Interview With Pamela Sandall

How do  you work?
This is probably the most frequently asked of ALL frequently asked questions and NOT the shortest to answer!!  We will begin with a get acquainted phone call.  We discuss the clients project and make sure we are a good fit!  We discuss the goals for their home (or space)?  What are their issues with their home?  What are their family needs?  Do they have any special considerations (health/mobility issues, for instance)?  What is the scope and scale of the project?

Once we have covered the basics, there a couple of options:  either a ‘meet & greet’ appointment is scheduled, a full consultation or an online decor appointment.  Each project is different and handled in the way best suited to the needs of the client.

How do you charge?
I charge by the hour, by the appointment/package, or by the project depending on the best situation for the client and their project.  I believe in options!

What style do you design?
I design all styles :).  Really.  That said?  My personal style tends towards the traditional.  I love to work with antiques and incorporate them into more modern and current styles.  I have done everything from shabby chic to contemporary.  Ultimately, it’s best to say I design for the homeowner, not for myself.

What sort of rooms/projects do you work on?
I must confess to loving anything fabric!!  New, custom upholstery, drapery, cushions & pillows.  I am firm believer in custom pieces whenever possible.  It is not expensive as you might think and get you the PERFECT item for your needs.  I do space planning on all projects, lighting and finish work.  All construction is handled ONLY by licensed contractors.  I assist clients in putting together the perfect color palette whether working with paint, fabric, tile, stone, carpeting or area rugs.

Will I have to get rid of all my stuff?
Absolutely NOT.  My clients love that I shop FIRST in their own home for beloved treasures.
In fact, one of the first questions on my client questionairre is what pieces MUST stay, what pieces CAN stay, and what pieces are open to re-purposing?  I firmly believe in shopping first in the clients home.  Want to get rid of it all and start from scratch???   That can work to, but be prepared for a little extra work to fine tune your end style!!

What do you expect of your clients?
Ahhhh, fun question!  Each client needs a different level of assistance.  Most of my clients will tell you that I put them work!  I am not one to walk in and dictate what must go and what must stay.  I am NOT one to jump right in and take over.  What I do is use a process, a series of steps created over many years, to facilitate the best outcome for the project.  You’ve heard the expression ‘measure twice and cut once’?  My philosophy is similar.  Plan first, plan again, then execute.  The beginning is a little slower (especially for a client eager to get started) but the outcome at the end of the project is one that is superior and a better fit for the family it will nurture.

In the end, my Clients LOVE me for this process as it ultimately saves them from costly decorating mistakes…  Decorating mistakes, by the way are the most expensive part of any design project.

And what if the client doesn’t WANT to be heavily involved?

That’s okay too!  Many clients hire a designer because they either don’t have the time or they don’t want to do the legwork to design a fabulous home.  My system works just as well for the hands-off client.  I do the same in-depth interview to determine their likes, their personal style and their goals. I then put together a plan that works for them, bring the samples, the renderings and the resources to their home for approval, then execute!

What is your background?
When I was 10, I designed my first home.  It was for Malibu Barbie.  It was made with record albums as walls, cardboard boxes for furniture and kleenex as linens.  Outgrowing Barbies, I would routinely moved furniture around in my room and even had the best designed college dorm room on campus.  Thankfully, I’ve elevated my design resources since those days, and have my own design firm, Pamela Sandall Design.  I studied interior design, textiles and business in college.  Once I knew I was ready to open my own firm, I updated my business skills with a highly acclaimed interior design program.

How long have you had your own business?
I have been in the Home Fashions Business since finishing college – 1986, to be exact.  I have been designing spaces for longer than that however.  (Remember, I started designing for Barbie!)   I opened my design business in its current form in 2001.

How are you different from other designers & decorators?
My approach is very heart-centered.  By that I mean that I design with the end USER (homeowner) in mind, rather than the end PRODUCT.  My favorite saying to my clients is “I have my home, this is yours!”.  What that means to you is that I am always focused on how you will live in the home long after I leave.  While I would love to have a photo-perfect, magazine ready room when we are done, this isn’t always practical or even desirable.  I am certainly happy to attain that if this is your goal, but if your goal is warm, welcoming family home that greets you with a hug at the end of a hard day, then I am your gal!

Do you offer packages?  Do you work within different pricepoints?  I am on a limited budget, can I afford you?  
The question of price comes in many different forms.  While it is not practical to be all things to all people, I will say first that getting professional advice will ALWAYS save you money (and time!).  I do offer packages and naturally work within many different pricepoints.  It is hard to pinpoint exact numbers until the complete project list is completed.  I do, on my website, have some basic pricing guidelines to give you a general idea.  My pricing is very fair and when price is real concern, I have either online options or some basic consultation fees for those that just need a little help.  If you’re interested, you can sign up here to be taken immediately to the package page!

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Can you share a little personal info? {smile}  Naturally!  I have three children, a fabulous husband, 3 cats and a dog.  We recently moved to the Los Angeles area for my husband’s job, but the additional benefit has been being closer to my family – almost all live within a 30 minute radius.  We had spent the last 16 years in the Portland area.

Any closing thoughts?
Yes!  I Love my job.  I love my clients.  I love creating beautiful and elegant rooms.  But I am passionate about creating great, personal welcoming homes for those clients to come home to.   My business motto is “The perfect marriage of beloved treasures, personal style and creative design solutions.”  I would encourage a potential client to visit my website and schedule a “get acquainted” phone call.  There is no cost and no pressure.  It gives us the chance to see how I might help them.