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The Design Process – How we got from Before to After
Everyone loves a great interior design Before & After, but how do we get there?
There are so many reasons for why we interior designers choose what we choose.
And why should you even work with an interior designer anyway?
There are so many steps in the design process in order to get from the Before to the After.
I’m sharing our latest interior design project in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.
I’m also filling you in on every step in our design process, from the very beginning to the beautiful After.
(After photos are by the fabulous Maryellyn Roche of On3 Photography, in Palmer, MA)
At the very beginning of the design process, once the client books and pays for the Initial Consultation/Design Work Session, I send them a Questionnaire.
The questionnaire asks questions like –
What do you use the room for?
Do you have pets?
Do you have children and how old are they?
What are your favorite colors?
And, two more pages of questions!
These questions let me know exactly what the homeowner wants and needs in their new space.
When we get to the Consult I already know a little bit about them and we’re off and running at the Consult.
This family room is probably the most used room in this house.
This family has two dogs and two young kids.
The family room needed to be comfortable, kid friendly and dog friendly.
They wanted to watch tv and hang out with family and friends.
But, the homeowner didn’t have any specific design style or wants.
The only thing she said to me was that they liked the lighting that they had just installed, and the tv and photo wall were to stay.
They also didn’t give me a budget.
Usually there is a budget. But, this homeowner wanted to see what I came up with.
So they paid the deposit for me to come up with a plan for their space.
After the Consult I went to work.
I put together a plan.
The all in design plan included painting the blue wall, redoing the fireplace and all new furniture, rug & accessories. I also suggested running the hardwood flooring through the kitchen and, at least, redo the backsplash to a more timeless tile. If the budget were even higher I’d suggest redoing the kitchen to a lighter, brighter, more neutral design.
As a side note, when a client doesn’t give a specific budget I do not go all crazy and suggest million dollar rooms. That’s just not my style! ?
I do give two options and most of the time those options’ pieces can be mixed and matched.
As you can see below, Option 1 had a white fireplace with a bolder rug. It also suggested tall bookcases to replace the family photo wall behind the sofa. (The family photo wall would be relocated.)
Next came the presentation to the clients.
Here’s the How and Why for everything that I chose.
First, I suggested we get rid of the blue wall. The blue didn’t relate to anything. We would save on the budget by simply painting it the same color as the other walls, since the clients liked the paint color. In the end the client painted it themselves, also saving money.
Because the dark kitchen cabinets were probably staying I pulled those orange undertones into the family room color palette.
I also pulled the teal from the lamps. See? Anything can work as an inspiration piece for a new design.
So, now we had a color palette – pale greige from the wall color, oranges from the kitchen wood tones, teal from the lamps and pops of black from the lighting.
See how easy that was?
Next came the sofa choice. This loungy family (in the best possible way!) wanted to chill and hang out so they needed a BIG sofa. I had given them the option of a sofa and two chairs, but a sectional sofa it was.
The husband is tall and wanted a recliner. Don’t most husbands??? We compromised on a double chaise on the sectional that was large enough for his height and to maybe fit a dog or two, or maybe his wife, with him.
I also chose a deep seat for extra loungability.
I knew that leather furniture wouldn’t work because of the dogs. You CAN use leather in a dog friendly home if you don’t mind seeing scratches. With two kids and two dogs a performance fabric was a must. This family also chose an extended warranty for double coverage. This fabric wipes clean really easily and doesn’t show the dog hair.
And, as a side note, when you go with a custom sectional like this one, you get all of those custom pillows! I chose colors from the rug for the pillows. And, all of those covers unzip and come off for easy washing.
Next I chose a large, durable, easy to clean area rug. The rug needed to be big enough to go under the sofa and almost to the tv console. I love to use the rug as the thing in the room that pulls all of the colors together. This rug did it.
We added a reclaimed wood coffee table to soften up all those clean edges. The round shape is perfect for dogs and kids that are running around, no sharp edges to bump into. The reclaimed wood top is a nod to the modern farmhouse look that the clients love and a great mix of the industrial style they also love. The metal bottom is durable and coordinates with the new dining table below.
We added a couple of fun end tables for a place to put your drink down, using black and gold to tie in with the kitchen table.
See how these tables are NOT part of a set??? They all blend well together, but they’re not matchy matchy!
Speaking of kitchen table, yup we added a new kitchen table and chairs too.
We went with black to go with the lighting. But this table actually has a metal top. The metal goes with the lighting and the family room tables and it’s also super durable, easily wipeable and kid friendly.
The leather chairs are also perfect for kid friendly wipeablity and they’re comfortable and look fabulous!
At the presentation we go through the products through pictures so that the client can see how everything will work together. I explain why I chose each and every item. There is a reason for every piece I choose.
And, we go over the budget and how much everything costs.
For this family room, it turns out the client DID have a budget, but they wanted to see what I came up with without restrictions, because they know I’m not a trillion dollar decorator, right?
Once we went over everything the client decided which parts of the design plan were a go and which of their current pieces they wanted to keep in order to keep the budget in the range that they had in mind.
What was decided was that the fireplace would be a later project and we’d, what I call, decorate around it for now.
We also decided to keep the kitchen as is, for now.
The homeowners REALLY wanted to keep the family photo wall. They also decided to keep the consoles behind the sofa and the one under the tv. And, they liked the lamps that were already behind the sofa.
These were decisions that we had to work around.
The fireplace had a huge space above it that would need large, to scale accessories, but not clutter.
The dark colors from the kitchen needed to blend with the new light and bright family room.
The family photo wall needed to be tweaked a bit too.
The console under the tv was actually too short and they didn’t want to move the tv down. (More on that later)
And, the lamps worked with the new design plan, but the shades did not.
