There’s No Place Like Home
It’s Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke from Madcap Cottage, your Calico “hosts with the most.” In this week’s blog installment, we are talking about Calico’s amazing in-home design services.
Yes, the talented Calico designers will meet with you, learn about your wants and needs and budget, and then transform any room that needs a pick-me-up. To find out just how this bespoke service works, John and I rang up the wonderful Ann Galloway, a top-notch Calico in-home designer based at the Arlington, Virginia store, and tapped her know-how.
MADCAP COTTAGE: Hello, Ann! First up, how long have you worked at Calico?
ANN GALLOWAY: I’ve worked with Calico for 20 years this March. For 15-plus years I have been the #1 in-home in the company!
MC: Wow, congratulations! So tell us about in-home design services at Calico. What design services can you provide to a consumer? Is there a cost to using the in-home program?
AG: I can help with any design that uses fabrics—think window treatments, furniture, pillows, bedding, cushions and upholstery. We offer a professional measure and installation service and space planning. We can integrate old pieces with new. And, as of December, we now sell wallpaper. There is no fee for in-home/in-store consultations. However, we do want the customer to be serious about purchasing from Calico.
MC: MC: Is any project too small?
AG: No project is too small. However DIY projects are NOT custom. I’m here to help you with Calico custom products.
MC: Is any project too big?
AG: Too big… Are you kidding me? The bigger, the better! If I have a client with 3-5 rooms, I ask which rooms are the most important. Then I’ll make a plan for all the rooms, but a customer can be overwhelmed with too many rooms and lose focus on why I am there. Sometimes it’s more effective and efficient to work on 1-2 rooms at a time.
MC: How does the program work?
AG: The in-home consultant does an initial “brief” interview either in the store or over the phone to discuss the scope of the project and budget. Following that, we will schedule an appointment in the client’s home or in the store to discuss the needs and preferences of the customer. There is more than meets the eye with detail to have a satisfied customer and great products.
MC: Is the service just fabric for window treatments and pillows? Do you all have furnishings, too?
AG: Calico has a great selection of furniture. Also, we will take your favorite piece of furniture and reupholster it and bring it back to life. The newest product we have is wallpaper. Whether it’s a room or just an accent wall, wallpaper can add a finishing touch to a room.
MC: Can you suggest the placement of furnishings that I already have in a room?
AG: Yes, I can suggest furniture placement, however my purpose is to help you refresh what you have using Calico products.
MC: If I don’t have any design vision, how do you get me to bring the storyline for my space to life?
AG: I ask a customer whether they have a vision. If not, then they have some homework to do. Their inspiration can come from home magazines, Instagram, Pinterest, Houzz, etc. I have photos of rooms I have completed for inspiration. Every home and individual customer is unique and special. When I work with a customer to design their space, it is to be equally unique and special. I will not duplicate it to create another cookie-cutter space.
MC: What can I do to help you understand what I am trying to accomplish with my home?
AG: Many customers are not visual. With that said, storyboards and PowerPoint presentations with fabric, styles of window treatments and furniture can help a customer. All customers will have a follow-up appointment in the store after the initial appointment where we can tap tools like our proprietary C360 app that allows a client to see how fabrics drape upon a particular frame.
MC: I have a very modern style, is Calico only traditional in its sensibility?
AG: Modern, transitional, traditional, eclectic—I do it all. It’s my customer’s home, not mine. They live in their home 365 days a year. I guide them through the process to discover their lifestyle and “look.”
MC: Will you take all of the measurements and hang the curtains that I buy?
AG: I will take approximate measurements to give an estimate. However for the final measurements, Calico has professional measurers and installers. Think of the “measure fee” as window-treatment insurance. The installation fee is to save marriages. In addition, our installers will steam and dress all window treatments.
MC: I need a room completed by the summer, what’s the time frame on the in-home service?
AG: The time frame to complete a project is approximately 8-10 weeks after the order is placed. However if a fabric should be delayed because of a backorder, there would be a delay in the timeline. Calico does its best to notify customers any time there is a change in the expected time frame.
MC: What’s the most unusual project you have done for a client?
AG: I’m working with a customer right now re-decorating their RV. We’ve completed the bedding and accent pillows. Next step will be the window treatments.
MC: Do your clients come back to you time and time again?
AG: Yes, my customers come back like a good luck penny—whether it’s time for an update or they have moved or purchased a vacation home. My customers also refer family and friends.
MC: How would you sum up your design philosophy?
AG: My design philosophy is that the room should flow and have a “wow” factor that doesn’t dominate the feel of the room but completes the look. Less is more with a fabulous finishing touch.
MC: What would you tell a consumer about Calico’s capabilities if they have never visited a Calico before?
AG: Calico has been in business for 70 years and has 60+ stores across the country. Calico has knowledgeable sales associates in every product category that Calico offers. Calico takes pride in being a leader in custom products—from window treatments, bedding and reupholstery to new furniture. Also, Calico will guarantee and stand behind the quality and workmanship of all custom-made products.
MC: What is the trickiest window problem you’ve been called on to solve, and what was your solution?
AG: Arch windows are the trickiest windows ever made. I had arch windows to the ceiling inset in an alcove, with a window seat. My customer wanted room darkening, filtered light, and to follow the arch. We made flat roman shades with the top layer being room darkening, the second layer sheer, and with arch tops. It looked FABULOUS and fit the arch and alcove on the first try!
MC: How do you help a customer who is unsure about their style find a look that is right for them?
AG: LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN! I ask questions about a client’s lifestyle and what they would like their end results to be. Customers can send pictures of their home, paint colors and area rugs. Then I compile several fabric collections appropriate for the projects with tools such as Calico’s incredible C360 app.
MC: Wow, what an amazing service… Custom design services available to all. Genius. Thanks, Ann!