Bayberry Cottage - Interior design in South Haven, Michigan

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How to Prepare for our First Meeting

The most important balancing act is between your wants and needs, and your designer’s freedom to think creatively to get you there.

The Interior Designers at Bayberry Cottage have to be adept at balancing all of the different priorities for your vacation home; quality, comfort, style, durability, timeliness, timelessness, budget, incorporating items you already own and love, differing opinions amongst decision makers, current trends (without being trendy), keeping with the architecture of your home - the list goes on and on, but they are all priorities to second homeowners at some level.

How do you get the absolute best from your designer and help them to balance these (often conflicting) priorities to create a space that is uniquely you? It’s all in the preparation and communication!

Our number one job during our first meeting is to listen. We’ll ask lots of questions too, so we know that our absolute “need-to-knows” are covered, but there are lots of grey areas in design and you can help by dreaming of your absolutely perfect space, and then communicating that dream to us.

The more information you can give us about the scope of work, your personal style, the way that you use your vacation home (or the way you want to) and your priorities, the more easily we’ll be able to create a space that’s perfect for you and your family.

Scope of Work

Determine the scope of your project; one room, a few, time to re-do the whole house? Is this a renovation or an update? Is it a project you would like finished all at once, or in phases?

Specifically, what problems are you hoping to solve by hiring a designer? The more information we have about the ways your vacation home is not working the way you would like, the more we can think creatively and customize your design so the entire space functions just for you.

How much would you like to spend on this project? It’s worth your time to put some thought into what you’re comfortable spending before the project starts. Early conversations about budgets can save you money long term because it’s one more piece of the priority pie that determines how your designer can best spend her time! Watch your email for Tips for Determining Your Vacation Home Project Budget, coming soon!


Put some thought into your style and have a conversation with your partner about it. What sorts of things do you both love? What are some of the things you know you’ll need to compromise on?

We ask that you spend some time on creating style boards to help to communicate your aesthetic. Save photos, and make note of the reasons why you like (or dislike) what you’re bookmarking. This is immensely helpful as, even if you feel the looks are disjointed, they’re still telling us a lot about what matters to you in terms of style! Watch your email for our Tips for Pinning video for Pinterest basics and tips for pinning to communicate your personal style.

The Way That You Live

What do you really love (or what really bothers you) about the things that you’re replacing? Is your chair the perfect depth for snuggling up with a book? Mantel too small for display? Too much fading in front of West facing windows?

Really think again about the problems you would like to solve and think in detail about the way you use your space. What’s working? What’s not? Do you really love it, or does it leave a lot to be desired? Contrasting your home against your ideal is another good way to let us know how we can best help.

We’ve got lots of questions like these that will help us to get to the bottom of all of these issues and more - it helps us to give you more value for your dollars when we’re all on the same page about what your goals are. Any information you can give us to help us create a home that supports you, your family and your lifestyle will make the entire process easier!

Go through the Lifestyle Questionnaire you will receive and answer the questions with as much detail as you can. Then add anything else you think we should know to make your personal space completely personal. Add inspirational photos to Pinterest Boards and let us know what you like about them. We’ll use this information to plan a space that is totally custom-made to be comfortable and beautiful in a way that only custom spaces can be. Together, we can create a space for you and your family that is truly unique because it’s truly you!

Project Kick-Off

At Bayberry, every job begins with a 2-hour working meeting to develop a scope of work to get your project started in the best possible way. Some designers will come to the house for free, but typically they are there to interview you and get a feel for the project. However, since the Designer isn’t being paid for her time, she’s not likely to give you ideas to move your project forward. In contrast, when you hire us for a 2-hour project kick-off, we actually work when we’re together.

You’re in a position to judge our expertise and the merit of our ideas. I know you’ll be pleased with what you learn during the consultation, plus, we send you all of our notes, and suggestions even if you decide not to move the project forward with us! We will also go over our various services and discuss how are fees are structured to find the service and level of detail that is the right fit for you.  At that time, they will also go through our processes and talk through our Letter of Agreement.

At the meeting, we’ll present you with your Dream Home by Bayberry Vision Book, and this valuable guide is yours to keep, a useful resource for your project whether you opt to hire Bayberry Cottage or go another direction! This binder will guide you through the most common contractor questions, so you can always stay ahead of your project, budgeting tips, and general information and guidelines about the whole design process. Not to mention, organized tabs and pockets to keep documentation, drawings, inspirations, and finish samples all in one place!

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