• Melissa Sanabria


So much has changed at this little design firm over the last year and we have learned a LOT.  A few months ago, we hired a firm to further develop our brand strategy, we’ve launched a new business website (yay!), hired a full-time designer, established and codified our internal and client-facing systems, kicked the blog back into action, and most importantly defined and refined our design process to make life better for all of us … all while maintaining a full portfolio of client projects and restoring a home from top to bottom in Takoma Park. Whew… we have been busy!

Image Credit: Sanabria & Co.

We thought this would be a great time to pause and share some insight into what it’s like to work together. Specifically, what happens during an in-home consultation and when does it make sense to schedule one?  

What should I expect at an in-home consultation?

First we chat. We want to hear all the dirt. Who lives here? What do you do for work? For fun? How do you use your space? What’s your budget? We want to hear about your pain points, your needs, and your goals for your home and how you think we can help. Then, we’ll chat about your home, your style and your aesthetic.

Next we walk. After you brief us, we take a walk through your problem spaces (or your entire home! Whatever you’re willing to share, we’d love to see) and we get into it. We can answer specific design questions, help prioritize your tasks, suggest paint colors, recommend contractors, trades, or sources, and help provide a sense of what you should budget for your project.

Image Credit: Sanabria & Co.

What will we learn during the consultation?

Are we the best fit? The consultation is the first step in the design process and not only can it provide you with actionable recommendations, but it also gives us the opportunity to make sure that we are a mutual fit should you decide to engage us further to help with your project. Design is a process (often a looong process) and an in-person meeting gives us the opportunity to get to know more about one another and see if our working styles and personalities gel. We want to be positive, productive partners through what can be a fun and also stressful and rewarding process.

What are your objectives and priorities? We want to ensure the scope of work we propose is spot on and that we are solving your problem (hint: the solution isn’t always what you think it is). Right sizing the scope is also important because it impacts scheduling, duration and timeline, and how much the project will cost (investment).

Image Credit: Sanabria & Co.

How should you prepare for our consultation?

Clarify your priorities and must haves. Most clients have a written laundry list of projects upon our arrival, but tend to have a few in mind that must be accomplished within a specific time frame and set of funds. We’ll do our best to work in both “must haves” and “nice to haves” while prioritizing your projects.

Feel comfortable sharing. We all have different habits, goals, and budgets; let us in on these bits of info. Our goal is to create a functional, beautiful space specifically for your lifestyle, on your timeline, and in your budget range. We’ll share too — we’ve learned that some budgets are too low for the dream deVOL kitchen or that some timelines can squeeze in more than one or two of your “must haves” before you host that baby shower for your friend.

Remember that the meeting is blocked for two hours maximum. We love hanging out with our clients, so this one tends to be difficult for us to remember too. We value your time, and ours.

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What do you get out of the meeting?

In addition to suggestions we make while we’re there, we follow up with our notes that include key recommendations or ideas that we discussed during our meeting. You’ll also receive a written design proposal with a detailed scope of work, a description of our process including the steps to bring your project to the finish line, and the monetary and time investments required. And if you have any follow-up questions or need help pulling the trigger on an item down the road, you can give us a call!

Image Credit: Sanabria & Co.

Do we charge for an in-home consultation?

Yes, we do! We often spend 90 minutes and up to 2 hours in your home geeking out over design and we love what we do. But it takes a lot of time and energy to bring you the value that we aim to bring during a consultation and so we make sure we’re compensated for our time.

Are you considering and in-home consultation with Sanabria & Co. or another interior design studio? You can book a consultation here on our site or let us know if you have consult questions in the comments!

Image Credit: Sanabria & Co.

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