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Choosing the Right Interior Designer: An Interview with Matthew Alexander of Matthew Alexander Creations

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are a full-service interior design studio that has serviced the private sector and corporate customers, spanning the globe. We offer the client personalized, functional and timeless style and design to fit any budget. From simply picking paint colors, in depth ground up construction, historic renovations, full remodels, model homes, hotels, restaurants and landscape design, we even provide for those hosting special events, dinners, parties or weddings. Our team will make your want list become a reality.

In your opinion, what are the most important qualities that interior designers should possess?

A professional interior designer should always have the client's needs in mind. A lot of designers have a particular style which can be defined as their own, which certainly sells products and gets the public excited about what's trending, however my philosophy of good design is a little more personal. It revolves around what effectively works for the one who will benefit from the design the most: the client (or in the case of hospitality the client's customer) and their specific lifestyle requests. Each space is unique and the needs of each client are unique, and therefore a marketable designer formula does not always fit. Our team works extra hard to make sure your space is not one that has been reproduced again and again.

How does a designer make sure that you fully understand what your client wants?

The most difficult thing for a client is to have a clear vision of what he or she wants and be able to relay it to the designer. That's why they hire a designer. Today the choices are too many, the options are too vast and the market supports a DIY mentality that more than just confuses most people. It's the designers responsibility to interview the client, ask the right questions, offer the right materials, discover the right solutions and then relieve the client from the burden of the details and finish the job. Providing the client with two or maybe three of the best options that will fit their requests based upon their wants and needs will suffice. The magic happens when it's all pulled together. As a professional team we are going to provide the client with a design theme and an education that will give them a solid foundation, an understanding to support what the client wants.

What are some important questions that homeowners should ask before choosing an interior designer?

Can you do the job? That's a heavy question to ask the designer because the client will assume you can do everything. But as in any profession there are divisions, if you will, categories that build up a company, and not every designer has a master's degree in every stage of the process. Ask about their strong points, ask about their weak points. Some decorators call themselves designers, but they haven't the ability to masterfully plan the interior architecture of a residence that is in need of a complete remodel. On the flip side, if you're just looking for the fluff stuff, such as accessories, flower arrangements, pillows, etc., someone more creative in that retrospect will get the job right.

What can people do to make sure that an interior designer's style matches their own vision?

A client is going to do research. It's what everyone does today, look up what other people are doing in business and in pleasure. Most interior designers are going to be hired based upon the verbal referral from a friend or colleague that has already used them. But in today's world of Internet access the client can easily find a designer by searching a vast web of images for spaces they like. Generally a name will be attached to the image so you can refer to them for possible hire. A client may not know what it is they really want, but they will know what it is they do not want. Pick a designer whose portfolio looks the best for what you may want them to do for you.

What advice do you have for people who are looking for a designer who's talented and easy to work with?

Interview a designer over the phone, pop into their studio, set up a tour of your space to discuss what you are looking for. Just because a portfolio looks good doesn't mean that you'll get along on a personal level. Being a professional interior designer, I consider it my responsibility to not only doing the job well but to be your educator and your friend. It's not a business of cookie cutter parts. Your designer needs to know how you live and move in your personal space, what side of the bed you sleep on, what special needs you may have to function better and if the job is in your home it becomes an intimate and invasive process. In the end, business is still business, and sometimes friendships and business do not mix well, but having a friendly professional on board your team will make the process much more enjoyable. The communication between parties will be better, the designer will work harder to please, and the client will provide less criticism during the process.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Our direct line is 951-719-0900. You can follow us on FaceBook for up-to-date project photos and watch for events and prize giveaways. You can email me at matthewalexandercreations@gmail.com. My projects span the U.S. and also take me out of the country but if you happen to catch me in SoCal my Temecula Valley design studio is inside Leather & Home Interiors in Murrieta, CA at 26450 Jefferson Avenue.

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