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Choosing the Right Interior Designer for Your Home: An Interview with Andrea Vollf of VK Sustainable Concepts

By Andrea Vollf

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

VK Sustainable Concepts was founded with one goal in mind: to provide custom-tailored interior design solutions that are environmentally responsible and will protect the planet for today's and tomorrow's generations. We are very committed to deliver only the best to our clients and in 2012, VK Sustainable Concepts' founder, Andrea Vollf won the Daily Herald Influential Women in Business for her outstanding performance in the design industry. Last year, VK Sustainable Concepts earned the Best of Schaumburg - 2013 Award.

What are some of the services your company provides?

VK Sustainable Concepts offers a wide range of services for both home and business owners, from full interior design services to color consultation, staging design, space planing, and LEED consulting, to name a few.

In your opinion, what are three qualities that every interior design company should possess?

Transparency, integrity, and good customer service. When a client hires a company to redesign their home or business, they are trusting you with the key to their home or business and their money. Therefore, having a transparent policy, where the client knows where the money is being applied is key for a successful relationship. Furthermore, a good and reputable interior design firm, will provide also a good customer service, by guiding its clients every step of the way.

If you could describe your ideal client/home designer relationship, what would it be and why?

Like any other business, the best relationship is the one based on trust. The client must trust the designer's professional knowledge during the entire process. While we designer can see the big picture right away, most of clients have a hard time seeing beyond a fabric swatch or a color chip. Therefore the client must trust the designer's choice because at the end everything will make sense. When working with a client, I always tell them I'm not a mind reader, therefore, they need to be honest with me about their goals, what they like and what they don't so I can design the perfect place for them.

As an interior designer, how do you make sure you're understanding of what your client wants?

I ask a lot of questions, if the client has pictures of what he/she likes or hates, I ask for those pictures so I can have a better understanding of what's going on on my client's mind. One thing I have learned during all those years in business is that, the definition of design styles we learn in school is not necessarily the same definition the client has in mind.

What are at least three questions every homeowner should ask their interior designer before hiring them?

Are you a designer or a decorator?
This is the most important question as there is a huge difference between those two words: designers are required to have a formal education while decorators aren't. In another words: designers might decorate, but decorators can't design.

Are you registered with the state?
Professionals carrying the initials R.I.D. after their name, indicate that they are registered with the state of IL to perform interior design work at both residential and commercial levels. Such professionals withhold the highest standards in design given that, in order to become a registered inter designer in IL, you need to pass the NCIDQ exam (NCIDQ is equivalent to the bar exam for lawyers).

How long have you been in business?
Young professionals might charge you less, but they will also have less experience with time management, budget, and proper applications of certain materials and finishes. Next time you are hiring somebody, think twice if less is really more.

What is your philosophy behind creating dynamic, yet practical homes for your clients?

A design to be good must be unique, pleasant to the eye, functional, and affordable. All at the same time.

What are some minor building renovations that can really improve the appearance of my home?

The least expensive and most cost-effective way to spruce it up your home is by applying a fresh coat of paint. You have no idea of what the right paint can do for your home. Besides that, you can also give your doors knobs an update as well as the lighting fixtures and faucets.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

To learn more about our company and what VK Sustainable Concepts can do for you, please visit us at or call us at 312-402-8717.

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About The Author

Andrea Vollf, LEED AP ID+C, has over 10 years of experience in the interior design &...

Phone: (312) 402-8717

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