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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Walker

Our 12 Step Interior Design Process

Taking on a renovation or a new construction project is a very involved process. Most of our clients do not have the know-how, time or design eye to devote for their project, which is why they rely on us! Full service design is guaranteed to provide maximum results for your project.

Full Service design may not be right for everyone, which is why we offer a number of design services for our clients who need an expert opinion, however our most popular design service is where we manage everything on our clients behalf.

With full service, we at Slate Studios are responsible for:

Being involved every step of the way from start to finish to keep the project on schedule, and on budget

Understanding our client and the space by providing space planning layouts and sketches to explore design concepts and preliminary ideas

Making all design selections from flooring, wall coverings, paint, millwork/cabinetry, countertops, trim, furniture, lighting, plumbing fixtures, appliances, wall décor, window treatments, area rugs, all the way down to the accessories

Coordinating with General Contractors and trades on your behalf to make sure all design elements are accounted for and executed properly

Developing contract documents for installers such as installation diagrams, drawings for furniture plans, elevations, millwork, specifications, etc

Obtaining physical samples for all finishes and fabrics to review in the space to ensure everything works together perfectly!

Managing placing orders and coordinating deliveries to our warehouse to inspect for accuracy and quality control before scheduling the installation in-home

Coordinating with trades, installers, and contractors to answer any installation questions along the way

Providing white-glove installation and delivery services all the way down to making the bed and styling for a final reveal!

At Slate Studios, we are big on process! We follow a tried-and-true process every time to ensure our clients have the best experience possible and that nothing falls through the cracks.

Our process starts with a free discovery call, the call usually lasts about 15-20 minutes. We have an initial questionnaire for our clients to complete prior to the call which helps us get a better understanding of your goals so we can make the most of our call! We use this time to learn about you, the scope, discuss preliminary budgets, and answer any additional questions you may have.

By the end of the call, we will both determine if we would like to proceed with an in-home consultation.

You can book a discovery call here!

After the discovery call, we book an in-home consultation with our clients. We assess the space, your needs, discuss budget, timeframe, scope, and make sure the goals you are trying to accomplish will be feasible.

At the consultation, we take the time to get to know you and identify the design problems within your space, we need to know how the rooms are used, what challenges exist and what your goals are for the future!

At this appointment, we will also take photos (with your permission), gather measurements and discuss project budget and your priorities. We will then use this information to prepare the scope and design fees for our services.

After the consultation, we have a much better idea of the budget range, scope, and gathered information needed to prepare the design fees for a project. Since no two projects are the same, no two design contract and fees are the same, we evaluate fees on an individual basis. Each project has a unique scope, design challenge, size of space, and goals to be accomplished.

We will provide a budget range and design contract to engage our services for your interior design project.

The design contract will identify the scope of work in details, deliverables, design phases, fees due, and terms and conditions. Our goal is to be as transparent with our clients as possible so there are no surprises!

Once the design contract has been executed and payment received to start, we jump right in to setting up each project for success! We do have some client homework but we promise it’s fun! The homework is in the form of questionnaires and providing inspiration photos for us to use as the foundation for your design project. We take the time to understand our clients needs, wants, and desires to make sure every selection is thoughtful. The more we can understand our client, the better the design will be perfectly tailored to them!

At this stage, we also complete site measures of the existing space. Having accurate measurements is crucial for the success of the project. For new construction when we already have plans, we will still conduct field measures to ensure the plans match the as-built space.

The schematic design phase is all about concepts, color schemes, inspiration images, and big picture ideas for the project. After analyzing our client’s responses to questionnaires, floor plans, measurements, inspiration images, and design direction, we prepare a design narrative and conceptual ideas.

This is the stage of the project where we take everything we have heard from our client, interpreted it, and start talking about how we want to implement it! Each project has a unique design narrative and conceptual inspiration images which serves as the foundation and guiding force for the design selections throughout the design phase. We will host a virtual meeting to review the schematic design to gain approval on the design direction before moving forward with the actual selections!

This is our favorite part of any project, the actual design process. At this point, we are making the final design selections for all areas in scope for the project. We prepare drawings, elevations, renderings, design boards, and physical samples to prepare for a comprehensive presentation to show the design for all areas in scope!

During this stage, we do keep the preliminary budget in mind, and will be mindful to let our clients know of anything added that may not have been included in the original budget. Since design is a creative process, sometimes we may find the perfect solution or item for the space that was not considered during the initial budging phase. Therefore, we give our clients a budget range for some flexibility as we like to focus on maximum impact! At the end of the day, our job is to provide our clients with the best possible design solution for them.

After the design presentation, we take any client feedback and make necessary revisions to the design before moving on to the next step.

