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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Your Name Is Only As Good As..........

Your Workroom !!

In my many years in the interior design industry, one thing I have to have is a great workroom. I am nothing without a brilliant upholstery man, and the artful hands of the seamstress that will make my window treatments.
I am going to give 'my opinion'
in this post, and that is just what it is. An opinion.

They are suggestions from someone who has worked very hard in this business for over 28 years. Sometimes in entry level design positions, in other words; ' paying my dues.'
But I always did anything & EVERYTHING I needed to do to get the job done,

to my ( some might say, ridiculously) high standards.

So, I think....
Your window treatments and all your custom upholstery should lack for nothing. If you want a room to be a show-stopper, this is not an area of design to EVER cut corners in.

Have you ever had a window-treatment installed and been filled
with shame and embarrassment ?
I have, just once !!!
From that day forward I always demanded the very best workroom in my area.
If it cost more than every other workroom………oh well. ( think of it as insurance)
The personal pain, if it comes out ' WRONG' , is too great for me ,"thank you very much !"
I don’t mind paying more for a workroom if I get this in return;
  • Workmanship, Workmanship, Workmanship = QUALITY.
    This includes top of the line hardware that is securely installed, you do not need it falling down on your client because of a installer who is rushing.
  • When it is installed it is perfect, the length and mounted at the proper height ,etc.
  • If it is not, it is taken back and returned /installed within 5 business days, without any conversation or ' who is to blame.’
  • The workroom always measures everything, and determines yardage, trim, and hardware of all materials needed for the job. If this little rule is followed, you will never be blamed for any screw-ups. (Unless you ordered the wrong fabric or trim, and that is too scary to discuss) So,Guess Who will not be eating the fabric, trim, and labor costs for lunch ? ..........You !
  • Remember, paying a higher fee for an excellent workroom is exactly like having insurance on your design and manufacturing process.
I am hoping that I didn't sound like a ' know it all.' I am not.
The older I get, the more I realize how little I do know.
I only KNOW about 10 things for sure....and workrooms fall into ' the 10 things I know' category.

Will you take this advice....?
It's good, trust me.
Share your experience*  

Renee Finberg 'TELLS ALL' in her BLOG.....
All picture credits from :
Interior Design, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Window Treatments, Custom Design, Paint, Color Coordination, Online Interior Design


  1. Well, it sounds like excellent advice to me! And I love that Jonas sofa in the last pic!

  2. I totally agree with you on the importance of a professional workroom. I have seen chairs with very expensive fabric and a decorative pattern of tacks added and the tacks were crooked. That flaw cheapened the finished product. I have seen bed skirts that were improperly measured and once placed on the bed were too short. I like you idea of thinking of it as insurance!

  3. I agree with Susan - and you of course - thinking of the extra cost of a more expensive workroom as insurance is totally the way to go. I had a new (to me) workroom recover a pair of matching wing chairs and due to circumstances, they were delivered before I could check out the final work. My client said "they don't even look like they were upholstered by the same person". Talk about embarrassed! And, this workroom had been recommended by another designer I totally trust. I had to bully the into fixing the problems, but they were never perfect in my eyes, although the client was satisfied. I still cringe!

    We are only as good as our workrooms!

  4. Great advice from an industry pro, Renee. I will keep that in mind in the future. You get what you pay for!

  5. Amen Sistah! Truer words were never upholsterer is the best! Great post.

  6. It's EXCELLENT advice Renee, and I agree. It is like insurance. I had a friend once who had an antique chair covered in hair on cowhide. It turned out beautifully - but only because she had already made the mistake of having upholstery done on the cheap once before. The difference in price was only $200, and the savings was $700, once you factor in what she had to pay to have the botched project RE-DONE! So Great advice! :)

  7. Anonymous13:07

    AMEN, Sister!!

  8. Yes, I agree! As a professional workroom I would like to add that it goes both ways and my workroom reputation is "only as good as" the talent and professionalism of the designers that I work with. Great blog.

  9. I treasure my workroom like gold. I have worked with them for years, and the owner can finish my sentences, which is a wonderful freedom. Whatever I can dream up, he can create. We speak in shorthand now and he is a true artisan. Not an inexpensive one, but one gets what one pays for!!

  10. No, you don't sound like a know it all. You sound like a generous interior designer sharing your wisdom. I am in constant search of detail oriented craftsmen to help me realize my designs. This job is really hard!

    Have a wonderful weekend, Renee.
    Happy Passover.


  11. Can I get an AMEN?? So true, so very true.

  12. Janice Long22:17

    As a workroom owner, the reason the price *should be higher* if the workroom measures, is because the workroom is taking all the risk.

    The person/business who assumes the majority of the risk should also reap the majority of the profit.

    Unfortunately, this isn't the case most of the time for workrooms. We assume lots of risk with measuring and installing, but are told our prices are "too high."

  13. Anonymous17:40

    As a drapery workroom to the trade, I love the way you think. We risk so much as workrooms if the designer doesn't get all the facts right so when I offer full service I am the one taking the most risk. Bravo! Well said! It's nice to be appreciated!

  14. Susan T in NY07:33

    Another workroom here! While I appreciate your understanding of the value of a good workroom, why did you choose to feature photos of a New York workroom rather than the tried and true trusted one you use? If they work that hard to make you and the job look good, why wouldn't you praise them with the photo credits??



Thanks for participating!!

About Renée Finberg

I have been in this business since the age of 22.

I love what I do and cannot imagine my life without Design.

Design Challenges are great.

And because of those challenges

I have imported fine antique pieces from Paris,

Designed and Manufactured Furniture,

Created Fantastic Window Treatments,

And solved all kinds of spatial & architectural issues

With my unique style.

If I can't find it, I create it.

My rooms would make excellent movie sets.

I am a visual, tactile and audio sensitive individual.

Creating is what I live for, not math, not spelling, not science.

Just Great Design.

Just imagine how it would be if each of us,

If only for a few hours of everyday,We could be in a space that is our very own.A place that is exactly the way we want it to be

Surrounded by all the things we wanted to see,

The atmosphere we wanted feel, smell and the sound we wanted to listen to.

Private Paradise



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