…from a distance
(Virtual Design Process during the COVID Crisis)
This is step one! We meet (virtually, via Zoom. Ever heard of it?). When you book your appointment, we will send you a confirmation email with a link to join the virtual meeting. We highly recommend, if you are using a phone or tablet, to download the app and test it out prior to the meeting. This is the best first date ever; you don’t have to even put on make-up, as your camera should be facing out while you give us a tour of the spaces you would like to address. During the meeting, we will discuss your design goals, priorities, and preferences, analyze needs, establish the scope of work, and begin to discuss the project budget. There is typically a fee for this meeting to cover our time; however during this crazy we time we are waiving the fee.
Now, we propose. We head back to our studio (click “leave meeting”) and calculate how many hours we think it will take to do your project and determine the Design Fee. This fee covers our time to work on your project in the design phase (steps 3-5). This includes (but not limited to) tasks like drawing construction documents, space planning, sourcing product, specifying finishes/fixtures, pulling fabric, pricing labor, meeting with vendors and contractors during the design phase, etc.
We will send you a link and password to your client portal. In the portal, you can view your Design Fee Proposal. (An additional Project Management fee is collected in Step 6.) The ball is now in your court. You can say, "No thank you, ladies", or "Love it! Sign me up! Let's get started!". When you have inspected the invoice and you're ready to move forward, you can send a check, do an online bank transfer using the prompts in the portal, or pay with credit/debit card. (FINE PRINT: There is a 3.5% charge on credit and debit card payments.) A signed copy of the agreement (linked in Step 2) and payment are REQUIRED to move forward just to make sure we're all on the same page. (Pun intended.)
Time to measure. Budget and dimensions are the least fun parts of our job BUT definitely the most important. If it doesn't fit, we didn't do our job. To make sure this part is done correctly, we require a separate measuring appointment. Depending on the scope of the project, we will choose a measuring approach. For some projects, we will still come to measure on site. If that is the case, masks and gloves will be worn while we are in your home. We ask that you steer clear - leave us a key and make yourself scarce. This way we can easily maintain social distancing standards and also keep from chatting too much. We are entirely too social to measure and chat at the same time. In some cases, the scope may allow for you to take on the task of measuring. If this is possible, the design fee will be a bit reduced, but you must sign an additional waiver that you are allowing us to design based on your measurements and therefore take on the risk that something may not fit properly. We will provide you with measuring instructions to be sure to reduce this risk as much as possible.
On the more fun end of the spectrum, this is the time to dive into your story full force! We have a list of questions prepared to get you thinking of who you are and how that effects the design of your home. The instructions are simple: answer only the questions you want, however you want: copy the questions into an email and type in your answers, reformat and send via snail mail, print it, tote it around, and write in the margins. Whatever works for your, works for us! The goal is to dig into who you are so we can design the perfect space for you - the more info, the better. There are NO wrong answers, and there is never too much information. This is a great family activity, if you haven’t had enough of them at this point. Go ahead, and dream big!
This part might be our favorite!! This is also the longest meeting so grab a snack and set those kids in front of a movie. Time for Zoom meet #2. This time, we highly recommend using a computer or tablet rather than your phone. You will need a larger screen. Prior to the meeting, we will have delivered a bag of samples to your doorstep. There will be tons of goodies in bundles! We use every precaution when packing the samples, and deliveries are made wearing masks and gloves. Resist the urge to open the package too far ahead of our meet; it will be much easier if the bundles stay together. However, it is helpful to layout the samples prior to jumping on the call; just keep the sets together as much as your selected surface will allow. We suggest a kitchen island, dining table, or large swath of floor space.
Once we are on the call, we will share our screen. First, we show you preliminary scaled space plans and ideas. Sometimes, these include rough sketches and elevations if your project is a renovation or new construction. We present you with TONS of example images of molding, furniture, art, light and plumbing fixtures, lamps, rugs, architectural details, and so on…as well as fabric, flooring, cabinet, finish, and paint samples specific to your project for you to provide feedback. Your job is to share your feelings about the items, samples, and plans. Be honest! Here are a few examples of what we have heard before: "I hate this chair!!", "I'd love this if it were orange", "This looks like my grandmother's table, and I loved that table!" “I need a bigger island in the kitchen” “Marble is not my favorite because of the staining” We take all this feedback to create the perfect design for you!
FINAL DESIGN PRESENTATION
Now that we have you all figured out, we finish the design for your space down to the last detail and dollar. This presentation will also be done via Zoom. A smaller package will be delivered to your doorstep prior to the meet. This package will only have samples that made the final cut. This meet, like Love.Hate, requires a larger screen. In our design presentation, you see scaled floor plans, elevations and 3D drawings (if applicable), samples, selections, and pricing for the entire design. At final design, you will see pricing details for goods, labor, project management, shipping, receiving, installation, and delivery. Changes can be made at or after the final presentation, but typically there are only a few changes. The Love.Hate meeting should weed out most of the revisions. Please see your specific agreement for further information on revisions. The presentation, as well as the pricing details, will be posted to your portal for you to review on your own time.
ORDERING . PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Once we have made any final changes to the design and we are all happy with what is to come, you initiate the ordering by paying 80% of the invoice (including the Project Management Fee) via check, bank transfer, or credit card. (FINE PRINT: There is a 3.5% charge on credit and debit card payments.) Then, we get to ordering and handling all the logistics of getting all the pieces of the puzzle to come together for installation day. Your boards and invoices will be uploaded to your client portal. You will be able to check order status, pay your balances, and review your boards whenever you want. Furniture and custom softgoods typically have a lead time of 10-16 weeks. Prepare to wait a bit. Trust us! It is worth it!! As mentioned above, this is where the Project Management Fee kicks in to cover our time to manage the project. We handle scheduling all of the labor (painter, electrician, plumber, millwork, wallpaper, pillows, etc.), ordering product, coordinating delivery, and dealing with damaged/inaccurate goods. This fee also includes our time to oversee installation and accessorize. We include this fee estimate in the invoice we present to you at the final design presentation. The estimate in the Final Design Presentation is an estimate; however, the fee is not to exceed 25% of the total project unless the scope of the project expands at your (the client's) request. Every Friday afternoon, an update is sent to each client to keep you aware of your project’s progress, to ask any questions and/or to get approval on any changes that may come up along the way.
The part we've all been waiting for! We set a date with our installation teams to bring in all the furniture, art, rugs, etc. The installation of most items is done in one day with the exception of construction, paint, wallpaper, and similar tasks. Social distancing works to our advantage this time. We have always requested that clients not be present on install day. This makes it more efficient for our teams to work together to make your space, but it also makes the grand reveal all the more grand. We suggest hiding away as much as you can in a separate room or separate floor while we get to work arranging each and every piece perfectly. We bring accessories and art so that the space feels perfectly finished and tells your story! Again, masks and gloves are worn to stay as safe as possible. When we leave, you should have to do nothing but sit in your space, soak it in, and enjoy a glass of...whatever you fancy. We do not hang out. We will quietly evacuate and let you experience your new home all on your own. This is when the remainder of your balance will be due. Your balance - as well as your decision on which accessories to keep - is due 10 business days after you receive your final invoice. Then, voila, you are at home in your new home...hopefully planning your next project with us. ;) And…hopefully the work from home experience a little more tolerable.