Hi, my name is Vivien Hegedus, and I am the founder, director and lead designer of VIVIDESIGN. Running a small business also means I could be considered for a thousand other titles. Fortunately, I have a great team supporting me on a project by project basis, utilising their exceptional talents in a more cost-effective way for you and more efficiently for VIVIDESIGN.
As a little girl, my idea of fun was to rearrange the furniture in my tiny bedroom and when I exhausted all the layout options, to move on to my brother’s room and create different types of storage system for his toys (weirdo!!).
I watched my grandmother selling her furniture every year and buy new ones, sewing curtains with matching cushion covers, painting the kitchen and wallpapering the living room (I realise now that she was – unbeknownst to her or anyone else at the time – an interior designer herself).
Growing up in the sexy Budapest, I was admiring old buildings thinking how I could rebuild them to salvage their souls.
After living in an old farmhouse in Switzerland, in the coolest loft that ever existed right next to the Pier 17 in downtown Manhattan, New York City, in Belgium on the picturesque countryside with my own cow grazing right outside of the kitchen window, in London at the former gatekeeper’s house of the villa of Duc d’Orléans, I moved to Perth in 2010 and now live next the most beautiful white sandy beach that stretches for miles along the Indian Ocean.
All these places came with different lifestyles, cultures and customs that shaped my aesthetics and cultivated my taste.
I have studied economics, finance, law, history and politics before I realised that what I really like doing was design. In the 2000’s I had a company where we designed IT systems and where we integrated graphic design services with marketing. All along I have been buying and selling properties, completely redesigning and rebuilding them in the meantime. In 2013 I decided to start VIVIDESIGN. I am currently back at University, doing my Masters in design. I love the design thinking process and love to play a small part in a big change. It’s extremely empowering to be able to do what I am really good at and what I have always known as my strength and passion.
I was 20, completely inexperienced and even more excited when for the first time I started a reno. We found an ugly apartment in a 102-year-old Secession styled building in downtown Budapest, on the top floor with no elevator. The apartment only had windows backing onto the courtyard (the excellence of the acoustics reached its peak at 5 am in the morning when the caretaker pulled the bins out) and its shape reminded us of a sad dachshund. In all honesty, the place looked so bad that my family expressed their condolences in advance over this crazy adventure.
But I could already see it. And sure enough, a few months later, after removing walls, completely reworking the layout and building a space from scratch whilst preserving the old features I haven’t had to convince them anymore. In fact, the apartment became the talk of the town, friends would bring up their tourist guests and architecture mates to show them around.
Eventually, when we sold it, we made a profit just shy of 100%. By that time no one doubted my choices anymore, and the serial property flipping was well on its way.
In 2013 I decided to start a business where I could lend my years of hard-earned expertise, skills and knowledge to others. VIVIDESIGN was born.
An old myth is that hiring an interior designer is for the rich. The truth is, hiring an interior designer means drawing on expert advice in situations where making a mistake could be otherwise extremely costly. You might consider hiring an interior designer in the following situations:
Interior designers have a vast amount of experience and knowledge of the built environment. As they work very closely with architects, builders and engineers, they have a sound level of understanding of blueprints, inspection codes, health and safety regulations, structural and mechanical systems.
They also work with the different specialists involved in the building process thus have an integrated knowledge of electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, tiling, painting, flooring, wall covering and the list goes on. Hence interior designers understand and know what goes on “under the surface of the building” and they utilise this knowledge when they start to make layout changes in a renovation, or when selecting finishes for a new built.
As opposed to a decorator, who only deals with the aesthetical aspect of a project, interior designers treat every project (even the very small ones) holistically. As designers, they walk through the design process with the client, thoroughly examining what the client’s needs are and creating solutions for the best possible outcome. Interior designers also deal with finances, timeline and project management, often managing complex projects, involving numerous parties and a large budget. Thus they have processes in place, appropriate insurance and enough resources to deliver on time and on the budget, offering liability and warranty for their work.
The cost of hiring an interior designer varies so much around the world, even in the same city, I am not surprised that there is still so much confusion around the industry.
