Services Q & A

 Questions & Answers for Chats & VIP Day Services

Question: What is the average budget of the person who engages Chats & VIP Days?

Answer: We engage Couture Chats & VIP Days with Clients who spend $700 on tile for their rental cabin to over 8 figures on construction & furnishings.

Question: How big is Couture Chateau and where are you located? Do you have a store?

Answer: Ann McDonald is the CEO/Founder, Principal Designer & hands on heart behind Couture Chateau. She engages every client. All of our support staff is remote or hired by the project. For the past 4 years we have worked with the same team who enjoy the freedom this arrangement provides. They are true experts in their areas. At any given time we will have between 3 – 10 people staffed on projects. We do not have a store. Our main office is a 600 square foot fully converted Design Studio in Orinda, California. Our satellite office is located in Lake Tahoe.

 Question: Why would I spend $700 or $1,500 on a Designer who won’t go shopping with me?

Answer: It is precisely BECAUSE we don’t go shopping with you that you should engage our services. We have worked for over 20 years in the Luxury Design Industry. We know you can shop and pick up samples. Our job is to Design. Our time is best spent evaluating your project, assessing what is right based on who you are and what your goals are and then with fresh eyes making professional recommendations for you. We know what is out there. It’s our job to know. We don’t shop with our Full Service Bespoke Clients either. 

Question: Who is a candidate for Chats & VIP Days?

Answer: Each description below is an actual 2012 or 2013 Couture Chateau Chat or VIP Day Client:

  • I just bought a vacation home and it needs updating & furniture.
  • My husband and I can’t agree on anything for our second home. We need a décor mediator.
  • I thought it would be fun to buy furniture in Tahoe City, but everything looks the same, even the expensive pieces.
  • I am working with a contractor and he needs my finish choices, YESTERDAY.
  • My daughter wants to design her first apartment. I am paying but she won’t listen to me.
  • I am managing my own Design during the remodel but need some professional data points. I don’t want to hire a Designer or Decorator because I know what I am doing, but I need an extra set of eyes.
  • I am a future Full Service Design Client who is about to undertake a large construction project. I would like someone to give me honest answers about cost, timing and process before we start.
  • I am a contractor and need to give my client some decorating options. Can you write a report for me? 

Question: On my VIP Day when you come to the job site will you measure, take pictures and talk with my contractor?

Answer: NO. When I visit your job site on your VIP Day I will be there to assess, walk the project and take notes only. I am not there to measure, take pictures or talk with your contractor. You will receive your write up and action item checklist within 4 Business Days of your VIP Day. If you are in the middle of a large project, many Clients engage a series of VIP Days (Package of 3) and we customize our write up accordingly or they engage us in Full Service Finish or Design. Both of these services are charged by the square footage.

Question: What is your hourly rate?

Answer: We do not charge by the hour. 

QUESTION: I don’t live in the Bay Area or Lake Tahoe even though my property there needs attention. Can I use a Chat or VIP Day?

ANSWER: For Chats & VIP Days, we offer Skype™ or FaceTime™, divided into 1 hour segments for more comprehensive counsel over distance. Simply indicate when you purchase. If you are in the Lake Tahoe Basin area and are flexible on time, Ann will work your Chat in on one of her many trips to Projects in the area at no additional charge.

We also have Full Service Design. Do not let distance keep you from getting the counsel you deserve.

Couture Chateau Clients from 2012 alone have homes in Canada, Argentina, New York, Kansas, Florida, California, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan and Nevada.

QUESTION: VIP Days are at my project, why aren’t the Chats?

ANSWER: We have found over the years that getting clients out of their space and into a neutral ground clears the air for design “aha moments”. The practical reality of preparing questions & thinking about a project to present and ask questions of a professional is a large part of the process. It’s the proverbial stretching before you exercise. It matters.

Question: How do I buy a Chat or VIP Day?

Answer: You may purchase on line via our website. If you prefer to mail a check, we will schedule your Chat or VIP Day as soon as payment has cleared. We are happy to answer any questions via email about payment.

Question: Can I rush and get my VIP Day tomorrow?

Answer: No. We do not rush. We have spent years developing the most efficient system we can to equip Clients with real, practical solutions to design dilemmas as quickly as possible for lasting results. We take seriously the pre-meeting planning process so our Clients receive value.

Question: Can I see samples of completed Chats or VIP Days?

Answer: Yes. We often publish Client implemented projects on our Blog and submit them for National Press. In 2012 alone we had over 15 examples of DIY featured in National Lifestyle Blogs and other Press.

Question: Can I see your complete Portfolio before I engage a Chat or VIP Day?

Answer: You may see many examples of our work on our Website, Blog, Pinterest and in the Local & National Press. Many of our Bespoke Projects are completed with non-disclosure agreements and are not available for public view. We do have a Hard Bound Portfolio Book that you may purchase for $50 with a lead time of 3 weeks. If you are a serious inquiry for Full Service Bespoke Design, please contact our Studio Manager, Rachel at


READ TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR COUTURE CHATS & VIP DAYS CAREFULLY. THEY ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE. *Terms & Conditions: All VIP Days + Chats must be pre-paid. Non-Refundable, Non-Transferable, Must be scheduled at least 10 days in advance for use within Calendar Year of payment. May only be re-scheduled once due to unforeseen circumstance. NO MORE than 2 people allowed at VIP Day + Chat, example: Husband & Wife, Mother  & Daughter. Only 1 person may be the main recipient of counsel. See example of Mother Daughter session above. Skype or Facetime Sessions will be divided into 1 hour increments to maximize content & should be scheduled no more than 2 weeks apart for content retention. 

**Couture Chateau’s Daily Blog was nominated without knowledge by a highly respected Interior Designer, Blogger and faithful Couture Chateau Blog Reader for Best New Design Blog, 2012, Design Bloggers Conference, 2013. Design Bloggers Conference is the largest most respected Industry Event of its’ kind. To be nominated is an incredible honor.

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