FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Joe sat down for a moment to answer the 20 questions that he is asked the most...


1. What is the first thing I should know when deciding to begin a Design Project?
2. What happens in my first meeting with you?
3. What types of things should I bring to my first meeting?
4. What are some of your most important considerations when Designing?
5. Do you work in both traditional and contemporary style periods?
6. What is a Design Concept?
7. What are your favorite projects to Design?
8. What exactly is a Project Manager?
9. What types of projects would involve hiring an Architect?
10. How about hiring a Contractor?
11. What types of projects call for Specialists?
12. Which projects give the largest Return-On-Investment?
13. Do you design commercial spaces also?
14. What about outdoor spaces?
15. Do you offer services to Do-It-Yourself-ers?
16. What about Rental Apartments?
17. What qualities do you bring as a Designer?
18. What qualities would your ideal Client have?
19. What do your services cost?
20. Do you perform Design Services outside of New York City?




1. What is the first thing I should know when deciding to begin a Design Project?
Before anything happens, even prior to meeting, it is very important to have a clear budget defined and available for the project. This will determine a lot about the project as far as its scale and the scope of work that can be achieved. We work within the budget as stated by our Clients, and having a set number is necessary in outlining the goals to be achieved.


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2. What happens in my first meeting with you?
As a Designer, the first thing I always like to do is to meet Clients in the space to be designed, to both get a sense of its overall feel and specific areas of concern. I ask some questions to get to know you and how you use the space, what your vision is for the design. We then define what the work on project will consist of, and then take it from there!


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3. What types of things should I bring to my first meeting?
Design is a very visual language, so the best things to bring with you are pictures relating to the project. These can be as literal as a photo from a magazine of a room that you loved and can envision living in, or as abstract as an image of a flower whose color you were inspired by. Bring print-outs of pieces of furniture you saw on-line, a rug from a catalog, anything that you like. If we can both see an image, it helps define the visual direction the Design will take. I also love to hear adjectives that can be used to describe how you envision the feeling of the space to be designed. Would you like the space to be calm, relaxed, energized, refreshed, warm, cozy, understated, simple, grand, elegant, cheerful, sleek or eclectic? These descriptions give a direction to the design itself and help in creating a space that you will love.


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4. What are some of your most important considerations when Designing?
It is extremely important for a space to function well, which is why we work on floor plans first. Once consideration is paid to how the room is utilized and its flow, we work out where everything goes. When a plan is set, and you can move around a space with ease and comfort, then we make sure that the space looks great… now, this is the fun part! We make sure to use great colors, texture, patterns and style to synchronize the pieces in the room with the people that will be inhabiting it, because they have to be the ones who love the space that we are Designing!


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5. Do you work in both traditional and contemporary style periods?
Of course! Tastes in styles can vary from the Classical French or English periods, to Mid-Century Modern to Ultra-Contemporary and anything in between. Some projects can combine several different periods of style, which can add a lot of interest to the Design.


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6. What is a Design Concept?
This is an idea that will drive the overall feeling or “look” of the Design. For example, if a Design Concept is New England Beach Cottage, then we can imagine something light and airy with calm shades of blue, beautiful natural linen upholstery, and weathered floors and furniture. If we choose to have a Contemporary Italian Kitchen, we would focus on utilizing sleek lines, quality materials and bold color choices. Concepts can be single or multi-layered, like Buddhist Temple Meets English Library or Upscale Urban Spa Chic. All of this can be translated into choices that are as subtle or as daring as you would like. Whatever your tastes and style, we can find the right Design Concept that works for you and the space we will be Designing.


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7. What are your favorite projects to Design?
My favorites are spaces where people tend to congregate like Living Rooms, Dining Rooms and Dens. Places where people can go to relax and be with those closest to them. There is something uniquely satisfying about knowing that my Designs and ideas can improve the quality time that my Clients spend with each other, their friends and families. On the flip side, I also love to design offices! So much of these projects are about function, space planning and the proximity of one thing to another. It’s a big puzzle that is very enjoyable to solve. The best part is making the place look beautiful. Few people expect that an office can also look great, and exceeding Clients’ expectations is a great reward.


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8. What exactly is a Project Manager?
Think of a Project Manager as a single point-of-contact in the Design process. Joe Cangelosi Design can act as your Project Manager during the renovation phase of your project. We will coordinate the work of the Contractors, Architects, Expediters, Printmakers, Painters, Plumbers, Electricians, Lighting Designers, Woodworkers, Flooring and Rug Specialists, Furniture and Fabric Salespeople, Seamstresses, Landscapers, and Delivery Services. As Project Manager, we would communicate and coordinate with all the different people working together to make your space more beautiful. We then report the progress directly to you.