First of all, it is important to distinguish between a junior and a senior designer, as they are very different in term of quality of work, the level of experience and of course, the price. The other factor is the big companies and the small firms. With a big overhead cost as it is in a large company, the client will have to pay a higher price, although the large company doesn’t necessary offer a better service. In fact, often the junior designer will do the work even if the senior designer’s rate is billed.
In small studios, like ours, the client works with the very few people who were hired in the first place, most often the lead designer. It is a very intimate process, and the best way to deliver a great experience.
The other aspect is the old tradition where interior designers “mark up” the price of every item they process for the client. Builders do this too. This “markup” could be somewhere around 20%-30% on top of the retail price. Now, if we take into consideration that interior designers already receive trade prices on many of these items, we can see how some can make a pretty good income from this.
At VIVIDESIGN we believe in transparency, and we wanted to work in a system that is fair. Thus we decided to not only NOT DO any “markups”, but we actually SHARE our trade discounts with our clients. Hence our clients can get up to 20% off the normal price of the products we select for them. This results in a very effective saving that basically recovers our fees, sometimes even exceeds it.
The other major change we made to the traditional way designers work is that we don’t bill hours (unless this is something the client explicitly asks for). We believe that delivering a service for our clients most efficiently is a mutual goal, hence we work with a flat rate system, and an airtight design process where we are extremely conscious of deadlines and budget.
Some practices still charge an extra on the products they specify. At VIVIDESIGN we share the trade discounts we receive with our clients, thus saving them money up to 20%.
This is a very tricky and possibly the most frequently asked question. If you think about that it is possible to buy a sofa for $400 and also for $40.000, and for any price in-between, it’s easy to see that the same project could cost anything between x and 100x.
However, there are two ways to calculate a baseline for your project.
You can calculate how much you would need to spend on furnishing and decorating (this excludes white goods, entertaining devices and window treatment) the following ways:
You might ask, what if your 4×2 home’s value is $600.000? How much do you need to spend? This just highlights the issue with cost and budget, and how it can vary even on the same project. For example, we might spend $12.000 on the main bedroom, but only $1000 on the spare room. It’s completely up to you.
One thing to consider is, that you will spend 90.228 hours of your entire life working and more than half of those hours will go towards the mortgage payments. You really want to factor in some extra (5-8% of your home value) to actually make the most of it, surrounded by things you love and serve you and your family the best.
We work with an airtight process that has been tried and tested throughout the years. It is designed so that we allow enough time for every stage of the project, but eliminate factors that could potentially delay the job. Still, as often we rely on third parties, or there are other influences, the larger a project is, the more likely that the duration will be varying.
In general, our short turnaround services will take 2 weeks (Your Style Guide, Your Renovation Guide), or 3 weeks (Your Complete Room Design, E-design).
We can design and fit-out a display apartment in around 6 weeks.
As for the all-inclusive services, a lot depends on the project, the other players and you. In the past, our experience was that they usually run for around 4 months or 12-16 weeks.
Yes, absolutely! And that is also something we encourage you to do. Having a great plan that is well thought out and covers every aspect of the future is an awesome start and allows you to focus on one area at the time. If you schedule the entire process with your interior designer, it will be ensured that you are taking the right steps in the right order, and eliminates the risk of making huge costly mistakes.
This is the very reason why we created the service we call Your Complete Room Design, because it gives you all the information you need, but enables you to take your time and finish the project your way at your own pace.
As the interior designer you hire will possibly learn a lot about you given that we work in people’s homes and know details about their lives, my advice is to choose someone you can trust! There are many amazing designers out there, and you are probably browsing through their previous work (keep in mind, most of the work can’t be photographed sadly). Apart from looking at photos of their work, I encourage you to get a feel for their presence on different social media channels and their website. By doing that, you will have an overall impression of the designer, their style and their approach.
I suggest that you don’t choose someone based on price, or on one pretty photo. Do your homework and dig deeper. Engaging the interior designer for a consultation is probably the best way to find out if they are the right fit for you and also if they provide the kind of service you are after.
Have you got more questions? We are happy to answer them for you!