As a designer, I rarely get a design job that is a total blank slate. Clients usually have at least one piece that they want to incorporate. It becomes a challenge for me. But, I love it. Challenge accepted!
After the presentation meeting I went back to my office in Monson and finalized all of the choices.
We then met again and went over ALL of the final choices in detail and shown in pictures.
I remeasured for everything just to double check.
The clients signed off on the Purchasing Agreement and paid for all of the product and design fees.
Then I started the ordering and tracking process.
I placed all of the orders. I tracked them from vendor to the receiving warehouse.
In the meantime I shopped for all of the accessories, the finishing touches, the details.
See the plant pots in my cart below?
Insert the screeching tires sound here!
In every project there are things that go wrong.
There’s always something that doesn’t go according to plan.
Some area rug is on backorder or not available anymore.
Some piece of furniture arrives at the receiver damaged and has to be reordered.
Sometimes an item arrives and it just doesn’t look like what we thought.
Those are THE reasons that you have an interior designer!
It’s my job to deal with all of those issues.
The area rug turned out to be the thing that went wrong on this project. It ended up being backordered.
You cannot install a room without the rug going in first.
Can you imagine installing all of the furniture and then having to move it to lay the rug and then move it all back?
So we waited. And waited some more.
In the end the project ended up only being two weeks longer than the longest estimated install date, BUT this rug was totally worth the wait, don’t you think?
It really does make the whole room.
Once EVERYTHING is at the receiver, finally comes install day!
On install day I arrive early and get ready for the delivery.
See? You don’t even have to be home for that four hour delivery window!
I unload and unpack all of the accessories while I’m waiting for the delivery.
Once the delivery truck gets there, everything is white glove delivered. That means that the experienced delivery guys carefully carry in, put together and place everything exactly where I specify.
Once they’re done I start my favorite part – accessorizing!
Accessories are handled a bit differently than the rest of the product for a room.
Clients purchase an Accessories Package depending on the size of the room and they don’t see the accessories before the install.
This is really for two reasons – First, I LOVE to surprise them!
If you’ve been following Details Full Service Interiors for a bit then you KNOW that we’re known for adding personalized accessories to every room we work on.
For this family it was the white bulldog statue that they had in another room. We also found a little one for the coffee table. Mugsy approves!
It’s so much fun to see the client’s faces when they see the accessories in place!
And second, it’s really difficult for most clients to picture each and every accessory in place and it would be super frustrating for me and the client to have to take the time to look at each and every accessory and approve it.
So, what I do is install all of the accessories that I’ve chosen the day of the install and then after a couple of days, if the clients really don’t like a particular accessory I’ll take it back and replace it. 99.9% of the time all of the accessories end up staying.
Here are just a few of the accessory notes for this room –
We added new lamp shades to those existing lamps. The lamps bridge the gap between the newly arranged family photo wall and the existing console. We added one of the homeowners plants to the middle to keep it simple and add texture.
By the way, all of the homeowners plants got new oversized pots that all match to pull them all together and give the room a cohesive look and feel.
Remember the issue about the tv console being too short? We worked with that by adding oversized lanterns and bottles that bridge the gap.
We also added an oversized basket next to the undersized console and threw in some super soft throws that match the rug, perfect for our cold Massachusetts nights.
And the space above the fireplace? We added some greenery to bridge that gap and, again, add some texture to the hard edges.
And there you have it!
A completely updated space that works for the whole family, kids, dogs and parents!
One of my interior design business practices is to always be open about everything.
It creates great relationships with clients and everyone feels better.
So, with that in mind, here’s the reality of a custom room.
It takes time.
It takes thought.
It takes planning.
It takes great design.
And it takes patience.
Here is the timeline for this design project.
I met with these clients on May 3, 2018 for the Consultation.
(They knew I was having foot surgery so they would have to wait an extra week or two for the design plan)
I met with them on June 6, 2018 to present the plan.
I then met with them on June 13, 2018 with the finalized Purchasing Agreement.
The ordering process began on June 15, 2018, once payments had cleared.
The install date was September 25, 2018 – 14 weeks from the ordering date.
This project was a bit longer than others because of the backordered rug, but not totally out of the norm. While these clients were anxious to have their new family room, they were patient and good natured too, thank goodness!
The benefit of working with an interior designer or interior decorator, besides us creating a beautiful and functional space for you, your family and friends to enjoy, is that we deal with all the pain in the neck stuff.
We find all of the gorgeous furniture and accessory pieces that are perfect for your home, so that you’re not wasting your weekend running around from store to store.
We know it’ll all go together and with the rest of your home. No more worrying what matches and if it’ll work with your house.
We know the quality and comfort of each piece because we go to trade shows and see and touch everything.
We deal with all of the ordering and tracking so you’re not spending time dealing with that when you could be hanging out with your family.
We take care of any issues that arise, and they always do, because we have reps with the companies that we deal with that are there for us.
We schedule delivery. We wait for delivery. And we oversee delivery. No more sitting around wondering when the delivery people will show up!
We have experienced receivers and white glove delivery people to ensure safe and proper installation of the heavy stuff, so that you don’t need to lug anything!
And, we choose and place the perfect accessories to finish off the space, because after all it’s the DETAILS that really make a space. ?
Like I always say – your home needs to function for your family and it also has to be comfortable and personalized.
We give you “Interior Design for the Way YOU Live!”
We’re even happy to come back and decorate for Christmas for you!
If you’re ready for a stress free update in your home, you can book your Consultation/Design Work Session by simply clicking HERE insert link – https://details.mydomastudio.com/store/Consultations/Consultation-DesignWorkSession-1540131033525
For more pics of this fabulous family room head over to our Portfolio – www.detailsfullserviceinteriors.com/portfolio
How to instantly create a room you’ll love to hang out in