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If youíre not in the design industry or have never worked with a designer before, you might be confused by this title. A lot of people are surprised to learn that thereís a process behind the creative business of design. Most of my clients donít know this either until I spend the time and break it down for them.

There are standard stages of a design and they flow from one to the next but only when each one is completed thoroughly. Any change or deviation can cause delays or even work disruptions. So letís get into it and Iíll give you a complete breakdown of the process.


Phase 1 - Inquiry

It may come as a surprise to learn that the design process begins long before we ever get to contracts and timelines. The inquiry process is when you, as the potential client, are evaluating your options. Youíre doing your research and narrowing down your options in terms of who is the best fit for your project.

As a designer, my job is to provide all the necessary information to help you make your decisions. That includes breaking down what I do and how I can help you. When I receive an inquiry I start by sending out my Welcome Guide which describes the services I offer along with general pricing. This allows you to quickly determine whether my services and pricing are a good fit for your project.

If you decide to move forward the next step is a complementary Discovery Call. During this call we speak in greater detail about your project and I help you understand which service would best suit your needs.

From here weíll move on to a paid Consultation in your home. This 2-hour meeting can be a stand-alone service for clients who just need assistance with decisions around planning for their design or it can be the first step in a full-service design. Either way, youíll be surprised at how much we accomplish during those 2 hours.

The next step of Phase 1 is the Proposal. After our consultation Iíll have enough information to prepare a proposal that will outline the design work I will complete during the course of your project.. Once you approve the Proposal the retainer is paid and the agreement is signed. Now weíre ready to begin!

Youíll be given some homework before we jump into Phase 2. This will include completing my questionnaire as well as gathering images on Pinterest or Houzz. This allows me to get a visual understanding of what you like and the direction youíd like to go. Now Iíll have enough information about your preferences for me to create concept boards. These boards will communicate the design vision I have for your space including some of the initial material selections.

You will need to be working on your design budget at this point. A budget is essential as the world of design is vast. For every item that I include in your design thereís a world of product options. Without a budget itís impossible to narrow down the options and present the right choices for you. The importance of creating a budget before your design begins cannot be overstated. If you would like to learn more, read this post.

Lastly, thereís a design kick-off meeting. This is a fact finding meeting for me so that I can gather measurements and photos of the space. Iíll do a thorough review of your space. I also start to learn about things that will be staying with the design. Weíll review the questionnaire and the initial design concepts and see how you feel about the initial direction.

Phase 2 - Design Work

During this phase I get to work. Iíll be busy creating the final vision for your space. Depending on your project and budget I may be creating drawings and elevations for you as well as for the construction team.

Iíll be concentrating most of my efforts towards a lot of souring and gathering of samples. These samples will be the foundation for my presentation to you. Once I collect what I need Iíll work on preparing the presentation for you. This is when the vision will start to come to life.

Weíll meet in person so that I can share the design as well as the materials Iím recommending. During this meeting you can request revisions. Those revisions will all be made quickly so you can make final approvals to keep the project moving forward.

Phase 3 - Ordering & Procurement

My role at this point is to manage all the orders for the furnishings and decor. Your contractor will be responsible for ordering the construction materials.

I will order and track all the products and keep you up-to-date on delays or out of stock items. My full-service design offering also includes receiving and warehousing of the deliveries as they come in. This allows us to do the installation all on a single day rather than have items trickle in over several weeks or months.

Weíve now completed the terms of our initial agreement. For clients who would like assistance with delivery of furniture as well as set-up, we move to a flat-rate, daily fee. This would be for overseeing the installation as well as delivery fees, moving fees and a handyman.

Itís always difficult to summarize a process, particularly one that is creative and fluid. While this process remains consistent from project to project, thereís a lot that changes with each client. This should give you a general understanding of the steps and hopefully take away some of the fear and confusion about what it looks like to hire a designer.

If youíre thinking about renovating or starting a decorating project, and would like to talk about how I can help with the design, reach out. Iím always happy to answer any questions you might have.

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    Areas Served:
    Barrie, Orillia, Georgian Bay

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