Jan Hiltz Interiors LLC
3D Rendering, Basement Design, Bathroom Design, Bedroom Design, Closet Design, Color Consulting, Custom Bathroom Vanities, Custom Blinds & Shades, Custom Bookcases, Custom Built-ins, Custom Cabinets, Custom Entertainment Centers, Custom Fireplace Mantels, Custom Furniture, Custom Home Bars, Custom Kitchen Cabinets, Custom Pantries, Custom Rugs, Custom Shelving, Custom Walk-in Closets, Dining Room Design, Drafting, Floor Plans, Furniture Selection, Home Office Design, Home Theater Design, Interior Design, Kids Bedroom Design, Kitchen Design, Laundry Room Design, Lighting Design, Living Room Design, Nursery Design, Playroom Design, Space Planning, Sunroom Design & Construction, Kitchen Remodeling
Cannondale, Darien, East Norwalk, Easton, Fairfield, Georgetown, Greens Farms, New Canaan, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, South Salem, Southport, Stamford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, Wilton, Westchester County, Long Island, Lower Fairfield County
Lauren is not one of those clients. She contacted us through Houzz and was very upfront regarding her budget of $20,000 for a dining, living room area, and some miscellaneous other areas. I, of course, mentioned that although workable it would be limiting. Our normal initial Design fee for these areas would be $2,700 for the spaces, but we gave her a discount and charged her $900.00 instead of the $2,700. Also in our contract, we waived our fee of $200.00 travel time into NYC from Westport, CT, which takes an entire day of our time. Not once but 3 times. No appointments were ever missed. We met to assess the project, went in again with a contractor to assess painting needs, and again to present her full design presentation. Not to mention that after her initial consultation with us - we took her inspiration pictures and notes we had taken- to our April visit to High Point Furniture Market and spent countless hours searching vendors that could meet the price sensitive furniture needs of Lauren. We stand behind everything we sell without question and want to be confident it will hold up. Several weeks after her presentation, we then spent an entire day buying her lunch and bringing her to projects we had worked on so that she could sit and feel the furniture we were suggesting and see the draperies we were suggesting.
We bent over backwards to try and bring her to understand our design scheme, quality of merchandise and ask our clients any questions she might have. She then texted us she had some issues and would contact us when resolved. We didn’t hear from her for months. When she resurfaced it was before the Holidays when we are in the midst of getting our other clientele, who we had been working with for the past months, their projects completed and installed for the Holidays. Lauren now wanted a “more Modern” look. A more modern look was not what was asked for in the beginning of the project with all her inspiration photos– so it would mean starting over. She texted me that she had to speak with me urgently – there is really nothing urgent in Design except for the project we were currently involved in which was to get a house renovated for the client’s move in date. The next text from Lauren was insulting and threatening to sue me. I will never work with a client whose first bump in the road results in their threatening to sue me and demanded a return of their Design Fee. Upon this point, I had no choice but to refuse further correspondence.
Here was my email to her parting ways and this is why she feels a need to retaliate by writing a nasty review.
Start of email:
"We are sorry for that awful text. We started your project in February of last year. We gave you a tremendous discount from our normal fee of $2,700 for the size of your project and even waived the $250.00 fee for our assessment of your project. We also waived our $200.00 travel fee for each visit to your apartment, which was a total of three times (a total of $600.00). We also, did not charge you reimbursable expenses for parking at the rate of $65.00 each visit (a total of $195) along with the $17.00 for tolls each time (a total of $51.00). My hourly consultation rate is $250.00 an hour - I met with you in the summer to visit a variety of showrooms so you could sit on the furniture you were considering and visited 2 of my clients’ homes to view their drapery and their furniture. A total of 5 hours was spent at $250.00 an hour or $1,250.00 total. No monies were charged for this entire day of service. So as I see it, I am in the red for hourly and out of pocket expenses for $2,096.00.
You then disappear for 4 months for some personal situation and reappear and think we can simply drop all our other clients who we have been working with us during this time. When you come back into the picture, you request a more modern look. Totally different than the original inspiration pictures we were shown by you, this means we would be starting over.
Our contract for providing preparation of layouts, furniture plans, drawings and other materials illustrating recommended design concepts for your original request and provided inspiration pictures has been fulfilled as you have in your possession our Design Binder. This binder as you probably fail to realize, takes weeks to assemble and bring to fruition; and our $900.00 initial design fee you paid does not even come close to covering the time invested by 2 principals of the company, an associate and our intern. Additionally, we typically never allow our clients to keep our Design Binders due to the fact that it is our intellectual property. Due to the circumstances - we are not looking for its return. Please see the attached agreement for your review in case you have forgotten what was agreed upon. We have gone above and beyond to meet your design needs. At this time, I agree it is time to part ways as we cannot afford to keep you as a client. We wish you luck with your design endeavor."
End of email.
To make it clear, we are not unlike any other professional who gets paid for their time. As you can see, we were more than fair and Lauren received excellent service based on our agreed upon contract. We are fortunate to have wonderful clientele that appreciates the time and effort it takes to design, and create their beautiful homes. After 30 years in the Design Industry – this is my first encounter of this nature – I guess like any business, it’s bound to happen eventually no matter how hard we try to please everyone and meet their needs.