Searching for the right interior designer is challenging for homeowners. There are multiple conflicting information sources and imposter designers everywhere. Here are the important facts about every project you need to know right now.
1. What is "interior design"?
Interior Design is the practice and application of the safety and welfare of the occupants within a space. It is a highly technical profession similar to an Architect that focuses on interior living environment building codes, fire protection, exits and egress, the use of construction techniques, sensory conditions, energy efficiency, sustainability, universal accessibility, and materials. It focuses on human behavior, psychological perceptions, historic precedent and a particular process to solve the Client's needs.
There are 2 certification bodies for interior designers:
- Certified Interior Designer Qualification (CIDQ)
- National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA)
2. What are we looking for in our Clients projects?
We are looking for astute owners that value creativity and professionalism that a qualified interior designer brings to a project. Owners should have 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.
Projects that aren't a fit for us are:
- Real estate flips or staging
- Projects for Christmas completion that all the design work is not finalized by July
- Renovations/new construction where completion is within the next 9 months
- Project where the homeowner does not want to make decisions
2. What makes us unique?
CKID is a multidisciplinary design studio - meaning we handle the design work in-house while many other firms outsource the work to vendors, suppliers, or overseas. We have 3 internationally recognized levels of certifications and multiple design awards. When working on design projects, our vision is clear:
The STUDIO 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
4. When are we available?
We are available during our posted business hours and our site visits and design meetings are scheduled then. Just like you, we have families, friends, events, wellness routines, laundry and more to attend to. There are some exceptions from time to time, but it is important to Corey that he provides a respectful workplace for the whole Design Team.
5. What do you need to get a project started?
As the homeowner, you will need to provide the CKID Team with documentation to get started on the project. Here's what your interior designer will need (and ensure that all parties have agreed to this beforehand):
- Existing plans of the building, lot, and/or room we are working in
- Inspiration images in a Houzz Ideabook or Pinterest board
- A starting project budget with 10% contingency and 15% for additional services (such as design fees)
- A timeline for design work that allows for about 3-4 months
- A timeline for construction work that allows for 5 - 9 months
If you don't have these items now, it's a good time to start getting them together before booking an In-Home Consultation.
You can also consider purchasing Corey's ebook "Client Project Planner" for $11 (incl. tax).
6. How do we charge?
CKID charges using a flat design fee billed in 2 phases, much like a milestone. This fee is based upon the square footage of the areas we're working in. 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, which vary from a pay-per-use charge to a Studio Hourly rate.
7. What's a realistic project 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 3 - 6 months to design. Construction timelines depend on relocation of housing needs, building permit application processing, and complexity of the general contracting work which averages somewhere between 6 to 12 months.
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.
8. What's a realistic project 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:
|Starting budgets for projects (excluding design fees)|
|Descriptions||Residential Interiors||Kitchen & Baths||Interior Styling|
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.
9. How are decisions made on design, products, and budgets?
This is easy for us to answer, but many homeowners get sidetracked by other decisions. Here's what is important to remember at all times:
10. How are product selections made?
We can not stress enough how important receiving your Inspiration Images will be because it informs us of your style and product preferences. Many of our clients are busy professionals and they trust us to make the products selections that are right for them, with some input. There are millions of products to select from and we have a packed studio space with the most common materials. During our Client-Focused Design Process, Clients have access to their products in our Online Design Studio to review, flag, and suggest alternatives. This process is extensive. If after receiving 3 revisions to products, and you want to see more options, there will be additional charges.
Selections from our trade-only vendors
Our Trade-Only vendors are pre-selected and vetted by us and this eliminates time wasted by sourcing all the products yourself. If we don't have what we are looking for, we order product samples that arrive within 2-3 weeks. We always include order management, delivery, and furniture installation inclusive of our selections.
Selections made at showrooms
We schedule key visits with you at an appliance or plumbing fixture showroom to select these products together as they pertain to your proposed design solution. Showroom specialists must provide you with a complete quotation and tear sheets with all products, which you pass along to us.
Retailer and online stores
We will not purchase from retail or online stores. Many of our Online Design projects are selected from an online retailer (Amazon, Wayfair, etc.) where the homeowner purchases and manages the order themselves without our involvement.
11. Who purchases products selected?
Once you have approved the products in our Online Design Studio, product purchases are handled through your contracted parties (either the homeowner, Designer, or the General Contractor.) Our business model (and general contractors) relies on the sale of products as a part of their revenue streams and, therefore, removing product sales from a contract will increase labour and design fees in other areas.
Purchases made from us
The CKID Team sells you our cabinetry, counters, decorative cabinet hardware, select BLANCO plumbing fixtures, furniture, window coverings, accessories, artwork, decorative lighting fixtures, and more direct to our clients and our preferred rates. The majority of our products are lower than retail and we manage the order, shipping, delivery and installation inclusive of our sell price. All of our contracted sales are special orders and are non-refundable. When we sell you products, are the exclusive agent (retailer.)
Materials, labour, fixtures and goods for projects
Contractors generally work with a cost-plus contract, meaning that the costs of goods and labour are marked up by an additional 12 - 20%. We highly recommend this process as your minimum 5 year warranty on workmanship and 2 year warranty on installation is completely managed by the contractor.
We do not provide cabinetry installation services directly as this is managed by the contractor.
Client direct purchases
Products purchased on your own are your responsibility and if we become involved there are additional charges.
Foreign retailer and online stores (US)
It is important to note that many owners (inadvertently) source from a foreign retailer located outside of Canada. If this is a must-have product, these purchases are made by the owner, whom will also manage the order. It is important to factor additional costs such as shipping & handling, foreign currency exchange, custom brokerage fees, and duty (often 100% of the purchase price). Many foreign retailers can provide curbside delivery or a doordrop, meaning you are responsible to bring the product inside the space on your own.
Any fixture (appliance, plumbing, electrical, lighting, or HVAC products) must have a UL or CSA approval or it can not be installed in Canada by any Red Seal contractor.
12. What if my project is outside of the Lower Mainland?
Corey has worked with clients across the world and we can still help you. Yet, when starting projects outside the Lower Mainland there are some additional details that you need to know:
- For the first In-Home Consultation, a flat rate of $2,500 for an 8-hour day will apply
- Travel, accommodation, and vehicle expenses are additional
- Meals allowed for at $50/day
- 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.
13. 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
14. 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.
15. What are the typical issues homeowners need to be aware of?
This is an evolving list but here are the big points:
- Busy homeowners. Your project will require your time to make decisions and take action items away to implement. Be sure to schedule your time accordingly and keep progress moving ahead.
- Absentee homeowners. From time to time, homeowners "disappear" on us for weeks at a time. If after 14 days of no responses, we automatically pause all work. In these scenarios, there is a 20% surcharge of the contract price to re-start a project.
- Homeowners reading contracts. It is the our responsibility to provide you with a contract and offer to review it together. It is the homeowners responsibility to read and understand the contract. We can not make you read our contract, but it is our job to complete it.
- Homeowners shopping on their own. This is both a good and bad thing. Remember that we offer cost-effective design fees based upon set revisions so more options and more revisions mean added costs.
- Untrusting homeowners. We can't help you there, and untrusting homeowners are often met with additional charges somewhere, but keep in mind that we are a professional business, we also are in business to be a business, here to help, and we have certifications that prove to you we have the skills and knowledge to complete the project.
- Changing your mind. In each of our design meetings, we take direct action based upon your feedback to implement solutions and products. Changing your mind is costly and counts toward the revisions alloted in your contract.