My business stands out because I listen to my clients. I want to understand their needs and wants first and then proceed. This is one of the biggest reasons I won Best Interior for Client Services for 2018, Business Hall of Fame 2018, 2019 and 2020, Trademark Women of Distinction 2021 and Marquis Who's Who 2022.
Most of my clients cannot visualize the end product which makes them very nervous and sometime stalls the process. I take a picture and "paint" the walls of the photo with the exact color choices. I also do 3D renderings to show what the end result will be BEFORE we start the project. Then changes can be made without spending a dime.
Also, most of my clients don't know the industry just as I don't know the ins and outs of their industry. For example, little is known about the construction of furniture. I do and share a lot of my knowledge. For example, what is the difference between 8-way hand tied and sinious weave in ulpholstered goods? Which one is better? 8-way hand tied construction is how the springs withing the sofa are held together and is much better construction and will last longer. I know companies that will provide the construction at reasonable prices.
Sharing with my clients things that can go wrong that they don't even know. Construction, delivery impediments fabrics that fade in sunlight, terrible paint by leading paint sources.
I was moving into a stark condo and really didn’t know where to start. I knew I wanted it painted before I moved in but the paint needed to coordinate with everything else. Once I started working with Susan, I just couldn’t believe how much was available to her but never to the public. Even if it was available to the public, I didn’t have the time to look for the right pieces, making sure everything was coordinated and then expediting everything to my finished home. I also really liked that we spent a lot of time on my style preferences. I had some magazine pictures but Susan had lots more so we could really refine my taste. She also had fabric boards to test out different fabrics, textures and color ways. The 3D renderings and the drapery renderings were so very helpful. Instead of being so worried that everything would go together when it arrived, I could just relax because I saw the finished project in her 3D renderings before we purchased. It was all so coordinated. It showed she had a process that worked. Many Thanks Susan !!
Just getting to the point where I recognized that I needed professional help in decorating my sun room was a major accomplishment for me. I even bought and read a book on “How to Work with an Interior Designer!” I learned that the main reason you hire a professional is that they are aware of so much more about the products that are available and ways to combine them than I ever could. Susan was a godsend for me. She spent a lot of time just talking to me about my tastes, my styles and what I wanted. She explained her process so that I knew what to expect, which was so comforting. All of her design hours were fixed priced with a work scope. She was very empathetic and completely professional. I was given all the opportunities that I needed and wanted to review designs, fabrics, furniture, and paint. She over delivered all the way through the process. She seamlessly incorporated my existing pieces into the new design and showed me through her 3D renderings how it would look before I spent a nickel. She made it her first priority to show me how I was getting the best value for the prices I paid. She knew the construction and where all of the pieces came from. It showed that she did a lot of research on the manufacturers that she recommended. The people that she employs are also top-notch. I HEARTILY recommend the gentleman she employs to design, make, and install draperies. In short, while you as the Buyer do have to do work to ensure that you get what you want, Susan and her team work tirelessly to make the experience as positive, and even enjoyable, as possible. I am already eyeing a second room and have every intention of working with her again!
The term “customer service” is often illusive in the services industry. However, if one desires a clear definition, call Susan Utley at the Design Studio. After the initial meeting with Susan my thoughts were, “she gets it." She spent several meetings getting to know me, my motivation, demands on my time, my family situation, my likes/dislikes, my style as well as my current lifestyle. The Design Studio’s efforts were nothing short of heroic – Susan is a true customer-centric professional. Throughout the selection process, Susan made me feel comfortable with the design and layout. If the suggestions did not appeal to me, a simple “no” was enough for Susan to present alternatives. Susan assumed responsibilities that went well beyond that of the ordinary designer. In reality, she became a project manager for a client that quickly appreciated her open, honest communications, as well as her organizational skills. Susan went well beyond my expectations. I expected to find an interior decorator – and got a friend, a consultant, a project manager, and an extremely professional business woman. Susan has changed my world in a means that money cannot buy – she has made a new home for me. I would highly recommend this professional to any – and all – future clients.…
I just wanted to drop you a short note to tell you how pleased your customers are with your work. Paul Sullivan just raves about how helpful you have been and how he could not have possibly pulled off the move without you given his busy schedule. You just took over and not only gave him wonderful furniture selections, you also made it come together seamlessly. He is thrilled. Michael and Barbra Sahady are another one of your fans. Granted Michael can be a tough customer since he bought all of the oversized Kreiss furniture without you. But you managed to rectify the problem and work with the store for exchanges. Michael was so afraid to make a mistake that he wanted to paint the entire condo in white. But your photos of what it would look like after painting rather strong colors won him over. They love the new paint. Les Rose, Haze Hanna and Marty Seigel have all remarked on your creativity, skills to enable them to visualize the final product and attention to detail. They land well as I love working with you – it is just a pleasure. Thanks, Susan for being a great part of Reston Midtown.
Usually it takes three initial meetings to understand the client's desired style and prices. Then I assemble all preferences and pricing along with any deliery issues. Once we are in agrement, an invoice is processed and initial fees are provided. Orders are placed and by weekly schedule avisoraries are provided. The furniture goes into a safe storage area untill all items are delivered. Then delivery is planned and executed. Client will smile profusely and I am a happy person.
I have a BS in Interior Design and an MBA from John Hopkins.