Searching for the right interior design firm is challenging for home/business owner. How do you know we're a good fit? We have completed around +/-200 projects in 7 seven years (28/yr) while the average homeowner completes only 1 or 2 projects in their entire lifetime.
We believe in providing clearly outlined professional services and quality products with the right amount of expectations and creativity. We are looking for astute owners that value creativity and professionalism that a qualified interior designer brings to a project. Owners should have a semblance of professional trust in us and not be afraid to let us make the big decisions for them. The most successful projects are with trusting clients that participate in the project we're about to design.
1. What make us different?
In addition to having three internationally recognized levels of certifications and multiple design awards, we have a clear vision of how we work on design projects.
The S.T.U.D.I.O. acronym guides us while we work:
Skillfulness in our technique
Teamwork with clients and each other
Understanding the problems
Dedication to find solutions
Imagination with planning and materials
Organization to execute the project
2. When do we work?
We are available during our posted business hours. Just like you, we have families, friends, events, wellness routines, laundry and more to attend to. Thanks for helping us provide a respectful workplace for the whole design team.
3. What do you need from you to get started?
There are just a few things we will need from you:
- Value the expertise and professionalism that an interior designer brings to your project.
- Inspiration images of your style preferences, details you like, and more. We recommend you use Houzz or Pinterest.
- Existing plans of the home, location, or room.
- A realistic budget (see below.)
- A realistic timeline (see below.)
- Be prepared to collaborate with us and make decisions about your project.
4. How do we charge?
We charge using a flat design fee billed in phases, much like a milestone, based upon the square footage of the areas we're working in. Design fees are split between phases with the first payment being the amount of the Conceptual phase. We package our services as a tangible line item charge you can understand and there may be some instances where there will be additional charges. We outline these scenarios in a separate fee schedule.
We recommend setting aside 10 - 15% in addition to your project budget for interior design fees and to help you understand the value of our professional services here are some examples of how we calculate our flat design fees.
Example of Square Footage Calculations for Residential projects:
Full-Scope Residential Design Services. Calculated by area starting at $20/sf and varies by complexity.
Kitchen & Bath Design Services. Calculated by area starting at $40/sf and varies by complexity.
Interior Styling & Décor Services. Start with a minimum $5000 retainer and 20% of project spend.
Custom Cabinetry. Varies by size, style, material, and finishes.
Example of Square Footage Calculations for Commercial projects:
Full-Scope Commercial Design Services. Calculated by area starting at $15/sf and varies by complexity.
Example of Additional Fees & Disbursements
Outside Lower Mainland. See below.
Large Format Printing. $200 per set
Building Permit Application. 20% administration charge on-top of the fees.
Additional Site Visits. $400 per occurrence.
Additional Project Binder. $400 each
Studio Hourly Rate. For all other types of projects our rate is $190/hr
5. What's a realistic timeline?
There is no rule or guideline for project timelines. Based upon our history with 100's of projects and interactions with busy and professional clients, the typical full-scope design project requires at least 6 - 8 months to design. Construction timelines depend on relocation of housing needs, building permit application processing, and complexity of the general contracting work.
We always recommend that a buffer be added to your ideal timeline for construction projects due to the nature of the industry, continued labour shortages, product backorders, and material customizations that invariably will happen.
6. What's a realistic budget?
Each project is different from the other so it is impossible to tell what the final numbers will be. Based upon our history with 100's of projects, and this isn't a secret but more our professional recommendation, here what we know it'll take to complete projects:
Interior Finishing Budgeting for Multi-room Projects
Economy. Starting at $175/sf
Mid-market. Starting at $275/sf
Luxury. Starting at $350/sf
Kitchen & Bath Budgeting
Economy. Starting at $350/sf
Mid-market. Starting at $500/sf
Luxury. Starting at $600/sf
Interior Styling & Decor Budeting
Economy. Starting at $100/sf
Mid-market. Starting at $200/sf
Luxury. Starting at $300/sf
The portion of design fees will vary in complexity from 10 - 15% of the total budget. All other project types can utilize our Online Design Packages for a paired-down, online only professional design service.
7. Who makes the product selections?
There are a couple of approaches but the most common is that clients leave all product selections to us with some input. This is the most fluid and efficient way of working because we deal with over a million of products. If you are wanting to make product selections, you will need to trust that we are experts and must review all the details before we can commence design work. If something doesn't work, it'll be your responsibility to reselect. We will give you firm deadlines when we need selections.
8. Who purchases products?
As a supplier and manufacturer of 10,000's of different types of products, we provide procurement of:
Decorative lighting fixtures
Selected plumbing fixtures
Furniture, custom upholstery, and soft-goods
Custom window coverings, drapery, and blinds
Area rugs, artwork, decorative accessories
We manufacture and supply our own custom cabinetry for all of our projects and we itemize these specialized goods in a separate Proposal and Agreement. The rest of the products are purchased by the general contractor on full-scope projects and by you for online design projects.
9. What if my project is outside of the Lower Mainland?
We can still help you, and there are some additional details that you need to be aware of. First, a flat rate of $2,500 for an 8-hour day will apply. The travel & accomodation expenses are additional with meals being allowed for at $50/day and vehicle travel (within 3-4 hours of Vancouver) at $55/km in accordance with Canada Revenue Agency.
The design work is completed from our Vancouver office using our online studio and video conferencing for design meetings. Administration phase services are determined by the needs of the project and client.
10. Who hires the General Contractor?
For projects that require construction work, you hire the General Contractor under a separate agreement. Although we will collaborate with you and the selected General Contractor, we are not responsible for their performance. We do have a couple of recommendations and the majority of our projects have been successfully completed by:
Fifth Element Construction
11. What if I don't have existing plans of my home?
Obtaining a set of as-built plans is critical to any projects success. To obtain an AutoCAD file and PDF, we recommend:
Draft On-Site Services
As Building Designers, Draft On-Site can also assist our Design Team with substantial renovations and new construction projects.