An interview with Tammy Kaplan, certified interior designer and owner/principle designer at Images in Design, Inc. This interview describes how she approaches a project, what she believes, what it’s like to work with Tammy, and more.
Q1: What’s your philosophy of interior design?
Your home should reflect your tastes and fit the needs of your lifestyle. In other words, your home should be designed in your image — which is why we named the company Images In Design.
Sometimes I think of what we do as being an “interior therapist” because we do so much more than choose color, furniture and fixtures. We help people feel comfortable in their home through life’s many changes — kids leaving home, blended families, marriage, divorce, additions, or just when it’s time for a change.
Q2. What happens at the first design consultation?
During our first appointment, we get to know each other and tour your home together. Even if you’re only interested in specific room(s), it’s useful to see how you live, what your tastes are, and what the rooms adjacent to your “new” rooms are like. I ask a lot of questions in order to understand the needs of everyone in the house. Then we define your project — including your goals, budget, and timeline. The recommendations I made during this initial consultation often lay the groundwork for the entire project. To schedule a consultation or to find out more about a first consultation, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at 908-272-4391 or email info@InteriorDesignerNJ.com.
Q3. What are your strengths?
It’s funny how often clients tell me that we’re amazing at keeping projects focused and moving forward — we’re excellent project managers. Professionalism is extremely important to me, as is being efficient. I’m very honest with clients. And my highest concern is keeping clients happy. I want you to absolutely love your home when we’re through.
“Tammy really looked out for our interests. She’s detail oriented, professional and straight forward. She knows how to get things done.”
-CS, Mount Arlington, New Jersey
Q4. What sets Images In Design apart from other interior design firms?
There are many excellent interior designers in New Jersey, but there are four things I’d like to point out.
First, I’ve been a professional interior designer for over 25 years. I’ve got the experience it takes to move projects forward. Plus I know how to explain processes and options.
For instance, when many people walk into a showroom they’re overwhelmed by their options. But I’ve done so many projects that I know what decisions need to be made — and the order in which they need to be made. I guess you could say that my experience allows me to bring structure and process to a complicated endeavor. And I’m pretty good at helping husbands and wives with differing points of view arrive at decisions everyone’s happy with.
Second, I travel to furniture shows, showrooms and factories around the country. I keep up with trends by seeing — in person — what the latest styles are.
Third, I’ve built many strong relationships with professionals I can trust — including cabinet makers, drapery workrooms, lighting designers, contractors, builders, architects, and furniture manufacturers.
And finally, unlike many practicing interior designers, I am certified by the state of New Jersey. To keep my certification current, I take classes (CEUs) throughout the year on important topics — including building codes, green trends, new products, color trends, stone and marble, resins, new lighting technologies, and more.
Q5. Why is space planning so important?
Our computerized floor plans make it easier to choose new furniture or place existing items in a room — so you can be confident in advance that everything will fit and have the right scale. Floor plans are a critical early step, because it’s much easier to change a floor plan than to live with a room that doesn’t work the way you’d hoped or furniture that doesn’t fit your space.
Space planning can also help you live a more organized life after the design project is done. After all, you can’t be organized if you don’t have a home for everything.
Q6. What’s your advice to someone who’s planning an addition or renovation?
Bring an interior designer into the process early because designers are trained to see the “whole picture.” I can help you make sure — at the planning stage when it’s easiest to change — that you don’t have wasted space, that electrical outlets are in the right place, that your windows and the walls surrounding them can accommodate the type of window treatment you really want, and much more.
We’ve even been able to help people assess whether they actually need an addition. Once, for instance, we helped a family avoid the expense of an addition by knocking down a wall and renovating an existing room. Other times we’ve helped refine the size of the addition — or the direction. Building up, for instance, can have advantages over building out.
By the way, one of the services we provide is to review Architect’s or Builder’s plans. Find out more here. Then please feel free to call us at 908-272-4391 or email info@InteriorDesignerNJ.com to find out more.
Q7. One of your specialties is custom furniture — can you tell us more about that?
Sometimes you can’t get exactly what you need ready-made. When you design a room or add an addition, chances are that you’re going to live with your decisions for many years — so you want pieces that really meet your needs. Using my professional resources, I can design built-ins that perfectly fit your walls or go around fireplaces or windows, lighting that perfectly complements features in a room, chairs that comfortably fit your body, custom kitchens that facilitate the way you cook and eat, and bathroom vanities that are more than merely attractive.
Q8. Do you have advice for people who are choosing an interior designer?
Yes, ask a lot of questions. Understand in advance what their qualifications are. Check their references. Understand how they handle deposits, estimates, bills, installations and deliveries. And finally, make sure you’re comfortable communicating with your designer so in the end you’ll have exactly what you want.
Q9. Does it cost more to work with an interior designer?
An experienced interior designer can help you save money in several ways. For instance, working with my team of highly skilled professionals, I can keep you from making costly mistakes that require do-overs or cause delays.