The Interior Design Process: The Waiting Is the Hardest… (Part 3 of 4)

This sofa was custom made using earth friendly, organic and locally sourced materials, with no adhesives or engineered wood products. It took time, and it was worth it.

Last month, I talked about the second stage of the design process, The Work, which is the phase where we really nail down our design vision for you. There are four stages to the design process: 1. The Meeting (Excitement and Exploration, Programming); 2. The Work (Space Plans, Materials, Design Boards, and Decisions); 3. The Waiting (Quotes, Proposals, Orders, Deliveries); 4. The Rush (Installation, The Reveal)

What to expect when you are expecting to redesign a room, a few rooms, or your whole house, Phase 3:  The Waiting (quotes, proposals, orders). Compared to the bustle of Phase 2, Phase 3 can feel… slow. During this part of the design process, we are selecting items and ordering.

So…

Expect that high-end products and fine furnishings take time to make, and deliver. The Programming and Design phases (Parts 1 and 2) are one aspect of the time the whole process takes, but there is also the time it takes to custom-make or hand-make your items, and have them shipped to you, and installed.

This is what comes of wanting high-end, bespoke, artisanal. Pieces that show the hand of the maker, because they are made by human hands, artisans who spent years learning craft. This is why the product is so soulful in the end. You can’t rush heart.Expect timelines to be estimates. Contractors and vendors also will have a timeline, and that timeline may stretch, due to their own suppliers, and/or the fact that they, and all of the vendors on your project, have other clients and projects they are serving.

In an ideal world, a single room can take about 4-to-5 months to design and execute. If you are embarking on whole house, you would expect it to be a more lengthy process. Not just because there are more rooms to deal with, but also, in design, we really have to consider how every decision impacts the next. So, in a whole house design, there are more moving parts, more ways that each element plays within the whole.

Expect things to go right—and trust us to fix it if they don’t. There is no better salve for a project, than a client’s ability to trust us to do our jobs (trust is a theme that recurs, in this process). That means allowing us the space to take care what comes up, so that we can quickly move through it, and make it right.

This piece was custom measured and built to the family dog’s specifications, out of low- and zero-voc materials and finishes.

Expect to be surprised. Even after we have finalized a design plan with you, along the way we may come up with something previously not discussed. This could be a new color, a new wallpaper, an outrageously beautiful light fixture, a soulful antique. As designers, we have strong, intuitive, gut reactions that we follow, and we frequently simply stumble upon that unexpected piece of furniture, fabric pattern, work of art, etc., perfect for you.

Whether you believe in coincidence or fate, I can tell you that this happens more often than not.

Expect that you might feel scared. During this phase, we are making commitments, painting this color on the walls, ordering that sofa. At this point in the process, expect that you may be called to let go of control and, yes, trust your designer. We will listen to your concerns, if there is something you don’t like, and if we are confident in the final vision, we will ask you to wait, until you see how the whole space and all of the moving parts, come together.

Award-winning interior design of Tudor-style home office, Piedmont interior designer.

This client had very strong reservations about the wallpaper we suggested. We asked her to trust us, and once it was in, she loved it more than she could have imagined.

Expect to love your project more than you thought you would. We will talk about this more in next month’s column. However, if you can hang on through this phase, if you can have patience and some faith — knowing that you hired us to create something you most likely would never have conceived of on your own, the payoff is profound.


A version of this article appeared in the Piedmont Post

Click here to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4

Also related posts:

How to Know If Being the Client of a Designer Is Right for You

The Iron Triangle Theory

Letting Go of Perfectionism

Finishing Touches: Important Moments of Beauty and Grace

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Laura Martin Bovard

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