Sallie Smith Decor And Decorating

Sallie Smith Decor And Decorating


About this pro

I am a preferred designer on Houzz and I have many excellent referrals, some listed on Houzz, some on my website. I need frankly to put more professional photos on the sites since I end up taking the pix myself at the end of the project when it may not all be set up to look like a magazine shot. I am very detail oriented. I will not stop until my client loves it. I have built furniture for my clients (two ottomans and headboards); I took a square antique table to a master woodworker I like and he made it into a round table and no one can tell; I have turned normal open backed dining chairs into upholstered Parsons chairs; I've build coffee tables with storage and reseated outdoor chairs; I have a woman who created frescoes on the ceiling of a dining room and pearlized them; I created a tent top ceiling for a childs room and a quilted ceiling and walls for a bathroom. If you can dream it, I think I can make it or have it made. 

Doing the unexpected; working with beautiful fabrics and colors; watching the faces of clients when they walk into the rooms and see them all new and gorgeous. Making people happy regardless of the budget is what makes me happy. Big budgets don't necessarily mean great taste or making a home comfortable. Sometimes it's just a few things like new paint, a fireplace and a new sofa that make a huge difference. 

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Alburtis, PA 18011
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What is your typical process for working with a new customer?

I send them a questionnaire to provide with direction regarding what they like, their goals for this project and their particular style. 

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I've been doing this for 14 years. I began as a window treatment designer and fabricator, doing it all myself as well as the installation. However, I couldn't keep up with it all so I began to use an installer when the job was more difficult and I use a workroom to so some of the fabrication for me when I have too much on my plate. I began to apprentice to other designers when I wanted to expand my business to include all aspects of design and decorating and then gradually branched out on my own. I work with an architect when I need to provide structural changes as well as a contractor for interior work. I like to use a kitchen designer when I'm asked to redo or build a new kitchen because that way there are two heads putting the design together to ensure that everything is done perfectly. I've done a ton of bathrooms and rely on my contractor to do the plumbing work but I always double check and triple check to make sure it's all to spec. I am a perfectionist and into details making a big difference.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your services? If so, please share the details here.

I charge $20/hour for my time which also includes drive time when I'm shopping for clients. I charge the same for my design time and online shopping as well. I keep a log so that the client knows how much time I spent and where I went, the drive time to get there, etc. They get a weekly update of the log or if they want more updates, that's fine as well.

How did you get started in this business?

I was in NYC on 9/11 working for a large software firm doing a symposium. When we could finally leave the city a few days later, I realized that I didn't want to continue to work at a career that brought me so little enjoyment with a lot of travel and dissatisfaction. I knew I could sew well having been taught by my mother as a child. I did lots of curtains and window treatments for family and friends, made clothes for kids and my friends and loved color and fabric. So, I launched Just Window Dressing. 

What types of customers have you worked with?

Very high end clients in Devon and other towns along the mainline of Philadelphia as well as new home owners, some commercial clients locally and in NYC; McMansion builders locally who want help and advice as well as guidance on their decisions; people downsizing who want to take the things they love with them to a smaller residence; just about everyone in various financial catagories. I recently began to work more and more with new families moving into the area from other countries who want to incorporate their styles with American mores. That's been lots of fun. I really like people and learn a lot from then all so each experience is another challenge and lots of fun.

Describe a recent project you are fond of.

I worked with an architect to design and accessorize a sunken circular bar and barbeque area next to a pool. We had water to deal with, electricity for TVs next to the sliding board, sun, heat and comfort issues to work out. Then we built a cabana with motorized everything that was all controlled by one or two units. There are children involved and we needed to put a kitchen, laundry, full bath facility and furniture that looked lovely but was durable and pull out for guests. In the basement there is a playroom for kids, an arcade and lots of lounge space and equipment. I had to redo existing outdoor lounge furniture by having it powder coated and redone with new fabrics, shop for new furniture and have a pergola built, all to match. It was a terrific project.

What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a pro in your area of expertise?

Be very honest about the budget; be flexible and allow the designer to make suggestions and presentations. Realize that what you want may not be available within your budget but maybe a substitute would work or you could ask the designer to do the most important part first and create a secondary list broken out by price and priority. That way you can do each priority as you can afford it. Those are goals you create for yourself and when you reach them it's a wonderful feeling. Please understand that designers have expertise and experience that they have gained usually through years of gain and loss. They get paid for their time and sometimes a supplier will give back a referral fee. The margins in our business are not great. We do it because we love what we do. 

What questions should customers think through before talking to pros about their needs?

What are your goals? What is your style? How many people are the decision makers for the project? What is the timeline for completion? How do you handle unforeseen setbacks such as a problem that is discovered by a contractor when a wall is exposed or setback lighting turns out to be rusty? This means more time and expense. Do you want to turn the project over entirely to the designer or do you want to be involved? How much involvement? Are you looking for major or minor change in your style and thinking about your home? 

Services offered

Interior Designers Drapery and Curtain Installation Services