FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT DESIGN FIRMS
We only want the best for our clients and feel that being open and honest right from the start can help us create a strong, collaborative relationship and eliminate confusion. We've answered some of our most asked questions in hopes that you may find them helpful!
WHY HIRE A DESIGNER?
Unfortunately nowadays with the internet and different television shows, this becomes a serious question. Why hire a designer if I can do it myself? The truth is, you may be able to do it yourself but there is a lot of value in having a designer...
For example, we will:
Help you bring your vision to life
Bring our experience, as well as our experienced trades to you
Offer you products that you can't find in a retail store
Manage your project when you are unable to - and keep the lines of communication open between you and everyone associated with the project
Provide out of the box solutions
Brainstorm new ideas to solve problems that may occur
Determine the correct sizing for furniture, etc. in order to create the best layout for your space and prevent blocking off traffic flow
Help you make decisions that can be stressful to make on your own
Think about all details in advance that sometimes get missed by others and keep your project on schedule!
WHAT HAPPENS IN OUR FIRST MEETING?
The first meeting (or initial consultation) is often 1 - 2 hours long. We use it as a time to get to know each other and learn a little bit about the project and what your wants and needs are! We tour your space, take measurements, take pictures (with your permission), discuss goals, and determine the direction you want to go in. We find it easiest if you have thought about what you are wanting for your space and have a prepared wish list of what you need. It is also helpful if you have an idea of a rough budget for how much you would like to spend! We also ask that if you have any inspiration images that you bring those to the initial meeting as well, as this helps us visualize what you want and get to know your style better!
WHAT IS THE ORDER OF A RENOVATION PROJECT?
The order of a project solely depends on the scope of the project. In the case of a renovation it starts with putting a plan together on paper. Once you have chosen the design most suited to you and your family, we will do elevation (2D) drawings in order to show you what any built-ins or cabinetry look like. Once you have selected a design that you like the best, we will review the designs with our contractor and begin to obtain quotes. We like to have the contractor and custom cabinet maker meet with you so that they can view the space as well and get to discuss next steps with you! Once we have received quotes from them, we begin to put an overall project budget together so that everyone on the project knows what is involved and expected from them, and so that we all stay on the same page. Once you have approved a budget we go ahead and start sourcing different products for you. We like to have all of the decisions made and products ordered before the rip-out stage begins. Previous experience has taught us that doing this makes for a much smoother and more enjoyable process overall! Once the rip-out begins we step aside and let our trades people take over - (with our guidance of course)!
BASEMENT VS. MAIN FLOOR RENO. WHICH COMES FIRST?
Most homeowners have this backwards... If you have the option, we usually encourage starting with your main floor renovations first. The reason for this is in the case of a kitchen or main floor bathroom renovation, plumbing and electrical usually need to be removed/moved/or added. This process is easiest when the basement ceiling is unfinished and everything is exposed. If your basement is finished, a main floor renovation can still be done - it just requires more time and a little bit more clean up!
WHAT ARE DRAWINGS AND WHY DO I PAY FOR THEM?
We complete a variety of different drawings. The most common drawings are furniture layouts for a space, design plans for a renovation that involve removing or adding walls, and elevation drawings in order to show you what your final cabinetry will look like.
We use AutoCAD (a computer-aided design program) in order to put together all of our drawings. We like to do this so that you know exactly what fits into a room based on a proper scale. We find that drawings are extremely valuable when wanting to revamp a space with new furniture because you know exactly what sized furniture you need to purchase in order to get the layout and the look that you want - saving you money in the long run.
Our renovation drawings are used by contractors and other trades people to quote on a job, as they help to clarify what the end goal for the space is - before construction even begins.
Renovation drawings are usually only 75-80% correct, as they are created based on what we would want to see in your space. However, very often there are unforeseen conditions behind the walls that can cause plans to be changed once demolition has begun. This is very typical - as even if two houses are laid out exactly the same, they could be constructed very differently. When this happens, we quickly adjust the design plans accordingly.
Once drawings are completed, they are yours to keep. We like to make recommendations for specific trades as we have built up our team using great people - whom we trust to get the project done properly and on schedule.
HOW LONG CAN I EXPECT A PROJECT TO TAKE?
Depending on the scope of work a project can take anywhere from 1 - 16 weeks. General renovations (like a bathroom or other small projects) can take anywhere from 2 - 4 weeks, whereas a larger renovation (such as main floor/kitchen spaces or other big projects) usually take 8 - 16 weeks. We try our best to adhere to the set timeline as we like to be as organised as we can before any rip out begins, however, there are many factors and moving parts that can sometimes change timelines. It takes time to get materials selected, items delivered, etc. and sometimes we can't control the outcome. However, we will do our best - as we want your project to be completed as efficiently as possible in order to make it a fun and easy experience for everyone!
WHAT'S HAPPENING WHEN YOU'RE NOT AROUND?
Don't be alarmed if you don't see us for a while! We are still working on your project! While we do have multiple clients, we are always working on your project behind the scenes. Usually we are creating design plans, researching products, picking up materials, coordinating trades people, etc. A lot goes into a project that homeowners don't even see! But, we always make sure to keep track of our hours, and only bill accordingly.
Can I source my own product?
Of course! We are very flexible and have no problems with you wanting to source your own materials/products! The only thing that we like to tell homeowners, is that if you do decide to use sources outside of our suggestions we cannot guarantee that your project will run as smoothly - or will be completed within the same timeline. The reason we use our selected suppliers is because we work one - on - one with them in order to make sure your project is completed on time - and within your allotted budget!