally educated in interior design, including specialized training in Kitchen and Bath design. Her extensive travel around Europe and the US enhances her ability to create spaces that draw from all areas of design. She also holds a Masters in Business, supporting her unique ability to understand and appreciate the aesthetic and financial aspects of each project to create a space that is both unique and within budget.

  • How do I know if I need an interior designer?

    Answer: If you have ideas about how you would like your home or business to look and function, but are unsure of the best way to bring those ideas into reality – an interior designer can help. Limits on skills or time can be facilitated with an experienced designer who can use pictures, surveys, and behavioral patterns to help you wade through the myriad of choices and define a space that is perfect for you.

  • Why hire an interior designer?

    Answer: Although the professional fees of an interior designer can seem expensive, the knowledge, expertise, and guidance they provide are invaluable in the prevention of costly mistakes and improves the way you live for a fraction of the cost of your property. Designer’s experience working with architects and contractors, as well as their established contacts with skilled trades people and supervision of projects, ensures a smooth and timely project. A talented designer can also help you make the most of what you already own, and research additional elements you may need, to help you define and enhance your distinct style.

  • Why pay for a designer when some retail and builder stores offer “free design assistance?”

    Answer: While it is true that many retail establishments may offer “free” advice and assistance, it is also true that although the advice they offer you is “free,” they definitely are not working for “free” and their primary allegiance and obligation is to their employer. This means that you will be receiving advice based on the products that are sold via that retailer, and not necessarily the products that best suit your needs. This often results in predictable selections that could be more expensive than a custom design that reflects your individual personality and needs.

  • What is the meaning of "To The Trade"?

    Answer: The phrase "To the Trade" means that Design Centers or showrooms distribute their products exclusively through the services of interior design professionals, rather then selling directly to the public.

  • I have never worked with an interior designer before. How does your firm work?

    Answer: Fifth Avenue Solutions, LLC provides complete interior design, organization, and art consultation services. Whether your goals are maximum value creation for sale or resale purposes, a highly customized and specific design, or something in-between we are committed to creating an exceptional solution and experience. Be it a one-time consultation or extensive interior project, our expertise can be used for small or large projects alike.

  • What will our project cost?

    Answer: The total cost of a project depends on a variety of aspects and the finish level you select. Our professional fees are generally based off the scope of work, and we charge a simple flat design fee when possible. However, smaller jobs may be billed at an hourly rate depending on the scope of work. We also provide a-la-carte services to add flexibility where needed.

    The design fee covers such items as:

    • Schematics, space planning, lighting design, renderings, working drawings and finish selections of new materials
    • Design of custom window and bedding treatments, shades or blinds
    • Preparation of estimates and purchasing
    • Coordination with contractors, architects and installers
    • Subsequent consultations with you and suppliers
    • Researching sources for materials or products
    • Project participation and overseeing installations
  • Why is there a design fee and product procurement fee?

    Answer: The design fee is for design concepts, solutions to the problems, and advice on any purchases. When a product is ordered through the designer, there is a great deal of time spent on producing purchase orders, ordering cuttings of fabrics, and wall-coverings from current stock for approval.

    Additionally, time is spent on coordinating deliveries and generally ensuring that the whole process runs smoothly until the item is delivered to the client. The procurement fee covers this entire process and assures the clients’ peace of mind. In addition, to having insider access to products you still save with designer discounts and are typically not subject to full retail costs.

  • Do I have to make purchases through you?

    Answer: No. You are welcome to make any purchases on your own. Most clients however, do purchase through us because of the discount we pass along.

  • But what about our budget?

    Answer: Everyone has a budget. Whether this is a very small or very large number, there are usually numerous opportunities for design solutions. Fifth Avenue Solutions works with you to not only define this number, if necessary, but also create a unique space within it that meets your needs and desires to the greatest extent possible. Whether re-designing a space utilizing existing furniture and accessories through space planning and arrangement, or creating a new space through structural or decorative changes, we work with you to create the most optimal solution within your budget.

  • Do we have to use your contractor or architect?

    Answer: No. We will work with your builder, and/or tradespeople. We are also more than happy to refer you to those trades as well if needed. You will not pay us for construction related labor; that is between you and your contractor.

  • What can I expect at the first meeting?

    Answer: All designers work differently, but the first meeting typically serves as a getting-to-know-you session. A free phone conversation about your needs will help them evaluate your project and determine if they can help.

    At Fifth Avenue Solutions we offer an in-person follow-up consultation where for a small fee we will walk through your home or business with you, and discuss the specific needs of your project. No formal design is done in this meeting, just an evaluation of the project scope, and your needs and timing. You can also review our portfolio, and ask questions. After this meeting, a design fee proposal will be sent for your review.

  • What can I expect after the first meeting?

    Answer: After meeting we will send out a design fee proposal for your review. When you are ready to move forward, we will schedule a time to meet at the site of your project – if possible - to begin our professional relationship and the design process. Typically lasting one to two hours, this meeting will include the following:

    • Letter of Agreement for review and signing
    • Measuring and photographing of areas to be designed
    • Creation of a room-by-room list of necessary construction, furniture, colors and accessory needs
    • Listing of your existing materials that will not be changed, or will be included in the final design
  • What are the next steps?

    Answer: Once the project details have been collected and the agreement signed, the following steps usually take place*:

    *Events based on applicability to your individual project and may not all be necessary.

    • Approval of list items (both to be purchased and existing).
    • Design and drawing of floor plans showing new furniture with sizes; design custom pieces. Approval of plans.
    • Distribution of construction plans and review of bids. Assist in choosing a contractor.
    • Design and drawing of new cabinets for kitchen, bathroom, entertainment, closet, construction plans. Approval of plans.
    • Lighting plan showing new lighting with specifications for contractor.
    • Selection and approval of all items that will be needed in construction - floors, countertops, faucets, fixtures, lights, doors, etc.
    • Begin construction.
    • Interior designer shops decorative items - furniture, fabrics, rugs, wall coverings, and any other items that need to be purchased for the project.
    • Presentation of furniture ideas, fabrics, and accessories to you.
    • Shopping trip to see the furniture; Paint selection to go with the flooring and fabrics that have been selected.
    • Approval of furniture, fabric, wallpaper, draperies, blinds, etc.
    • Payment for and purchase of items agreed upon.
    • Completion of work by contractors.
    • Furniture delivery, drapery installations, etc.; Accessories added with approvals.
    • Final signoff and payment.
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