Finding the right design professional for your project is confusing, so we're changing that. Navigating through the first steps of finding the right interior design firm can be a challenge for any home or business owner. Based upon the most common questions we are asked, we developed quick facts to help owners to understand more about us and help our Assessment process.
1. how Can you start working with Us?
To being working with us, you will want to complete our Project Inquiry form with a link to your ideabook. Landing on a realistic project budget will be a challenge at first, but it is an important conversation we must have. We do receive a lot of requests for work, so it has become increasingly important to 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 do not know what to write, you can call us directly at 604-565-2159 during business hours and the Design Team will help complete the form with you over the phone.
2. How do we charge?
Our fees are inclusive of our education, skills, experience, applications needed to do our work, studio space, transportation costs, office supplies, brand recognition, and the time that you save by hiring us.
Design fees are calculated by total working area using a flat design fee based upon a Menu of Services we create. We do not have or work for an hourly rate. We recommend using 7 to 12% in addition to the project budget to determine design fees, 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 Three-Step Desig Process (see Services). 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?
There are two aspects to every type of design project: design and build.
1. Design - The factors that affect the design process include your personal schedule to meet with our Design Team, the ability to make decisions and stick to them, and our current project load. For larger projects, there will be a pre-design period of about 30 to 45 days and then a minimum 45 days of actual design work that we have to complete on every project before build can begin. For smaller projects, the timeline is shorter but for both sizes we can not rush the design process.
2. Build - The factors that affect the build process are permit application processing, seasonal availability of professionals and trades, product ordering and delivery timelines, availability of building inspectors, and more.
Each aspect has unforeseen circumstances, statutory holidays, and other pressures. You can be sure that there will be no straight line from point A to point B. We can try to anticipate how long your project will take to design but there is no guaranteed calculation.
Future Clients contacting us in June or later for a Christmas completion in the same calendar 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. Although we do not control the budget directly, involving us as your Professional Design Team assures that we will save you time and money before we begin. Project budgets are fluid and usually elicit an initial emotional response when budget numbers come in.
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 starting at $400 + 5% G.S.T. 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. Please see our Core Quick Fix service found here.
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?
All clients should have an organized inspiration look-book for their project or space. The images should reflect either a feeling or a specific product/material that inspires you. We recommend using Pinterest or Houzz to build your look-book. Additionally, the following items are needed by project type:
Renovations - Provide us with a set of existing plans on file with your Authority Having Jurisdiction containing a site and/or strata plan, exterior elevations, and floor plans;
New Construction - Involve us as early as possible, or hire us outright for all aspects, to ensure that the space planning and interior architectural details will fit within the design aesthetic and how an interior space actually functions. Also, provide us with a set of existing plans on file with your Authority Having Jurisdiction containing a site and/or strata plan, former exterior elevations, and former floor plans;
Interior Styling - A set of existing plans is sufficient for most of these types of projects.
9. Will You need a building permit?
For direct replacement of cabinets, counters, tile, flooring and paint (in the exact same locations) you do not.
Building permits are legal requirements of owners for all construction and renovation projects set forth by many levels of government. They ensure the safety of all occupants and visitors, they meet insurance coverage needs, and permit property sales. We have a strong process and can work through the permit planning needs for your project in-house. Our Design Team is experienced and skilled in coordinating the construction documentation needed for any size or scope of project for residential and commercial projects.
10. 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. We have a history in business for a reason.
- Expect something to go not-to-plan at demolition. It will happen 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.