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BENEFITS OF A GREAT PLAN

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Image by Jean-Philippe Delberghe

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The interior design process starts with a consultation. This is where I come to your home and spend up to 90 minutes with you. It’s the all-important first step. We’ll start with a tour of your home so I can get a feel for not only the spaces you want me to work my magic on, but the home overall. I want to get an idea of your current interior design style (if there is one) as well as explore what existing pieces of furniture or decor you might want to work with. Many clients give me blank canvases, in which case there’s nothing existing to work with. But some clients might have a treasured piece of art, for example, that they want to keep and use in the room. So it’s good to know this upfront.

We’ll sit down for a style analysis

I have an entire image library on my laptop, broken up into different interior design styles. Looking through all of these images allows me to do a style analysis with you. We need to figure out what look and feel you’re drawn to, what you love in the images, and what elements in them you hate. I invite you to be as honest as possible. Imagine you’re Simon Cowell on X Factor. Truth be told, I’d have already asked you about your preferred style on our 20-minute discovery call, so we won’t spend an eternity in-person looking through styles that don’t apply to you. Often though, a potential client will tell me they like Hamptons, for example, but there are about five different ways to execute a Hamptons look. So the images we go through together help me identify which direction we’ll take the home in stylistically. If I’m working with more than one person in the home, you might not even be on the same page about the style. And that’s OK. That’s what looking through the images does. It helps me figure out how we can merge your different styles together to achieve a result you’ll both love.

After the analysis, we’ll walk through rooms

The ones you want me to work on. I’ll make a list of every single item we’ll bring into the room. This is done in conjunction with you, of course, because I’ll ask you what you want to use each room for. Making this wish list of items helps me identify what sort of budget you’ll need to spend on products. We’ll then sit back down together and I’ll go over the style we’ve agreed on for the home, as well as confirmation on what each room will be used for and what items we’ll bring into each space. That’s pretty much everything we cover off in the 90 minute initial consult. You’re of course absolutely free to pick my brain on anything and everything design during this time. I’ll also be suggesting things as they come to mind, walking through each space. It might be wallpaper here, sheer curtains there, something we could do to improve the living room – you name it.

Once I leave your home, I’ll send you an email

The email I send you after our meeting confirms everything we discussed during the 90-minute consultation. It’ll also list the amount of money I estimate you’ll spend on products, as well as how many hours I believe I’ll work on the project. The amount of hours I estimate I’ll spend on your project from start to finish helps me determine what my design fee will be.

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When you’ve read through my post-consult email and feel comfortable with the estimated product spend and design fee, I’ll send you an agreement to sign. That’s stage two of the interior design process underway. Don’t worry, the agreement is not very full-on. It simply states what rooms we’ll transform, what my responsibilities are to you as your designer, and what your responsibilities are to me as my client. It also details pricing estimates. Once you’ve signed the agreement, I’ll go away and get started on your concept document. Now, this is where I take all of the things we discussed in the 90-minute consultation and start to work my design magic on a document I’ll present to you during a return visit to your home. The concept is the design blueprint for your home and takes a few weeks for me to complete. It takes that long because it contains a lot of detail about what we’ll do in each room.

Specifically, the concept document includes:

  • Inspiration images to reflect what the home makeover will look like

  • A mood board of every room we’re transforming so you can picture the end result

  • Confirmation on the colour palette, textures and patterns we’ll use throughout

  • A floor plan (to-scale) of each room with all proposed furniture mapped out

  • Detailed explanation of changes we’ll be making to each room

  • A list of my trades we’ll be using if we need to engage any (paint, curtains etc)

  • A few design curveballs that I’ve come up with

I throw a few design curveballs or left-of-field ideas in a lot of my concepts, because the whole idea of hiring an interior designer is to have someone execute a scheme you could never conceive or pull off yourself. That’s my job, after all. The concept meeting can take up to two hours and is a pretty in-depth discussion. I’m not only walking you through the plan for every single room in detail, but I’m asking for your feedback every step of the way. In an ideal world you love every single idea, but there might be a few things you’re unsure about.

It’s OK to dislike some parts of the concept

I tell clients to be brutally honest during the concept presentation. You have to be. I won’t be offended if you tell me that the art option I’ve mood boarded is the most hideous thing you’ve ever seen. I didn’t paint the artwork, so I won’t be reaching for a Kleenex (I might die a bit inside if I loved the piece in question, but I’ll get over it). It’s also OK to be unsure, and to need some time to think about an idea I’ve presented. The aim of the interior design process is not to rush you. Like I said, it’s my job to show you things you might not have considered (that will look amazing!), but it’s normal to need time to let ideas grow on you. Honesty is always the best policy here. I have a full transparency approach to design, so I like my clients to be equally upfront. It’s best I receive all of your feedback there and then, as I’ll be making notes throughout the meeting on elements I need to tweak before we move onto the Specify stage. But you can take a few days to let all the ideas sit with you. I’ll leave a physical copy of the concept with you and send you an electronic version too. Once we reach the end of the concept meeting, you know what your home is going to look like, what we’ll do with it, and I know what small changes I need to make when I begin putting a product list together for you to review.

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Image by Erfan Amiri

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The Specify stage is the third part of the interior design process. It’s where I go away and start putting a list of products together for you to review and agree to purchase. This can take a few weeks to complete. As you can imagine, there are a tonne of products to include in this list and we specify right down to the cushions we’ll karate chop on your sofa. If we’re doing any work where a trade is involved (like window treatments, paint, flooring, joinery) we’ll also organise a trade day at this point. This is where I’ll come to your home for a third time with my trades and get measure and quotes carried out.

