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New Construction & Renovations



This is step one!  We meet. This meeting has two goals: (A) to determine if GordonDunning is the right fit for your project and (B) for the client to provide enough information so that GordonDunning can create an accurate Design Fee Proposal.


The most important pieces of that puzzle are the architectural plans, budget, the level of customization, timeline and the processes of your builder and/or architect. Design prior to construction is most successful when each member of the team collaborates. In our first meeting, we will want to determine if you have the other players on board or not and how they work best. Having a builder, an architect or plans is not required to start the process. You will definitely need a builder and plans prior to breaking ground. Wink.


Selecting a design team is a very personal decision. We will spend a good bit of time talking about who we are, who you are, why you are starting the project, what you want your home to achieve etc.


There is a fee for this meeting to cover our time; however, the fee is waived if the proposed design fee is paid within 10 business days. 



Now, we propose. We head back to our studio and calculate the time requirements and expertise we think it will take to execute 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 design meetings, drawing interior construction documents, sourcing product, specifying finishes/fixtures, pricing labor, meeting with vendors and contractors during the design phase, etc. Often times, the design fee is paid by your builder.

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.) Once the proposal is sent, the ball is 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 this process and payment are REQUIRED to move forward just to make sure we're all on the same page. (Pun intended.)



The purpose of this step is information gathering. We will get to know you and your design goals as well as the architectural plans.


Getting to know the client is always important - no matter what the project. We have a list of questions prepared to get you thinking of who you are and how that affects 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. Call us and ramble off your thoughts. We are really digging deep to discover 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.


The way that we approach the plans varies based on when we enter the project in the overall project timeline. Sometimes, we are there at conception and work with the architect to develop the design. Other times, we add furniture and lighting plans to what has already been designed to further fine tune the plans to fit your specific needs and life. We almost always work to select finishes, fixtures and design details. These include items and tasks like kitchen and bath design, fireplace details, millwork details, plumbing, lighting and hardware fixtures, paint selections etc. There is a wide spectrum of how custom a client wants to be and how large a menu there is to choose from within each contractor’s process. These details are discussed at initial consult and will be factored into your design fee.



This part might be our favorite!! We typically meet at our studio. First, we show you preliminary scaled plan edits if applicable. Sometimes, these include rough sketches and elevations. We present you with TONS of images of molding details, light and plumbing fixtures, architectural details, and so on…as well as finish samples for flooring, cabinets, tile and paint samples, specific to your project for you to attack. 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 color!", "I'd love this if it were more textured", "This looks like my grandmother's chandelier, and I loved that chandelier!" “I need a bigger island in the kitchen” “Marble is not my favorite because of the maintenance” We take all this feedback to create the perfect design for you!



Now that we have you all figured out, we start narrowing in on the design for your space.  In our design presentation at our studio, you see scaled floor plans, elevations and 3D drawings (if applicable), samples, selections and general pricing ranges for the entire design. Changes can be made at or after this presentation, but typically there are only a few changes. The Love.Hate meeting should weed out most of the revisions. 



Now that we have you all figured out, we finish the design for your space down to the last detail. In our design presentation (typically done at our studio), you see scaled floor plans, elevations and 3D drawings (if applicable), samples, and selections for the entire design. The best projects are when all the elements of the design are considered and designed at once. Many contractors have a timeline of when specific selections are due (ex. Plumbing 4/20/2020, Lighting 6/14/2020 etc.) in order to keep on schedule. We NEVER like to hold up construction. Typically all selections are made by the first deadline, if we are brought into the project early enough to do so.


This is also the time that we will present pricing. Procurement in construction varies from contractor to contractor. If we are ordering the product, we will present the most comprehensive pricing as possible at this meeting. 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.



Ordering and project management varies from project to project. Often times, we turn in a specification sheet to the contractor who then orders everything. Some clients order on their own. Some clients have us order everything and do all the communication with the builder. All of this is dependent on the builder’s process. You will either have an invoice to pay to us or a specification sheet that provides you and/or the builder details on what to order to accomplish the design. These details will be determined by Love.Hate.


Ordering through us requires an 80% deposit (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. The Project Management Fee kicks in to cover our time to manage the project and/or on-site consultations during construction. Every Friday afternoon, an update is sent 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.


Furniture planning and décor are not included in this process but can be easily added to be designed alongside the construction process. We love when we are invited to be a part of the project from studs to pillows.

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