Furnishings and Decor: The Process

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Furnishing and decorating a space is such a different ball of wax than construction projects that it requires a different approach to the design process. In fact, for the first ten years of designing, I designed with furnishings for about 3 months of that time. The rest of my time was focused on the interior architecture.

The underlying idea for each phase is still there, but it reads very differently. So for simplicity's sake, we have outlined our furnishing and decor process here:

Step One: programming

Okay, so this step stays the same. We meet together in our office to discuss your project needs and goals and determine whether we are a match. We will discuss the project details, your goals for the space, and logistics such as your budget. We discuss our estimate for design fee upfront during this meeting and a deposit is made toward your design services. 

Our next meeting happens on site when we measure and document your space with photographs. We look at different things (window height for furniture placement, placement of items that are not to be blocked). The measurements round up here, rather than focusing on the 1/16" that we would do in a construction project, so these meetings may move a bit faster. We then draw up the space and develop a loose idea of what pieces are needed and develop a rough itemized budget for these items based on your overall budget.

Step two: schematics and Design

This process is very interactive. As we begin the schematics, we will share our ideas with you (which may come in the form of imagery from the internet or magazines, sketches, and color schemes) and ask you to share your own imagery with us. We work very closely with our showrooms and product representatives during this time for estimates and special considerations.

We present each selection and review the options for each piece thoroughly to ensure that there is a clear understanding of every detail. Tear sheets with notes are signed off on for approval of these details and a purchasing agreement is signed before ordering. At this time, we turn over a copy of the signed tear sheets, fabric samples, and a rendering of the finished space.

Step three: Procurement

This part of the process is busy behind the scenes but may seem quiet on the client end. At this point, we are creating purchase orders, tracking orders, planning for lead time and delivery availability at our warehouse. Any back ordered or discontinued items are evaluated and it is determined whether we will order a substitution or not. We coordinate with our warehouse for the delivery dates and expected arrivals to ensure they have a space set aside for us.

Step four: Arrival and Installation of Goods

Merchandise is shipped directly to our trade warehouse, where it is inspected for damage, repaired as needed, Installation day is scheduled with you and the warehouse. When possible, we do the installation in one day and recommend that you are off-site during install so that our team can focus on working quickly and efficiently. It's a bit like painting a picture... having someone watch over the artist's shoulder may cause the artist to make decisions they would have spent more time perfecting otherwise.

Upon your return, we walk through the space, and sign off on the delivery of each item with any deficiencies noted for our records. 

Step five: Photography and Closure Meeting

Photography will be scheduled shortly after installation and is also considered our closure meeting. At this meeting, we ask for feedback, provide copies of your final invoice, and discuss future projects!

Rachel WaldronComment