The answer is: it depends on who,
what, and where.
Every designer and every firm is going to structure their services and fees a little differently. Some designers work on an hourly basis, while others stick to full service. Some firms offer an assortment of services or customizable packages. There isn’t one right way to design a home or manage a project and, kind of like dating, often times the success of a partnership is just going to come down to whether the two parties ‘click’. It may not be the first thing you’d think of when choosing a designer (or which clients to take on) but we’ve learned that this intangible chemistry is super important to a project’s success.
We get a lot of questions from prospective clients about how we work and what exactly we do. Large projects take months (if not years!) to complete, so it’s a fair question. A new build or major renovation is a massive undertaking and you want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into and with whom. Every project is different and requires a different approach, but we have a set system and workflow that serves as the foundation for every project we take on. If you’ve ever been curious about how we go from A (a plot of land or an existing home in need of some major TLC) to Z (the finished spaces you see on our feed and blog), read on.
Phase 1 — Getting Started
Our clients fill out a questionnaire to give us a bit of info about the project!
We hop on the phone to give/get more info and make sure it seems like we’re a good fit. Being a great designer or design firm doesn’t mean we’re the right designer for every project. We love new challenges and going outside our comfort zone, but also try to stay true to our signature aesthetic. If we’re not the best people for the job, we’re okay with acknowledging that and will pass.
We have a design meeting to go over the full scope, design details, vision, hopes, dreams, etc. This is where we get all the info required to integrate our clients’ personal style, functional needs, and vision with our LD style.
We provide a quote for our fee (always a flat fee, which is paid in scheduled instalments throughout the project’s duration).
Our clients pay a deposit on our services and then it’s GO TIME!
Phase 2 — Design Work
We like to start as early as possible - ideally teaming up with the architect to tweak and finalize the plans before construction ever starts. This can be up to two years (or more!) before project completion. Architects and designers tend to have slightly different approaches to layout and general flow, so collaboration in this area is key!
We design and select EVERYTHING. It’s a big job, but we love it. This includes cabinetry, decorative wall and ceiling details, lighting & plumbing fixtures, tiles, flooring, etc. Seriously: everything.
Once we’ve presented our design and worked with our clients to make tweaks and adjustments, we assemble a detailed project file that contains spec lists & drawings for your builder.
We’re on hand throughout the build to ensure the vision comes together as planned and make and approve & oversee any changes on the go. We serve as the point person for your builder so you don’t have to answer a million questions a day.
Once construction is underway, we get started on furniture and decor design. The process is essentially the same as hard finishes: we design it all, present, and work with our clients to tweak as needed.
Once the furniture & decor plan is locked in, we order absolutely everything and take care of receiving and storage as well. We’ve developed a detailed project tracking system to ensure we always know where every item is: what we’ve spent, what’s been received, and what’s still on the way.
Phase 3 — Putting It All Together
When the builder has handed over the keys (OMG!), we book an install day (or a few) with our crew and work together to get the space fully furnished and styled to perfection.
No matter how carefully we’ve planned, there are always -yes, always- things to tweak or wait for at the end of a project. This phase can be frustrating for both us as designers and our clients, so we make a point of staying focused on every project until these final details are taken care of.
Once a project is totally, completely, actually done, we go in to photograph. We generally bring even more decor to really flesh out the styling and often times our clients ask us to leave the photoshoot decor behind and send them a bill, ha! Our pleasure!
Our projects are a labour of love, and none of them unfold in exactly the same way. There are so many different elements in play; the style of the project, the state of the existing house (if there is one), whether a client wants to be uber involved or hands off, how the builder likes to work, if the weather cooperates, if the city cooperates, if the clients cooperate with each other (this is a real issue, ha!), if we have good luck or terrible luck with product stock when the time comes to order, etc, etc, etc. One of the best parts of this job is that every new project comes with challenges, lessons, and opportunities to stretch and grown. We love being stumped, whether in terms of design or the logistics of a project… it makes us better designers! Do you have any burning questions you’ve always wanted to ask about how we work, or how interior designers work in general? Leave them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to provide some insight.
The Leclair Decor Design Team