Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Interior Design Process

Do you really need an interior designer?

You may know what you want, but aren't quite sure where to begin. A professional designer will guide you through the design process with a well thought out plan to help you avoid costly mistakes such as furniture that is too large, colors that are not working and contractors who don't do quality work. They will introduce you to new ideas and solutions.

The Goal

The goal is to prevent common pitfalls and costly mistakes. A professional interior designer will assist you throughout the number of project phases so that you feel comfortable with your decisions. They will work with you to make sure your project is not only beautiful, but practical and functional.

There are several steps that are included in this process. They are as follows:

Initial Consultation

A meeting is held at the project site to see the space and talk about your the functions of the space and design style. This process allows ideas to be formulated. It includes reviewing an idea book that illustrates a variety of design styles and color schemes. A designer will then analyze the results to determine a specific style so that the space is a reflection of you and your personality.

Design and Proposal Fees

Based on the initial consultation, a detailed proposal that outlines the scope of services to be performed is presented. Depending on the scope of the job, there are two types of fees. A one time design fee or flat fee or an hourly fee. Typically a retainer is requested at this time before proceeding with the project. More detailed questions regarding your needs, utilization of space and budget are also discussed.

Detailed Measurements

After the proposal is accepted, a follow-up consultation takes place for detailed measurements and evaluation of existing conditions and furnishings. If there are blueprints for the project they should be provided at this time.

Space Planning

A two-dimensional space plan is proposed and discussed to address particular needs and function of the area being designed.

The Conceptual Presentation

Based on prior meetings, a preliminary conceptual design scheme is presented. Various elements are depicted with photos, sketches, magazine shots and samples of finishes, such as flooring, counter tops, cabinetry, wall and window treatments, lighting and hardware to help visualize the overall plan. Once the concept has been accepted and approved, several meetings may take place in showrooms or on the project site to view additional samples. Specific details are discussed in greater depth during this phase.


A preliminary budget is prepared based on the materials and design ideas proposed during the concept presentation. The budget is evaluated and analyzed at this time. Once items are agreed upon, purchase orders are created and placed with manufacturers and contractors. Follow up on orders include: tracking and lead times, deliveries and coordination of contractors.

Project Management

Contractors are recommended based on the project. The contractor will provide a negotiated bid based on current market values and a remodeling project timetable is evaluated. Pre and post construction meetings and onsite visits during construction are conducted, ensuring the fulfillment of design intent and maintenance of quality levels.


Oversight of actual furniture placement and installations are overseen ensuring proper locations and quality.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What To Expect When You Hire An Interior Designer

Despite the common assumption that using the services of a professional interior designer is unaffordable to most of us, choosing this option can offer savings in the long run. But have you ever wondered what's involved in the entire process of house interior design?

Phase one involves gathering and analyzing information and making all the necessary preparations before starting the actual design job. You must formulate a detailed home interior design program that will be customized towards your individual needs and objectives, as well as the size and relationship between spaces and a host of other considerations that will affect how you live in your home. If you hire an interior designer for the job, he or she will analyze your home and determine the best positioning of the furniture and spaces within to capture views and sunlight. During this first phase, the budget and schedule will also be estimated.

The second phase goes under the sign of conceptual brainstorming and exploration. It starts with the creation of a concept diagram of the house interior and several rough design sketches. During this period, designers (hired by you) will come up with the general layout, form and overall appearance of the house's interior. When the layout, size and character of the house are refined, designers focus on the different interior elements such as stairs, fireplaces, cabinetry, and built-in furniture. To help describe some of the important technical details, different drawings will be prepared. Once this stage is finished, 70 to 80 percent of the actual house interior design work will be finished.

The next phase is called Construction Documentation and during this period, the house interior design is translated into a technical language used by the contractor. Working Drawings and specifications are made that outline in detail all of the materials that will be used, where they will be positioned and how they will be installed. Despite the fact that this stage is mostly intended for working out the technical aspects of the project, some design work also takes place. Furthermore, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, and finish materials such as carpet, paint colors and tile are also selected.

In the Bidding and Negotiation phase, you will receive bids from different contractors that will do the actual work. The designers you work with have a list of contractors for hire. You will be able to review their bids and negotiate the different proposals.

The last phase of the house interior design process is the actual making (construction). During this stage, interior designers will answer questions, review submittals and shop drawings and review monthly certificates of payment that are submitted by the contractor. The very final selections of fixtures and finishes are also done here. Once this stage is completed, the entire house will be thoroughly inspected to guarantee that everything is done as it should.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Advantages of Getting an Architect to Design and Build Your House

One of the biggest decisions to take when you decide to design and build your own house is whether you need to engage the services of an architect or not. While most people do recommend it, there are others who would like to go through the entire thing without professional help. What they fail to realize is that there are many benefits that come with the territory when you opt to avail the services of an architect to build your dream home. Let us understand the advantages of getting professional help to design and build your house.

Advantage #1: "Professional" Help

The word professional itself says it all. The architect is a person who is qualified and certified in design and build homes. He speaks the language of home building much better than you. In fact, there are many times when we want certain aspects of the design to be changed after the construction has commenced. You may not be able to incorporate this ad hoc change if you do not have an architect to help you with it. Since he has more knowledge in this field, he will be able to see things that you, as a layman, cannot and hence be able to make the changes you want.

Advantage #2: Suggest options you would not have thought possible

Thanks to the advanced level of studies in this field, the architects will be able to provide you with a wide range of design options that can enhance the look of your house. Most often than not, these ideas cannot be conceptualized by us since we are not aware of how the vast number of construction materials that are available can be put to use.

Advantage #3: Design energy efficient homes

The main focus today is the need to conserve energy to the maximum extent possible. The architects will be able to help you design and build your house around this concept. A well constructed house should help you reduce the costs of electricity, water and heating bills. This can be possible only when you engage an architect in your endeavor. This will ensure you get maximum returns on the investment you make.

Advantage #4: End to End Solutions

Availing the services of an architect who knows his Ps and Qs will take a heavy burden off your shoulders. A good architect will be able to shoulder the entire construction project end to end, which means right from conceptualizing the design to giving the final touches to your house. This will enable you to distress to a great extent because your architect will co-ordinate with all the necessary people including the quantity surveyors, engineers, builders, sub contractors and interior designers. So, you need not worry about anything at all.

With all these advantages considered, don't you think it is a wise decision to go in for an architect to help you design and build your home? But yes, it is important that you choose the architect after great thought and consideration. The best way to choose them is by getting feedback from friends and family who have recently constructed a home.