You do not need to organise any trades

I have my own team of trades who I work with all the time and they’ll meet me at your property on a nominated trade day. You will be there, of course, but I take the headache away from you by managing this process end to end. Ideally all of the trades are available to come on the one day. If this needs to be split over multiple days, we’ll simply check your availability to give us access. The idea is to make this entire process as seamless as possible for you, so we do try to minimise time off work for you, and to reduce any inconvenience. Once trades have come back to me with their quotes, these will be added to the product list and you will be notified when the list is ready for you to review.

We use an online portal to present the product list

This system works really well for us and the client. The program we use allows you to access each room we’re making over in the online portal. You’ll review each product in the room and approve it, or mark it for revision if you don’t like it. When you’re accessing your product list and reviewing what’s been recommended, there should be no surprises because we’ve discussed the rooms and products in great detail during the concept meeting. Most clients breeze through this part of the process. It would be concerning if you’re declining a lot of products at this point. If this is happening, something has gone wrong during the concept meeting. The concept is our blueprint for the home. Once that’s locked in, it’s in everyone’s best interests to stick to the agreed game plan. This is why it’s always best to be honest about what you do and don’t like during the concept meeting.

 
Image by Huy Nguyen

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Woohoo! The Style part of the journey is the last and most exciting component of the entire interior design process. This is where we come to your home and put all the furniture in its place as per the layout we provided in the concept document. Understandably, items may have arrived at different stages due to stock availability and some large pieces of furniture might already be unpacked (like a sofa or bed). That’s OK. We’ll still come to unpack everything else and move it into place. At this stage, we’ll also line up trades to install the various items they need to install, if required. Our window people will come and install your curtains. Our electricians will come and install pendant lights if we’ve specified them. Our hangers will come to fix art and mirrors to the walls. This installation day might also be spread out over a few days due to availability of the trades, so again we just need some flexibility on your part here.

The final decor shop

Once all the furniture is in place, we’ll put a list together of smaller decor items that need to be purchased to finish off the rooms. This decor shop is done by me, in-person, in stores across Melbourne. I shop for smaller items like trays, ornaments, candles etc. You know, those finishing touches for tabletops, bedsides, sideboards and more. Because of the ever-changing stock levels at retailers it’s impossible to include these smaller items in your product list during the Specify stage. So I’ll go off and do a shop and then return to your home one last time to pop in all the decor, and hopefully photograph the spaces for my portfolio.

My rate is $110.00 per hour 

  • Phone consult: Free

  • In-home consult: $250.00

  • Hourly service fee: $110.00 hour

After our initial consultation I will provide an estimate of how many hours it will take for me to work on your space. For example lets say 40 hours that's $4,000.00 for labor. This includes every step of the process beginning at concept. This means if I made a house consultation visit instead of phone the $250.00 fee will be applied bringing the total to $4250.00. Now if this seems jaw dropping this may not be what your looking for. It takes a lot to bring design together including researching , driving around for hours , and thinking about just your project every second of the day.

Additional hours will be added if you the client ask for extras after my estimate is provided that causes more work therefore more hours spent on the entire project. For this reason I will update the contract as needed to ensure a smoothe process. 

After 20 hours have been reached I will  begin sending you an invoice every week until the remaining balance has been fully paid. 

Separate from the designers fee you pay for Products and Trades

Yes , sorry but the furniture and other labor isn't free ,that would be amazing. On top of the fee I ask for you will neeed to purchase all furniture based on what you have approved. Also, whatever additional labor cost is needed to complete the design ,for example structural changes , painting , wall paper or wall murals.

WHAT KIND OF BUDGET IS BEST?

 

To better understand a decent project let's look into a situation I was recently in. One of my very first client had very expensive taste however had a very tight budget of $3,000.00. He asked me to complete his living room , bedroom, ​

dining room , kitchen and bathroom inside of his one bedroom condo. Well to most people they may look at a one bedroom condo as small and easy to furnish. Yes, possibly at Ikea and that's if you don't mind your home looking like an Ikea showroom.

 

Not only did he have a tight budget but he had his mind made up on a $2000,00 sofa which left me with only $2,000.00 to spend on 4 rooms. I was seriously considering Ikea for a while until I had the talk with him that no client want's to hear. I told him he has to bring his budget up if we are going to play on the same team. Ultimately he agreed after I showed him not only how empty his place would look on $2000.00 but also how cheap it would look and I don't design cheap.

Make sure you consider the level of furniture you want whether its actual high-end . For example if you want a bed that cost $5k-$10k vs a bed that cost $1k-$2k your budget is high-end. If you want a high-end look but don't have the budget I can still work with you but think about how much you want to spend on the main furniture  pieces and that will set you in the right direction. These include :

1. Bed

2. Living Room Sofa 

3. Dinning Table 

4. Dinning Chairs 

5,Dressers 

Once, you budget how much you are willing to spend on each of these write them all down and add up the total cost.

This is an example of a customer who wants a high end look but does not have a high end budget.

Now add another $5,000.00 to that to leave room for decorations like plants and painting .Smaller tables ,and accent chairs. Some clients ask to add basic household supplies such as silver wear, wash towels etc to compliment the new style of the home. Thos makes sense you woundmt bring farm house to a minimalist design . Some client just need my help on evrything so if this sounds like you consider the extra cost for these.

Bed Frame $2,000.00 including tax and shipping no higher
Mattress $1,000.00 including tax and shipping no higher
Dressers $1,500.00 including tax and shipping no higher
Dining Table $1,500.00 including tax and shipping no higher
Sofa $2,500.00 including tax and shipping no higher
Dining Chairs $900.00 including tax and shipping no higher
 
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HIGH-END BUDGET            LOW-END BUDGET
      $50K-1MIL                              $5K-50K

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