The Design Process: Step by step from begining to end

By Kathryn Marsh

 
This is a detailed review of our design process outlining the steps that we will go through when doing our Premiere White Glove design service option. (Keep in mind that the steps outlined below will vary depending on the level of complexity of your project.)
 
1: The Initial Consultation 
 
We start with the initial preliminary meeting, the purpose of which is to get to know about you and your project. We will discuss the scope and time frame of your project and what your goals and budget are. We will begin our proprietary style and color analysis, which we use to identify and understand your personal preferences. In this process we will learn and discuss your design style, lifestyle and how you want to use the space. It is vital that all decision-makers are at this meeting; allocate two to three hours. 
 
During this meeting we will cover the following:
 
A.   Details of your project: What rooms will be included, the intended use for each room and your ideas and goals for each.
 
B.   Analyzing your style and color preferences: Likes, dislikes, and lifestyle. As we complete the style and color analysis we will discover your personal color and style preferences.
 
C.   Your budget: The budget is the key to your interior design project. Without a budget we cannot begin to move past the conversation stage. Think of your budget as a guide, an amount you are willing to spend on your project. The budget is you responsibility; it needs to be taken seriously. A clear budget allows us to allocate your resources across the entire project, and establish a plan with your priorities in mind. If you are not sure how to develop a realistic budget we will work with you to develop one. Design fees are calculated separately from the budget.
 
D.  The design process and letter of agreement: We will go over the design process and discuss time frames and schedules and discuss the letter of agreement.
  
E.   Assigning a contact person: An important task is to assign one individual who will be the point of contact during the project. This selection will be included in our letter of agreement and the assigned person has authority to make decisions and sign off on all aspects of the project. The authorized person will be our prime contact during the project. They will be responsible for communicating any ideas or decisions to his or her partner. We will also clarify the preferred and acceptable means of communication.
  
F.   Addressing your questions and concerns: we will discuss and address any questions you might have about your project.
 
 
2: Proposal, Letter of Agreement and Deposit 
 
A.   Following the meeting we will produce a proposal that includes a detailed list of services fees and a projected time frame for the completion of your project. Once you have agreed to this, we will sign a letter of agreement and collect a deposit check. In the letter of agreement we will detail the fee structure, policies and procedures, as well as designer and client responsibilities. Once the letter of agreement is signed and the initial deposit collected we will begin the design process.
 
3: Preliminary Design 
 
A.   Site Measurement:
 
Depending on the scope of your project site measurement may or may not be completed in one day. We will take detailed measurements and photographs of all the project spaces. Where suitable and possible we will also arrange to have any contractors and tradesmen present to take their own measurements for the purpose of estimating and specifying their portions of the project. This process will continue thought the project wherever appropriate and necessary.
 
 
C.   Preliminary Design Plan: Space planning with a well thought out floor plan is a critical step in a successful design. After all the measurements have been completed we develop floor plans for each room. These allow us to decide on what can fit in a room and to establish scale, flow, and furniture arrangements options.
 
The amount of time this takes will vary depending on the scale of your project. We will schedule a meeting during which we’ll review the floor plan options and discuss the benefits of each. It is helpful to have all decision-makers at this meeting.
 
 
4: Commencement Meeting 
 
A.   The commencement meeting usually occurs within a couple of weeks after the letter of agreement is received. During this meeting we will review preliminary design ideas, requirements, concepts and project schedules. This is an information exchange where we make sure that we are all on the same page prior to proceeding further with the design process.
 
 
B.   We will develop a projected time-table for each phase of the project. This will include design, purchasing, and ordering, work carried out by tradesmen, and the final installation. The schedule will be reviewed during our commencement meeting. Where necessary the schedule will be adjusted due to unforeseen circumstances. An additional detailed schedule will be developed for renovation and tradesman. Depending on the complexity of the project the completion time can be several months. For example custom furniture can have lead times of 12 -16 weeks.
 
 
5: Design Scheme
 
After the commencement meeting, we then move on to the next step of the process which is developing your design scheme. In this phase we will be creating the color palette, picking fabric, furniture, finishes and designing built-in pieces if necessary. We will choose flooring, wall coverings, counters, cabinetry, window treatments, and hardware selections. A reflective ceiling plan detailing your lighting requirements will also be done.
  
6: Presentation and Sign-Off
 
 A.   Plan Presentation Meeting: Once we have completed your design we will schedule a plan presentation meeting. All decision makers must be at this meeting.  We will present and go through the design in detail room by room discussing all elements of the plan. By this time we should have a complete design scheme which meets your approval. We will prepare and present design boards showing floor plans, furniture, fabric, product, accessory and finish selections for your approval. At this time we will also present a detailed budget outlining the cost of each item, and work orders for sign off where appropriate. Getting the design approved in a timely manner is critical for maintaining accurate pricing, production schedules and product availability. Delays in approval and execution could result in increased costs or delays associated with replacing certain items that may be no longer available. Once we have a sign off on the design plan we will move into the project execution stage.   
 
 
B. Change Orders: During the project there will be occasions where we make adjustments to the project. These can originate from your requesting either additional work, changes or expansion of the projects’ scope. They can also originate from job realities which occur mid project. For example structural or regulatory issues that were not apparent until the project was underway.  Whenever these occasions arise we will issue a change order detailing the scope and costs for the changes.  No additional work will be started without a signed agreement. Wherever possible any additional work will be fit in to the schedule to maximize efficiency.
 
 
7: Work Orders & Purchasing
 
Prior to engaging contractors, subcontractors and tradesmen on your behalf you will receive a work order detailing the scope and costs. (Freight & delivery are usually billed separately). These work orders are a necessary mechanism to make sure that we are on the same page and that you are aware of all expenditures throughout the project.
 
 
8: Project Management - Tradesmen, Contractors/Sub Contractors
 
We will schedule and supervise work to be done. The management of this process is vitally important to maintaining the integrity of the design and ensures a high quality of workmanship. This process is ongoing thought the project and we will make sure that each and every phase of work is properly completed to the highest standards. We will monitor furniture and custom ordered pieces delivery times.  We will inform you of the progress of each item and phase and meet with you as necessary to keep your project on track.
 
 
9: Setting Up and Decorating 
 
This is where everything comes together. Construction is finished, furniture arrives, and window treatment installation takes place. Accessories and art are put in place.  The decorating process is when the vision becomes reality.
During this phase we will also do final accessorizing. We will purchase accessories and place them in appropriate positions thought the space. We will provide you with a detailed separate invoice outlying the cost of each and you can then decide which items you wish to keep and we will return the rest.
 
 
 
10: Final Punch-out List
 
These are the items that may need to be done at the end of the project. Such as touching up paint or tracking down a missing item are all handled with the utmost urgency. We will do a room by room walk through and itemize each and every thing that needs to be addressed. Each and every item will be diligently addressed to your satisfaction.
 
 

Now it’s time to settle in and love where you live! 

 
 
 
 
 

 

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