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Designer Stories: An Insight into Designing with Interior Designer Naren Inow

'Every inch of available space must be utilized wisely’, says interior designer Naren Inow and firmly believes in hard work, determination and right attitude to rightfully drive his passion for designing interiors. With an eye for perfection, Naren Inow based out of Chennai, strikes a convo with Team DesignBids on his projects, designs, and clients and makes interior designing seem like a cakewalk.

What information do you need to create or conceptualize a design?

The first thing that we do is talk to every member of the family regarding their views, likes and dislikes. Be it a new project or a revamping of the old, we have to take into consideration the views of clients and then implement it alongside our design. Residential or commercial, every inch of the space must be utilized wisely.

As designers, we get instant ideas on seeing a room as to what will suit it best, but often clients come to us with a preconceived design of their own. Under such circumstances, it gets a little difficult to implement our own designs fully. Secondly, we need to know the budget limit of the client, such that they should be comfortable with the material costs and other associated charges.

What if the members of the family are not on-board the same idea?

Yes, it does happen that there are contradicting views on color or design preferences for the same area. Under such circumstances, we try to get to a unanimous decision to which clients comply, since more the time they take for giving their approval, the longer it takes for us to start and complete the project.

On what basis do you decide upon the time you need to allocate to a particular project?

First and foremost, the type of work involved. Secondly, materials to be purchased, manpower required and after keeping a sufficient buffer time, we commit to a time span.

How can a client coordinate to speed-up the entire process?

The best way clients can help speed-up the process is by approving the project at the earliest. Since they are not sure at times on either the design or the budget, they just keep on changing the proposed plan, thus hampering the project.

Your design or clients’ demands, on which do you, emphasize more?

As designers, we have an eye for perfection. But, often, as I said before, clients come to us with preconceived designs. Under such circumstances, it becomes a little difficult to bring them out of their comfort zone and convince them to approve our design. So then, we usually do as they desire. But, if clients are more flexible and trust our wits, then we get a chance to bring in something different and new to their homes.

Designers give a cost estimate to clients before the beginning of the project. What is this initial estimate based on?

We have an up-to-date knowledge of all materials available in the market and their subsequent costs, ranging from affordable to pricey ones. As our clients seek, their proposed budget, the actual work involved, the quality of materials they are looking for, we give them our suggestions, as to what would suit best and if they are fine with the purchase cost, we provide them the estimate which includes service charges as well.

By how much does the cost vary between the initial estimate and final bill?

Since we have a prior idea of what the clients’ budget is and we already discuss with them the purchase costs involved, so the final amount does not vary much from the initial estimate. They too have the liberty of cross-checking our proposed estimates with other designers, before giving a final nod.

Do designers get discounts on materials purchased from merchants and what discounts do they provide their clients?

If clients want us to purchase their materials, then we charge them the same amount that we pay to buy the same from dealers. But if they hire contractors, then they have a different deal.

What changes do people seek in their homes?

If it is a renovation, then clients do not prefer removing or buying bulky furnishings or cabinets but seek to change minor elements like light fixtures, false ceiling, draperies, TV cabinet, wall colors or maybe desire a modular kitchen.

If clients want a modular kitchen fitted, who would do it better, an established brand or carpenter?

Both would do it perhaps the same way. You could buy the entire set from an established brand like Kutchina, Godrej, among others or else you could get the floor cabinets and wall cabinets custom-made by a carpenter. But an established brand would charge you more compared to a carpenter but there definitely would be a good deal of finessing involved.

How different is designing a smaller apartment compared to larger ones?

Contrary to what it seems, designing a smaller apartment is more difficult and requires more time than bigger apartments since minute details like space for easy movement, placement of furniture, whether a couple of smaller ones or one large one, to ensure that the room looks big, proper lighting and other minute features have to be accurately taken care of. With larger carpet area, you get more room for experimentation.

New project or house renovation, which is easier to design?

It is always easier to design a new house or work on a new project since we can implement our ideas and designs better, structure the house as planned but when it comes to re-doing of an old house, we leave it more to the clients’ needs, since re-structuring of the house would be difficult. But there is one problem with new projects and that is if the clients’ plan and the builders plan do not coincide and the latter is unwilling to allow us to change the position of windows or interfere with their electrical wiring and others, then we have to re-work on the interior design again and come up with some other design for the clients.

How many projects do you complete in a year?

We usually work on 3-4 projects, depending on the time allocated to each.

What are the biggest challenges you face as an interior designer?

As designers, the first problem we face is to convince clients to trust our wits and go by our designs, since they find it too difficult, at times, perhaps to come out of their comfort zone. Secondly, people are always on the lookout for budgeted designers and hence even after several talks, they might finally end up choosing another designer, who has quoted slightly less. Since, we try not to compromise on quality, so it often happens that we cannot lower the cost of good materials.

Team DesignBids thanks Naren Inow on this wonderful insight and wishes him the best in all his future endeavors.

Madhurima Das

Madhurima Das

Madhurima is a microbiologist by qualification and writer by choice, emotional yet practical, sensitive yet sensible. She is always enthusiastic about good music, books, food, and destinations.

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