After the design is finalized, we can then bring in our General Contractors, trades, and installers. At this point, we host an in-home meeting to obtain estimates for the scope of work including the final design specifications and finalize any details with the expertise of the trades. We manage all of this on behalf of our clients.

We also gather quotes and pricing for the design selections to prepare a final quote. Once we get all of the bids and pricing back, we present a quote broken down line-by-line, room by room. We provide a comprehensive quote for everything in scope, and include estimates for certain items that may not be able to be price at the moment such as window treatments, styling accessories, freight, receiving and warehousing fees, storage, and white-glove delivery. Typically these items are estimates until the services are rendered by our vendors so we provide estimates at this stage.

Revisions are included in our process, therefore we may revise items after our initial review of the quote. Once we finalize the quote, you sign off on the final price to move forward, and pay the fee due to place orders, we get to work ordering items on your behalf!

The puchasing process is a very time-consuming behind the scenes process. Every single item has to be ordered and managed, on average we have at least fifty orders for each project that need to be created, paid, followed up on, and tracked for shipment. We are very diligent about this process as it is critical for the timeline of the project.

Once the design is 100% finalized we issue the specification book, drawings, and install diagrams for the project to all parties necessary. These documents serve as the project bible and reference for everything in scope.

At this stage, once orders are placed we also are able to confirm production lead times for everything in scope to prepare a project schedule, estimated shipment tracking, construction timeline and coordinate installation dates. We always coordinate the construction phase take place first before the furnishings installation.

We take pride in managing the project on behalf of our client by overseeing construction and installation. Therefore, on-site visits are extremely critical for the success of any project!

We arrive on-site the start date of anything being installed that we designed so we can walk-through the design with the trades a final time before anything is installed saving from project delays and costly errors. These meetings include anything from verifying paint colors, finishes, and locations, to height and placement of light fixtures, placement of outlets, tile pattern layouts, floor transitions, millwork details, plumbing fixtures layouts, and so on. These small details are crucial to a successful install.

Once construction is complete, we schedule an in-home walkthrough with our clients and the contractors to ensure everything has been completed to scope and expectations.

Once construction is complete, we will guide you through the process for the furnishing installation day for example how to coordinate getting rid of furniture that will not be used or recommending bringing in a cleaning crew prior to the install.

Often our clients are surprised to hear that we do not ship items directly to their home. Remember where we said an average project may have upwards of fifty items? Imagine needing to be home to receive fifty deliveries, having to open and inspect each box, and then find room in your house to store them before the installation takes place. Instead, we leave this stress to our professional crew.

Also, many trade vendors we purchase from do not deliver to residential addresses as they require a commercial warehouse with a loading dock.

Therefore, we do not ship products directly to clients’ homes, instead we have a professional warehouse that receives products for each project. Our professional receiving company receives everything and inspects for claims, damages, broken items, and accounts for everything we have ordered. They dispose of all the boxes and pallets and rewrap and store items in a safe and climate-controlled location until we are ready for installation day.

Once every item has arrived at our receiver and construction is complete, it’s time to schedule the install. Installation days are the most exhausting yet regarding part of the project, we thrive off of the creative chaos during install days! Depending on the project, install days may range from 2-4 days. We do ask that our clients (and fur clients) prepare to not be home on install days because it’s a fast-paced day with lots of behind-the-scenes magic happening.

Before installation, we also prepare for the styling and accessorizing of each project by shopping for these items locally. This is why we provide a budget for these items because we shop for them a few days before installation so they can be perfectly curated for your space. We use local retailers like Crate and Barrel, Target, Homegoods, antique and consignment shops, and boutiques to add the final touches to a space.

Our warehouse provides a white-glove delivery team that starts early in the morning to unload the truck in home, we instruct them on where to place items and adjust things to our liking. The crew also disposes of all packaging and boxes, and trust us, it’s a lot!

After the crew is done, we hang all wall mounted items, artwork, window treatments, washing bed linens, styling the shelves and table tops, and do a final clean up before the big reveal!

The most rewarding part to us if the final reveal! Our clients can finally see their dreams become a reality. This moment doesn’t just represent a beautiful new space, but a new way of life. With their new space our clients now have their design problems solved so they can sleep better in their room, enjoy time with family where everyone has space to be included, they can entertain and cook as they’ve dreamed and get ready more efficiently.

We do a full walkthrough of the space with our clients so they can soak in every detail!

After the reveal, we provide cleaning and care instructions and follow up after a few days to make sure everything is as anticipated. We don’t consider the project complete until our clients agree that everything has been done according to scope to meet their expectations!

Our final step is arranging for photography, we love to capture our hard work for our portfolio and will coordinate this shortly after the install.

Ready to get started with your design project?

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