Remodeling: Interior Design at your Service
What if we told you that your remodeling project could be a fun, rewarding experience you will remember for years to come? We are a sought after creative interior design firm that delivers style and service beyond our clients’ expectations. We take a full-service approach that includes architectural design review, space planning, and digital and hand renderings of our concepts. We also offer an extensive selection of hard surfaces, fixtures and hardware. Our team works with the best architects, builders, artisans and custom workrooms in the Northwest, recommending a design-build approach for remodeling projects to ensure a better process. We’ve tackled every kind of space! So whether your project is a kitchen or bath, master suite, living room, media room, outdoor entertainment, or a whole house remodel — we are happy to share our team’s enthusiasm and expertise with you.
Before our first meeting we may ask you to gather ideas for your project through a site like Houzz.com. Sometimes our initial consultation with you may include introducing you to a contractor on our team that we trust and feel would be a good fit for you and your project. At our initial appointment we gather yours ideas and wishes. The contractor will also provide a cost range of the project based on what we addressed in the meeting. Next, we move into a design concept phase.
The design concept meeting generally includes reviewing floor plans and materials including colors, cabinetry, countertops, tile, flooring, plumbing and fittings and other elements for your space. For many projects our next meeting includes meeting showrooms to fine tune our decisions. Next, generally around week three or four we move into our design documentation stage. Our team begins to document and draw building documents, floor plans and elevations for your project. Once these are approved by you, we meet with your contractor to go over all the elements, transitions and plans. Next, the contractor will likely schedule construction walkthroughs at your home with the trades for your project. With the building documents and specifications, along with the trades quotations he/she is able to provide firm schedule and final price based on the design.
Spend the same, net a better outcome
I think some of the “bad” contractor stories could be adverted had a interior designer been on the project. In the case of price it isn’t fair to ask a contractor to give you a price for a job until all design decisions are made. A 100 square foot kitchen could be done for $20,000 with more conservative, lower priced materials. The same kitchen could also cost $100,000 with more fine materials. Before the entire design is determined, it isn’t fair to expect the contractor to know the final price of your project. There are simply too many variables. You can significantly change the cost of a project by the layout, labor, or the cost of materials you select. How much you will spend on your plumbing fittings, what appliances you will select, what kind of windows and millwork are you selecting are just a few examples? These things need specified and documented. This is an interior designer’s role – or if an interior designer isn’t included in the project it becomes the homeowners responsibility.
I find clients don’t typically know who is responsible for documenting the design. It isn’t necessarily a contractor’s responsibility to remember the tile layout, the height of your lighting, or other things you may have told him in passing. It is either an interior designers, or if there is not one on the project it is the role of the homeowner. Your contractor may do this for you, but documentation of the design with specifications (manufacturers, item numbers and colors ways) and drawings (both elevations and floor plan birds-eye views) should be provided to the contractor to ensure everyone is on the same page. Accurately pricing a project is an involved process. From my experience, project that go well beyond budget can be avoided by doing the design work BEFORE the construction starts. This way all parties understand and agree to the materials and work to be performed. Delaying design decisions after construction leads to decisions that cost everyone time and money they couldn’t possibly foresee.
If you or someone you know has worked on a remodeling project without a design professional, you may be familiar with the pitfalls of not documenting your wishes. Your contractor may call you when ordering tile to tell you it is discontinued, or your shower may be installed without a niche for personal effects. Was your shower head placed where it is comfortable for you and your spouse? Is the lighting ample? Is the grout and tile transitions what you envisioned? Did you have input on your countertop edging? Did you want your garbage disposal air switch on the right or left? If you don’t specify these things, it is likely your contractor and his subcontractors will make necessary decisions to keep the job moving.
Materials, what you don’t know you don’t know
We live and breathe ideas, materials, space planning and layouts. Depending on your line of work and hobbies, you would probably spend hours uncovering the materials we are already very familiar with. Time and again, our clients are blown away at materials we show them for their projects. We frequently select materials that are easy to clean, low maintenance, resilient, and stand the test of time. Unless you ask us to, we steer away from trendy elements – finding that clients sometimes dive into those selections without even realizing it. We share hidden gems with you opening you up to possibilities and options you may not have known existed for your project.
Here is one project that illustrates just that. A client wanted the look of Carrera marble in their shower, but they weren’t prepared for the sealing and cleaning maintenance. Porcelain tile has come a long way – and here is the finished result. A shower that never needs sealed, with epoxy grout that won’t stain, and a square drain that catches hair. Those shower niches and shower head heights were also specified based on the client’s needs.
If you are selecting materials for your project without an interior designer’s help, and instead working directly with your contractor, it is best to make material decisions in advance of construction work starting. In construction for example, rough plumbing starts following framing. Let’s say you decide into the project you want a wall mount faucet for a vessel sink. If the rough plumbing was set for a countertop faucet this results in a change order. (This equals more cost to the job as well as a delay.) Let’s take this another few steps. Cabinetry lead time generally involves ordering cabinets during a remodel when the project starts – so 4-6 weeks later the cabinets are ready to install in your home. A client (or designer) delay making a decision on the stain or door profile of the cabinetry can hold the job up from continuing every day the cabinets aren’t in production. Last, some materials have window of lead time. It isn’t fun to be told by your contractor that you need to make an immediate decision of a materials in stock. Compromising your design is never fun. (The best contractors in this city require the final design determined before they start. They order all materials upfront – and once they are in they start your project.)
A designer can help you spend the same amount of money, but net a better outcome in the finished project. At first glance an interior designer’s expertise is selecting materials for a project, but that is really just the tip of the iceberg. What we really do is provide specifications and construction documents so all wishes, desires and surfaces are considered and executed according to a plan. Not all projects warrant an interior designer, but when you want it done well – when you don’t want to finish a project and wish you would have done something differently – it is best to engage a design professional that knows every decision and step and can navigate you to your intended design.