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9. What types of projects would involve hiring an Architect?
When a project involves the demolition, moving, or construction of any structural walls, then it is imperative that the services of an Architect are utilized. These services can be used on some other larger-scale projects as well, where a great deal of construction will be involved.


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10. How about hiring a Contractor?
We recommend that our clients acquire at least 2 different bids from Licensed and Insured Contractors. It is also recommended that you can see a few projects that each Contractor has completed, and that references are checked. Remember that there is a cost-benefit analysis in this decision: a lower bid does not necessarily mean that you should choose that particular Contractor. Sometimes, it is worth paying a bit more, within reason, for a better quality job. It is your home, after all.


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11. What types of projects call for Specialists?
The services of Specialists are great to utilize on an as-needed basis. For instance, when designing a media room, the services of sound, projection and lighting Specialists may be a great idea and would add the benefit of up-to-the-minute technology to the project. The functionality of an office or large walk-in closet may improve after a day with a Professional Organizer. When designing kitchens, it is always a good idea to have a cabinet and cabinet-fitting Specialist on-hand for the project, in order to get new and fresh ideas in that constantly evolving area.


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12. Which projects give the largest Return-On-Investment?
It is generally accepted that the design of Kitchens and Bathrooms are a major concern when prospective home-buyers are searching for their ideal residence. An up-to-date and well-planned kitchen with modern appliances, quality cabinetry and countertops is a great selling point, when the time comes to do so. Renovating your bathroom, especially the master bath, is also a great way to make your home stand out from the others on the market.


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13. Do you design commercial spaces also?
Absolutely! Stores, offices and restaurants are great fun to design and we welcome the chance to design a commercial space for you if this is what you are seeking. In designing a commercial space, it is important to note that a stricter set of building codes must be followed than those of residential spaces. For instance, fabrics must be flame retardant, and there are definite minimum construction standards for compatibility with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which makes sure that everyone can enjoy a space, regardless of any physical disability. We design not only with an eye to these regulations, but with a keen sense of style that will make your commercial space stand out from the rest!


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14. What about outdoor spaces?
Yes! Designing patios, balconies and yards are a great natural extension of an interior space. Having studied both Horticulture and Interior Design, I combine the skills of both disciplines to create an unexpected, unique and inviting space that you can enjoy while enjoying a morning cup of coffee on the terrace or sunset entertaining al fresco!


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15. Do you offer services to Do-It-Yourself-ers?
As a “D-I-Y-er” myself, it is always great to meet like-minded people who love to pick up a sander and paintbrush. Sometimes people who are creative and enjoy putting in a lot of time and hours improving their homes just need a trained fresh eye to help in making decisions. A whole day or half-day Design Consultation can offer lots of new ideas, and help you with layout, design direction and specific color and furniture choices.


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16. What about Rental Apartments?
Just because you rent an apartment rather than own does not mean you can’t have a professionally decorated home! We can focus on utilizing the existing conditions of the apartment, paint color choice, and purchasing great pieces of furniture, lighting and accessories that can you can always take with you if you decide to get a new place. Decorating your apartment is worth it, if it makes you love the place you call “home.”


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17. What qualities do you bring as a Designer?
Listening to my Clients and giving them what they ask for is my number one priority. I have found that lots of other designers simply impose their own styles and preferences in someone else’s home with no regard for the Clients’ own desires – but that is not the case here! I also offer patience, punctuality and personality – the ability to make a seemingly daunting project like home renovation into an experience that can be enjoyable and rewarding. Not to mention a brain filled with new ideas for your home and a true love for the work that I am fortunate enough to get to do every day!


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18. What qualities would your ideal Client have?
I love Clients who have a good idea of things they like, but who are also open to the many new ideas and suggestions that I have for their spaces. Decisiveness, a good attitude and a sense of humor are all great, too!


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19. What do your services cost?
It really depends on the project. For larger-scale projects, there is usually a budget that we break down into contractors, design fees, etc., but ultimately a lot will depend on the types of furnishings and items that the Client selects. For example, a stove can cost between $600 and $6,000 or more, so it will really depend on where we all choose to allocate the money within the budget. We also do smaller projects on an hourly, half-day or full-day basis. The best thing to do is to call or email so we can discuss specifics.


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20. Do you perform Design Services outside of New York City?
Yes, we do! We offer the same services to Clients with homes outside New York. These projects usually cost a bit more though, as we have to assess fees for travel time, transportation costs, hotels (if necessary) etc. It’s best to give us a call so we can discuss specifics to make sure that having us design your home would be in your budget and best interest if you live outside of New York.


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