Taking the mystery out of interior design starts with understanding the process. Knowing what to expect from your Interior Designer and knowing what is expected from you makes the experience enjoyable and gratifying. Let’s look at the steps involved keeping in mind that each project is unique and the steps may be adjusted as needed to accommodate the different needs of each client.
1) Consultation is scheduled: Our initial meeting enables us to determine your needs, how you use the space and your expectations concerning the interior design of your home or office. During this meeting, we will go over your budget, our fees and costs and your time frame for completion of the project. We want you to understand how we work and know that we will be there guiding you through the design process, adding suggestions and inspiration and making you comfortable with the experience.
2) Contract: We will prepare a contract outlining our services and fee structure for your review. Once you approve, contracts are signed and professional fees are paid, the interior design process begins.
3) Information Gathering Phase: We will measure your space noting the architectural details and the space impression. Equally important is measuring and photographing any pieces of furniture you are planning on integrating into your new interior design. During this phase, we also discuss any ideas and thoughts you may have and evaluate any photos you may have collected that demonstrate what you envision.
4) Design Phase: Our next step is preparing a space plan, usually drawn to ¼” scale, incorporating existing pieces of furniture as well as proposed selections. If elevations are deemed necessary to express an interior design concept or convey to contractors the desired result, they will be prepared at this time. This can include cabinet elevations, drapery designs & elevations showing tile designs, etc.
5) Design Presentation and Finalize Selections: At this point, we will present our plans and ideas for your review incorporating any samples, materials, photos, and drawings that will help you envision the end result. The presentation includes furniture selections, fabrics, area rugs, window treatments and bed coverings. This may entail several meetings to refine the design and selections. We want to be sure you are absolutely comfortable with all selections and ideas before you approve and we move forward.
6) Presentation Approval: Upon approval of the interior design presentation, a detailed quote itemizing all selections and costs is prepared. Once approved, the invoice signed and deposits made, then your materials are ordered, contractors are scheduled and the design process is set in motion.
7) Installation: When construction or renovation is complete the furnishings have arrived, the window treatments and bed coverings completed, everything will be professionally installed. The final layer will be selected and careful placement of accessories to achieve the full effect.
8) Builders and Contractors: We will collaborate with architects, builders or any contractors to create the space you envision. If contractors are needed to complete specific aspects of the project, we can recommend qualified, experienced people whose work we know and value.
9) Project Management: Be assured we will be there every step of the way managing your project from start to finish to ensure you are not only satisfied with the end result but feel tremendous pride and satisfaction every time you walk into your space.
Designers use a variety of fee structures. Most designers charge using one of the following fee structures or a combination to suit a client's particular needs:
Fixed fee (or flat fee) -- The designer identifies a specific sum to cover costs, exclusive of reimbursement for expenses. One total fee applies to the complete scope of services proposed, from conceptual development through layouts, specifications, and final installation.
Hourly fee -- Compensation is based on the actual time that the designer consults on a project or specific service.
Percentage of project fee -- Compensation is computed as a percentage markup on the total project cost, including furnishings and services purchased or specified on behalf of a client.
Retainer -- The client pays a sum up front to the designer for design services. The retainer is customarily paid upon signing the contractual agreement.
Cost plus -- A designer specifies materials, furnishings, and services (e.g., carpentry, drapery workrooms, picture framing, etc.) at wholesale and sells to the client at the designer's cost plus a set percentage increase, or at retail rates or slightly less, to cover the designer's fee and services.
Per square foot -- The designer charges fees based on the square footage of the project.