A couple weeks ago, I shared Phases 1 and 2 of our buttoned-up design process: Schematic Design and Design Development. Today I’ll be detailing Phase 3: Procurement and Phase 4: Construction & Installation.
You’ll notice that these phases have more detail than Phases 1 and 2, because of the large amount of coordination, communication, and management that is required to move the project along smoothly. Excitingly enough, this part of the process is when your project begins to come to life right before your eyes!
But I’m getting ahead of myself… let me show you precisely what to expect during this time.
Overview of Phases 3 & 4
Phase 3: Procurement
- Quotes, Proposals & Payments
- Goods Purchasing
- Tracking/ Expediting
Phase 4: Construction & Installation
- Trade Management
- Accessory Sourcing
- Installation Day
- The Big Reveal
- Punch-list Items
Phase 3: Procurement
QUOTES & PROPOSALS
During the procurement phase, we submit requests for official quotes from our vendors for every item we’ve spec’d for your project. Procurement of items is a full-time job; it’s tedious, time consuming, and imperative for the success of the project.
For example, ordering a custom sofa requires us to obtain pricing and availability for at least three components (the frame, the main fabric, cushion type, contrast welt fabric, etc.) that are itemized separately.
To ensure that all components come together at the right place, at the right time, requires insane amounts of detail! This is why maintaining strong relationships with our vendors and having a detail-oriented procurement coordinator in the studio (thanks, Meridith!) is crucial for a smooth process.
Once we’ve officially nailed down your item’s price, we develop detailed proposals which outline all charges pertaining to the items, such as the estimated shipping and warehousing costs (more on this below).
PROPOSAL APPROVAL & PAYMENT
In our next meeting, we’ll walk you through the proposals and ensure you’re clear about what is being ordered and any potential timing issues with particular items. In today’s world we’ve grown accustomed to next-day shipping (thanks, Amazon!) but it’s important to know that some orders, like custom furniture, could take upwards of 12 weeks to arrive. If this is the case, you’ll have plenty of notice as we communicate this within your master schedule.
Once the proposal has been approved, you’ll need to be prepared to write that big check. (Gulp!) We know it’s a big investment, but rest assured the outcome will be worth every penny!
Once we receive your signed proposals and deposits, we initiate orders immediately. Remember all those components of a sofa that we needed to obtain pricing on during procurement? Well now it’s time to order each element, one by one, verifying all the details once more before it goes into fabrication.
From ordering, to quality inspections, to managing the delivery to our warehouse, we act as your purchasing agent throughout this phase, accurately preparing all specifications and purchase orders.
Our vendors will send us acknowledgments, but in some cases, especially if it’s a new vendor, this can take several days. We prioritize communication, so if minor variations in final vendor pricing occur due to a change in material or shipping costs, we’ll notify you as soon as we become aware of it.
During this phase, we want you to be prepared to expect the unexpected, because the reality of the design business is that things can change in an instant. Doesn’t it always feel like once you find a product you love, the company discontinues it?
Unfortunately, it happens quite often in the design industry. While it’s part of our process to verify product availability prior to presenting it, the reality is that items can become backordered or discontinued in the blink of an eye. This is why it’s important for all of us to act swiftly. If this happens, we’ll present you a comparable (or better!) replacement and get it on order ASAP.
The procurement phase tends to be the longest part of the design process, especially during the tracking and expediting phase. As the custom pieces are fabricated, and all orders are being fulfilled, we’re in constant contact with our vendors, ensuring all items will be arriving on the promised delivery dates.
We know our UPS man on a personal level (hi, Brian!) because he delivers packages to our studio at least once a day, sometimes multiple times a day. We monitor each delivery to ensure it arrives safely and damage-free either to our studio or to our warehouse for holding.
This eliminates your need to be available to receive deliveries, and all furnishings are kept in one organized place — an aspect of full-service design that is worth its weight in gold!
Phase 4: Construction & Installation
Each project requires different levels of construction, so some of these points may not apply to yours (although it most likely does to some extent, even if it’s just opening up one wall). In conjunction with procurement, the construction phase is where your vision starts to physically come to life. No more visualizing your home through computer screens or paper plans, the actual transformation has begun.
