The Design Process
Especially for those who have yet to begin their first renovation project, the process of interior design can appear rather obscure. And though every project is individual, I set out the general framework here:
The first meeting/s are always free (unless the job is international) and explores the client’s desires for and aims of working with a designer. Initial ideas are exchanged and later a professional fee is discussed based on the individual scale and nature of the project.
The simplicity or complexity of the following design stages parallel the scale of the project.
The first stage provides the client with a conceptual design for their project. This is in the form of sketch plans (general arrangement and floor finish plans at 1:50), mood boards and rendered visuals of the key areas. These illustrate the mood, style and design intent for the interior or garden.
A moody concept visual for a kitchen in a London house, including the use of black slate, high gloss cabinetry and Tuareg mats, hung one over the other, on the walls.
The detailed design stage is a development of the concept in more detail. 1:50 furniture plans and elevations are drawn, including reflected ceiling plans and small power plans.
A project budget is created, often in collaboration with an architect, and this includes a detailed furniture budget and image list. Schedules including for paint, stone, timber, ironmongery and window treatments are provided. The conceptual visuals are developed as necessary.
A mood board for a colourful living room. Each room will have its own control box of samples that is used throughout the project.
The final stage is the longest. Even for a small project, the manufacture lead times are 12-16 weeks, and bespoke items need to be drawn and checked during production. The furniture timeline runs in tandem with the construction programme. Both can be handled in house, however, for projects requiring structural alterations, an architect or planning specialist will need to have been appointed.
The interior designer’s role is to ensure that the design intent is carried out to completion, that special finishes are applied correctly, and the furnishings are delivered and installed on-time. The construction, manufacture and installation period can last 4 months or more than 12; its careful oversight is crucial to the project.
At the end of the project, the final ‘dressing’ begins. This is where the furniture is carefully arranged, where the curtains are hung and the accessories displayed in tableaux.
Finally, the property will welcome home its happy owners.