Frank Pitman Designs
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Architectural Drawings, Attic Conversion, Basement Design, Basement Remodeling, Bathroom Design, Building Design, Deck Design, Drafting, Energy-Efficient Homes, Floor Plans, Handicap-Accessible Design, Historic Building Conservation, Home Additions, Home Extensions, Home Remodeling, Home Restoration, House Plans, Kitchen Design, Kitchen Remodeling, Landscape Plans, Laundry Room Design, Mudroom Design, Pool House Design & Construction, Space Planning, Staircase Design
Aliso Viejo, Coto De Caza, Dana Point, East Irvine, El Toro, Foothill Ranch, Irvine, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, North Tustin, Portola Hills, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Silverado, Trabuco Canyon, Tustin
Frank is an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) with six ASID platinum awards for design excellence, and is certified by the California Council for Interior Design Certification.
The client hired our firm to design her living /dining area after an initial consultation that was free of charge. Although I advised her to continue interviewing other designers that were already scheduled, she insisted on moving forward with us. We agreed to cap our design fees for the areas at $2000.00, which for 25 years has been our minimum deposit to start any project, based on an hourly fee of $150.00 per hour. The project was very small, with a very small budget, so we offered a cap on her design fees, not to exceed $2000.00. Purchases through Frank Pitman Designs, had any been made, would reflect a 35% commission over the net cost of furniture, etc., but there was no obligation whatsoever to purchase anything. This is a very easy, open ended, generous contract, with no obligation to purchase through us. At no time did anyone at Frank Pitman Designs ever allude to, mention, or attempt in any way, to charge her any more than the agreed upon $2000.00 for our services. The client had no basis to speculate that we would have dishonored our contract in future services.
Our records indicate that on the initial designs alone we had given the project at least twice the amount of time than the 11 hours we billed for.
Upon design consultation, the client described her preferred style and color scheme to be "contemporary, light, airy, beach themed, with light colors of off-whites, blues and greens with a compliment of yellow." We then presented two separate floor-plan options, each with drawings and elevations, and furniture selections within that genre. We procured bids for custom built-in options, and options of different fabric combinations were also presented. We created an eclectic mix of furniture, from medium toned sun-washed wood finishes and fabrics in colors that she herself described. The same would have been presented by the vast majority of any qualified designers given the design direction and description by the client.
She rejected the entire design and options, preferring to go more modern, and presented to us pictures of things that she liked including chrome and black wall units and mirrored chests from Sears and Walmart. We honored our agreement and moved forward creating re-selections, still honoring the $2,000 cap on fees.
Since I was getting conflicting design direction, I invited her for a day of shopping at wholesale showrooms and beginning price-point furniture stores so she could identify the styles that were appealing to her. We found what she repeatedly exclaimed to be the "Sofa of her dreams" at a wholesale manufacturer that is not open to the public. The sofa was only shipped as a chair and sofa set, and the vendor would not break up the set. She asked that I continue to negotiate with them, which I did for days until I was able to procure on her behalf, the sofa only, at the wholesale price. (She is not aware of this because she ended our relationship while these negotiations were in progress).
Also on our shopping day with the client for re-selections, we put together an entire furniture package with options from an affordable furniture retailer. They were having a sale, and the pricing was amazing. By doing so, Frank Pitman Designs was knowingly forfeiting all opportunities to earn commissions for furnishings but was happy to do so to help the client get what she wanted, at the price she wanted to pay for them. At the end of our day together she thanked me for my expertise and knowledge for navigating all the sources and helping her to make decisions.
Shortly after our shopping day, she fired us. The only reason she gave was that the budget was way too high. She asked for a refund of any remaining fees not yet used.
She then started working directly with the furniture store consultant that I introduced her to. The same store where we found all of the furniture that she liked. The store designer also measured her space (after we had done so), drew floor plans (after we had done so), and presented her with options including those that were made with us while she was still working with Frank Pitman Designs.
She never ordered nor approved anything that they presented. She claims in her review that I wasted her time, and that I was so far off what she wanted that it was "ridiculous." This remark is inconsistent with the fact that while shopping with her there were many pieces she expressed a liking for, including items which, after "firing" us, she went back to the store to further negotiate for. Given that she had this much further interest in those items, items which I had helped her find, these facts are wholly inconsistent with her remark that I had "wasted her time."
She also "doubts" I spent half of the actual hours she paid for. She was billed for 11 hours. We spent 5 hours at the furniture showrooms alone, not to mention the time spent taking meticulous measurements and reference photos at her home, creating her client box for her files and samples, shopping for furniture to fit in the spaces, shopping for fabrics to complement, ordering and managing samples, drawing scale floor-plans and elevations, and procuring pricing and bids.
Now, we are forced to spend more valuable time defending ourselves in a public forum against these meritless accusations. Our services were textbook spot on, and professional. It is our opinion that our professional reputation has been injured without just cause every time anyone has seen her review.
In the end we had spent far more hours at her home, in the design studio, and in the field, than what we billed for. The remarks in her review are inconsistent with the facts of the services we performed, our diligent efforts to satisfy, and the compliments she gave in person regarding the final selections.