In the words of Chip Gaines: it’s #DemoDay.
Depending on the needs of the project, we may oversee certain trades, such as the electrician and the painter. In other cases when a General Contractor is involved, we just ensure the project is being installed as designed and that everyone is sticking to the schedule.
As construction progresses, we visit the project periodically to become familiar with the progress and quality of work as it relates to the interior design concept, updating you regularly along the way. Expect a lot of activity as everyone plays their part in the build. Once any construction is complete, we’ll manage the interior trades, such as the window treatment installer, carpet installer and wallpaper installer.
Going through a renovation can be stressful, so if you are living in the space during this phase, we will make sure you are as comfortable as possible. It really is extraordinary what a difference a fresh coat of paint, new flooring and shiny fixtures can make in a home. Although your home may seem like it’s being turned upside down, keep that vision of the end product in mind – we’re almost there!
While the larger pieces of furniture make their way to the warehouse, our design team is busy sourcing all those brightly colored, unique home accessories like artwork, trays, boxes, books and other decorative items to style your space.
Styling is a HUGE part of installation day. These accessories tie the personality of the space together and turn a house into a home. (We consider this our superpower!)
From sourcing the items all the way to safely packing them for transport, we love the process of finding items that we know our clients will love. If there are special things you’d like incorporated into the styling of your home, let us know well before your installation date. We’ll ensure we can find the perfect spot for them.
Once the floors are installed, the paint is dry, and the mess of construction is all wrapped up, it’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for… installation day!
On installation day, we’ll be arriving with trucks of furniture and boxes of accessories. Like any moving day, your home will likely get worse before it gets better.
On this day, we ask that you treat yourself to a stress-free day outside of your house so that our team can efficiently transform your interior. We also find that the reveal experience is far more exciting for our clients when they’re not watching each element of the installation unfold.
Good things take time, so typically we’ll need a full day (sometimes longer depending on the scale of the project) to arrange the furniture, accessorize the space and make sure everything is in its place.
So much goes into installation day that we simply can’t fit it all in this blog post, so be on the lookout for a behind the scenes post coming in a couple weeks!
Until then, just know that the installation part of installation day is… not that glamourous. We diligently manage every small detail, from laundering bedding to removing those pesty stickers from items. We move furniture, style shelves, hang artwork, and much, much more. Then, we await your arrival in your new space. ☺
THE BIG REVEAL
Drumroll please….here is the moment that has been months in the making! It’s time for that emotional TV design show moment (you know the one when the homeowners gasp and laugh and cry all at once) when you walk into your home and see your dream come true!
As designers, it’s an emotional time for us as well. Seeing how our work transforms our clients’ lives is really special and confirms our belief that a beautiful (and colorful!) interior has a profound impact on our day-to-day lives.
After we’ve all rejoiced in the excitement of your new interior (for the moment), we’ll share any ‘punch list’ items that need addressing before we close out your project.
Typically these punch list items address a product that arrived damaged, any shipping issues, and other loose ends that need tying up. At this point you’ll be so in awe of your amazing space, you’ll barely notice that lampshade that has a small spot on the back of it. (But we will, and we’ll make notations to make it right!)
Our work here is complete! The space you’ve dreamed of, the lifestyle that makes you feel alive — it’s all yours to live and love. We’ll send you off into the sunset with our gratitude and best wishes for a life that feels bold, exciting, and beautifully vibrant.
And if you want to check in with us down the line to tell us how it’s going, we’d be delighted to stay in touch!
There you have it — the full process from initial consultation to vibrant living in a home you love. This work is our passion, and we love what we do every step of the way. But when we know that we’ve impacted your life in a positive, authentic way, well, that’s what WE live for. So if you’ll be taking this journey with us, know that we’ll have your back every step of the way!
If you’re still considering the home design that will set your soul on fire, we’ve got your back too. Download our Interior Design Project Planner to start planning your project, and we’ll see when you’re ready to bring it to life!