This Industry is Confusing...
So we're changing that. Navigating through the initial details can be a challenge for every owner. We are often asked a lot of the same questions so we developed a list of common questions and answers to provide quick facts and help streamline our project intake process. It's a long and rewarding relationship we will have and we love what we do.
1. how Can you start working with Us?
To being working with us you'll want to complete the Project Inquiry form with a link to your ideabook and a healthy project budget. We receive a lot of requests for work every week, so it has become ever more important for future Clients to try and complete as much detail as possible. We align with Clients that value an investment in the relationship we are about to embark upon.
If you're stuck and don't know what to write, call us directly at +1 604-565-2159 during business hours and the Design Team will complete it with you over the phone.
2. what are our Fees?
Fees are calculated by total working area using a flat design fee based upon a Menu of Services we create. We do not have an hourly rate. We recommend using 7 to 20% in addition to the project budget to determine design fees, and it varies depending on your tastes, timeline, and complexity of work needed. We charge our flat design fees up-front at the beginning of each of our 3 design phases (see Services & Process). What this provides you with is a tangible line-item cost that will not balloon over time.
3. How long will the design process take?
We can try to anticipate how long your project will take to design but there is no guaranteed calculation. Factors that affect the design process include your personal schedule to meet with our Team, ability to make decisions and stick to them, the time it takes to receive Tenders, and our current workload. You can be sure that there will be no straight line from point A to point B.
Based upon our experience when working with Clients, these are some typical project timelines:
- Residential Interior - 6 months design + 2 months permit + 6 months construction = 14 months
- Kitchen or Bath - 3 months design + 2 months permit + 4 months construction = 9 months
- Commercial Design - 3 months design + 3 months permit + 3 months construction = 9 months
- Interior Styling - 2 months design + 3 months order/delivery + 2 week install = 6 months
All of these figures depend on our current availability. Future Clients that are committed to working with us can expect a design retainer. Future Clients contacting us in Spring or later for a Christmas completion in the same year will be disappointed.
4. What is a healthy project budget?
The beautiful projects on our website did not come by Clients doing everything themselves. Project budgets are fluid and usually elicit an initial emotional response when budget numbers come in. When involving us as your Professional Design Team, you can assured that we will save you time and money before we begin.
Based upon our experience and current market values, here are some general starting ranges for projects:
- Residential Interior - $180 per square foot and up
- Kitchen or Bath - $400 per square foot and up
- Commercial Design - $180 per square foot and up
- Interior Styling - $150 per square foot and up
Formula: [square foot of design area] x [value above] = recommended budget.
5. What can i expect at an assessment?
An Assessment is service that provides an on-site review for up to 90 minutes. The purpose is to review the proposed work areas and complete a personal assessment with many questions. Our goal is to understand the proposed project and be as comprehensive as possible. Within 2 weeks, the Proposal Presentation will outline the complete details of the project and itemize our flat design fees.
Please note that a nominal fee applies to all Assessments. No actual design work is completed during this stage. The Assessment is not a design consultation service to gather ideas or feedback on design problems.
6. I'm looking for Advice / can i hire you for a consultation?
Yes, you can! We offer a Core Quick Fix consultation service available in-person or virtually. This 3 hour package with one of our design team members, depending on your needs, can include anything from assistance with material selections so furniture planning, colour selections, or shopping one-on-one together. Obviously, some tasks only apply in Metro Vancouver, however we frequently work with clients nationally for styling consultations.
To learn about what's included and fees, please see our Design Express packages.
7. What is a "interior designer"?
Being a "designer" is a term that gets thrown around extremely loosely without any educational background or qualification. There are many imposter-types out there, so it's important to know the difference. Interior Designers and Kitchen & Bath Designers will decorate, but decorators do not design. Interior designers might plan a kitchens or bathroom, but they are not a Kitchen & Bath Designer.
- Certified Interior Designer - A professional with a bachelor's degree and/or qualified for or obtained the National Certification of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and 3,500 working hours. Continuing education is required. Interior Designers work in residential, retail, hospitality, institutional and public design.
- Kitchen & Bath Designer - A professional skilled in the methods of residential construction and kitchen and baths. An Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer (AKBD) starts at 4,200 working hours and a Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer is a mentor, leader, advocate and has over 14,500 working hours. Continuing education is required.
- Accredited Decorator - A professional holding membership with a minimum 1 year certificate in residential interior or interior decorating from a qualified educational institution. Accredited Decorators are members of CDECA. Continuing education is required.
8. what do we need from you to start?
As the property owner, you will provide us with a set of existing plans on file with your Authority Having Jurisdiction. These contain a site plan, exterior elevations, and floor plans. In addition, we will require inspiration images showing your style and preferences.
Aside from that, and after you sign on with us, we will require access to the site for our Team to physically measure critical areas.
9. Will You need a building permit?
For replacement of cabinets, counters, tile, flooring and paint, no you do not. For everything else, yes you will require a building permit in accordance with your Authority Having Jurisdiction. Our Professional Design Team is experienced and skilled in coordinating the construction documentation needed for any size or scope of project for residential and commercial projects.
Building permits are legal requirements for all construction and renovation projects. They ensure the safety of all occupants and visitors, they meet insurance coverage needs, and permit property sales. It is much less risky to proceed through a permit and inspection process that to waive your legal liability. If you're considering working on a renovation or construction project without a building permit, we will not be a fit for your project.
10. I'm looking for design help, but I don't have a healthy budget. what can i do?
Have you seen our Design Express services?
11. will i work with Corey directly?
Yes and no. Sometimes your Lead Designer will be someone on the Design Team but the entire project is designed and implemented as a Team.
12. what is the best advice you can give clients just starting?
We have a couple of things that set some client apart from others:
- Allocate resources in your schedule before the design process starts. We recommend 8hrs/week.
- Be prepared with your existing plans (#8 above) and inspiration images.
- Have a grasp of the project budget (#4 above).
- We will provide you with the best options, not all options, based upon the information you provide us.
- Be prepared to make decisions at all our design and showroom meetings.
- Trust the Design Professional you want to work with because, or us, our name is on the door for a reason.
- Expect something to go not-to-plan at demolition. It will. Every time.
- It's okay to be upset or frustrated by something, but we would rather talk about it and help you through it.
- We are a busy design studio and are booked in advance, but that shouldn't deter a contact because you never know.