MICHAEL FITZSIMMONS DECORATIVE ARTS
Over 30 years specializing in the Arts & Crafts field
How we work - FAQs
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Below are answers to some frequently asked questions that hopefully will give you a better idea of what it is that we can do, and how we might help you with a contemplated project or fit into an ongoing one.  If you have specific questions or would like to explore working together, please feel free to call or us.
What design services can you provide?
We are specialists in historic buildings and interiors from the 1880's to the 1920's.  We offer a full selection of space planning and interior design services, and have worked on additions to period structures, new construction in an historic style, interior decoration to complement an existing home, historically-accurate period restoration, and everything in between.  We have teams of contractors, specialty trades and architects that we can coordinate with to tackle any size and complexity of project.

What if I already have an architect or contractor?
We are happy to coordinate with your architect or contractor.  People often like to get us involved to insure the greatest degree of accuracy and integration in their project.  Most architects, and fewer contractors, are historical specialists, and we can bring our intimate knowledge of the period to help solve issues, make selections or develop solutions that fit with the style and history of the project.

What if I'm in another part of the country?  Do you only work in the Midwest?
While most of our projects are in the Midwest, we can take on two or three out-of-town projects a year.  We have done work in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia and New York, among other states.

Can you describe your working process?
Most projects divide into two logical phases - the Design Phase and the Implementation Phase.  We charge an hourly fee based on the scope of the project for all Design Phase work, which includes meetings, development of the program, drawing and plan reviews and so forth.  For the Implementation Phase, we charge a lower hourly fee, and work on any purchases on a retail basis, usually with a small discount extended to you wherever possible.  You agree to purchase any product or service that we normally provide through us, but you never pay more for anything purchased than you normally would on your own.  Sometimes the perfect solution, be it a sofa or a television, is not cost-effective or simpler to get through us.  In these instances, we step out of the way, but are happy to offer guidance and advice as needed.

What size project will you take on?
We are happy to work on virtually any size project, from a powder room remodeling to an entire house.  For me, the satisfaction comes from the result, and the happiness of my clients, not from the size of the job.

In addition to furniture, lighting and accessories, what other sorts of items can you provide for my project?
We can supply appliances, floor and wall tile, fabrics, wallpapers, and virtually anything that is integrated into or attached to a structure.  Depending on the size and complexity of the project, many clients choose to have us handle virtually everything for them.  The only thing I won't do is deliver drywall!

Do you design kitchens?
Yes, we have designed or assisted on numerous kitchens.  In addition to working with the major cabinet manufacturers like WoodMode or Crown Point, we also have a wonderful, and quite affordable,  Amish cabinet shop that can do totally custom work.  Please click here to see examples of some of our kitchens.

Do you do any garden or landscape design?
Yes, we now can offer garden and landscape design to our clients.  We are working with several local landscapers to detail and implement the designs that we can generate.  Due to this, we are only able to work locally at this point, but I forsee in the future a time when we could generate a detailed plan for an out-of-town client and then hand it off to someone in their area to implement. Click here to see some pictures of a garden we did in Oak Park last year.  If you have a garden project that you would like to discuss, please feel free to call or email me.

Do you only work on Arts & Crafts projects?
No, although I will confess that it is the historical period I am most comfortable with.  I feel confident in being able to successfully work with projects that range from the Victorian period, through the Arts & Crafts and into Tudor or Colonial Revival, all the way up to the early Art Deco period.  I have recently done two modern apartments in Chicago, and found them very enjoyable.  Please contact me if you are interested in discussing such a concept.

Do you offer any other services?
In addition to design services as described above, we can assist with color selection, window treatments, painting, faux-finishes, wallpapers, upholstery and re-upholstery work, and home staging.  We work with several local furniture makers for custom-designed and crafted furniture.  We also offer a "quick fix" program, where, for a fixed fee, we will come in and suggest ways to bring a room or series of rooms into focus and completion.  You can then choose to have us oversee and manage the implementation of those suggestions, or take them on yourself.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss a project of your own, or for more information or clarification on any of the above questions.  I look forward to working with you!
-Michael

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