Cori Halpern

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Design that brings your personal style to life.

Monthly Archives: November 2014

graphic diamond

What I know for sure… November 25, 2014

Lytton Park FR sofa detail

Lytton Park Project. Photo by Stephani Buchman.

I love being an Interior Designer.

I get to meet interesting people, my job is different every day, and I get to create beautiful spaces. I love beautiful things and everyday I get to work with gorgeous fabrics, furniture, tiles, flooring and colour. Lots of colour! I give my clients 110% each and every day. I mean, who else gets really excited by a fabulous toilet?? That service and attention to detail, is what makes me very good at my job. I love turning my clients’ dreams into reality.

There is one thing that I absolutely know for sure – when it comes to design, construction, renovation, custom work, fabric and furniture YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Always. No exceptions.

People think that they are getting a deal if they hire a cheap contractor. No, you are not. You are getting cheap construction. It is that simple.

Your home is important, and it should be. You should only be hiring professionals who are exactly that – professional. Make the commitment to do the project brilliantly. Do it properly. Only use quality product, quality materials, and hire qualified contractors and trades to work on your home.

I have seen it over and over again where clients think that they will save a few bucks, cut some corners, and hire the cheapest guy out there to renovate the bathroom, or the kitchen, or the basement. This ALWAYS ends in disaster. In truth, the client saves no money, as often the budget contractor has under estimated his costs, only provides a labour quote, and ultimately has to go back to the client for more money. Plus, the client has to run around and buy all their own materials. This is not efficient, productive, or professional. You are not saving money this way, trust me.

The estimate for your project, when you use a Designer and a reputable Contractor, should include your material costs. The Designer and the Contractor should be responsible for procuring all materials and finishes. This way, proper deliver and installation schedules and timelines can be met. A proper estimate is given after the concept and the creative work is done by the Designer. Only then, will your pricing be accurate. Do not “go rogue” on your Designer, by thinking you can save a few dollars by purchasing things yourself, installing things yourself, or making colour choices yourself. Work with your Designer to get the end result that you want.


What I know for sure is that everyone wants their home to be beautiful.

What I know for sure is that achieving that dream takes hard work, and a lot of skill and expertise. Hiring a Designer and a great contractor will not only ensure the smooth success of the project, but will also make for a very happy client.

IDMC webinar

It has been a roller coaster of a week.

Everyone has these kinds of weeks, I’m sure….but I have been having troubles with one client in particular.  Here’s the thing – if you are going to hire a Designer, then HIRE a Designer.  Do NOT engage my services, and then pick your own paint colours, select AND install your own hardwood floor, buy your own fabric and please, please, please do not hire the contractor that I warned you not to hire.  That was the start of my week…

Then, the most wonderful thing happened.  I attended the Interior Design Master Class 2014 Seminar on Wednesday, November 19th, in Toronto.  I had heard about this seminar on Twitter.  It was my New Year’s Resolution for 2014 to be more “tech and social media savvy” and joining Twitter was on my to do list.  I have never been a huge social media fan, but I am really enjoying it now!  I am connected with a number of smart and funny people, in the Design World as well as in other areas of interest such as travel, food, and the Arts.  Anyways, the seminar – it was brilliant!  I have never really attended that type of conference before, and I did not know what to expect.  I signed up because I knew I needed to do something that was “out of the box” for me, something different, something that would never have occurred to me before.  It was the best money that I ever spent… !

Rather than being intimidated, I was incredibly inspired! I was fortunate to be sitting at a table with some of the wonderful Designers that I follow on Twitter.  Everyone was incredibly friendly and eager to share experiences and knowledge.  People were more than willing to discuss “Design Disasters”, as well as tips for success, and advice on the business and technical aspects of Interior Design.  We laughed, we shared, we asked questions, and spent the day meeting new people and developing new strategies for the future.  I was especially touched that so many Designers were willing to come out and spend the day giving their advice, and helping their fellow Designers.  It was truly inspirational.  I was bursting with ideas by the time I had to leave.  And I didn’t even want it to be over!

So, next time you are on the fence, waffling back and forth, just take a leap….step outside the box!  Do something different!  They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and getting the same results, right?  So – try something new!  Shake things up, change your perspective!  I am telling you, it will work…

This principle can be applied to every aspect of life – whether you want to renovate your kitchen, start a new career, travel someplace new, or try a new food.  Sometimes a “shake-up” is just what the doctor ordered.  In the world of design, it’s amazing what a fresh new paint colour can do.  Add some new toss cushions.  Completely remodel your bathroom.  Renovate and create that Master Suite that you have wanted.


This leads to my most recent “Aha Moment”….  If you want something to change, you have to change it.  And then be open to all of the wonderful rewards that will come your way.

I learned this from my new friends…

“Buy The Bag!”

“Do not cheapen your worth!”

Thank you, Meredith Heron, for your humour and for letting me know that it is okay to say “No”.

“Cheap Designers get cheap clients.”

“Be upfront and have clear communication with clients – they are not customers, it’s a relationship”

Thank you, Jonathan Legate for your graciousness and honesty.

“You MUST blog!”

Thank you, Wendy Hicken, for reminding me that I am remarkable.

And finally, Thank you to all of the fabulous Interior Designers and Suppliers at IDMC2014 who were so generous and kind and funny.  I look forward to our paths crossing again soon!