What to Expect with Full Service Design

Creating cohesive, beautiful homes and offices is the goal when it comes to full service design. This method includes the completion of entire homes, groups of rooms, or solitary rooms in a single installation. While projects may be phased into a room at a time or a group of rooms, our Full Service Interior Design process takes you from blueprints to finishing touches – or any stages in between.

Regardless of the project you want to tackle, you may be wondering what to expect. Below are some general guidelines, which vary depending on the scope of your needs.


This is the starting point of any project. During this initial meeting, we will discuss your needs, your goals and your budget. We will discuss your tastes, your lifestyle, and how you intend to use your space. It is very important that all decision-makers attend this meeting.

During the consultation we will cover:

1. The scope of your project in detail

This will include all the rooms involved in the project, how you intend to use each room, and your ideas and goals for each space.

2. Your tastes, preferences, likes, dislikes, style and lifestyle

I’ll ask lots of questions and we’ll look at pictures to focus in on your tastes.

3. Budget

We’ll set an overall budget before you begin the project. I will work with you to determine your options, goals and set a realistic budget for your space. I have an in-depth step-by-step process for determining your best budget right from the very start.

4. Assign the Main Contact

If there is more than one decision-maker, you will assign one to be the contact person for the project. This person will be the one that makes decisions and approves the proposals. This will also be the person we will have direct contact with and receive direction from during the course of the project. Because it is not always possible to meet with both people at the same time, the contact person will be responsible for communicating any ideas or decisions to his or partner.

Step 2: Site Measure and Assessment

This on- site meeting generally occurs within two weeks after the letter of agreement and retainer is received. We will take detailed measurements and photographs of all the spaces involved in your project. Where appropriate, we will also arrange to have the trades people who will be working on your project come in and take their own measurements for estimating purposes.

Step 3: Space Planning

Carefully considered space planning is crucial to a well-designed space. After all the measurements have been taken we will develop floor plans for each room. Floor plans allow us to determine what pieces will best fit into the space, how it is arranged, and the scale of each piece. We will then schedule a meeting to review each floor plan and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Step 4: Design Concept

Once we have decided on a floor plan, the next step is to create the design scheme. This starts with developing a color scheme and sourcing fabrics, furniture, fixtures and materials. Custom furniture and built-ins are designed and finishes chosen. Materials for flooring, counters and cabinetry are selected. Wall and floor coverings are considered. Window treatments are designed and fabrics, trims and hardware are chosen. A lighting plan is developed. Drawings, samples and pictures are gathered. Quotes and pricing are researched. Every detail is considered.

Throughout this step there will be a fair amount of communication and there may be intermediate meetings to discuss certain elements of the design. Creating the design concept is a multi-faceted process and generally requires several weeks, depending on the scope of your project.

Step 5: Concept Presentation and Approval

Once the design concept is ready to present, we will scheduled a meeting. You will be presented with carefully edited selections that represent the best choices for your space. We will go through the design in detail and you will be presented with fabrics, drawings, photos and samples for each element in the design. For some elements you’ll be presented with a few options. During the meeting you’ll provide feedback and we’ll narrow down the options to the best one for each element. If there are items that need to be re-sourced we’ll discuss the steps involved with that.

By the end of the meeting we should have a complete design concept that meets your approval. If you want to see, touch, feel or sit on some of your furniture options we can arrange a trip to the showroom. Timely approval of the design concept is crucial for maintaining accurate pricing and ensuring the availability of some design elements (fabrics or antiques, for example). If the design is not approved in a timely manner there may be additional costs associated with replacing items that are no longer available. Once the design has been approved and all elements are finalized we can begin executing on the design.

Step 6: Scheduling

A time-table is developed for purchasing and ordering, work to be done by trades, and final installation. This schedule will be adjusted along the way to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. Please be aware that most projects take several months to complete. The lead time on furniture can often be 8-15 weeks.

Step 7: Procurement

Before any trades are hired or items are purchased on your behalf you will receive a proposal for approval that details the work to be done or item to be purchased along with all known associated costs. Nothing will be purchased without your approval.

You will receive two copies of each proposal; one for your records, and one that you will sign and return to our office with a 50% deposit. For fabric, antiques and other off-the-shelf items payment must be made in full when the work order is approved. The balance on each order will be due when the merchandise is ready for delivery or when services provided by trades are substantially completed.

Step 8: Design and Trades Implementation

If there is work to be done by trades, we schedule this as soon as possible. We manage the scheduling and oversee the work to make sure the design is executed properly and with the highest quality workmanship. Throughout the design process, we manage all the details. We make sure work by trades is underway or has been satisfactorily completed, all concerns have been addressed, furniture ordered, payments made, schedule on track, and no detail overlooked. We’ll schedule a brief meeting to review anything left outstanding or any changes that need to be made.

Step 9: Installation & Accessorizing

This is where the vision becomes reality. All work by trades has been completed. Now the furniture is delivered, window treatments are installed, rugs laid, accessories placed and art hung. If it can be arranged, I have it all done on the same day so you get that “wow” effect when you come home.

Styling is what elevates your space to magazine quality status. It involves adding finishing touches and follows a different process than the rest of the design. Before the installation we’ll go to a number of stores and choose various accessories for your space. This could include art, lamps, throws, vases, candles, and other types of accessories. On installation day they’ll be placed throughout your space. We’ll provide you with the cost of each item and you’ll have a day or two to decide what you want to keep. You’ll pay for what’s staying and we’ll return anything you don’t want.

Step 10: Refinement Punch List

Once the installation is complete, we’ll walk through the space and review each room together. We’ll compile a punch list of all the little things that are left outstanding or need attention (such as paint touch-ups or a needed item). We will have each item on the list addressed as quickly as possible. If there’s something that’s not right, don’t worry. We’ll make sure it gets taken care of.  Once all the items on the punch list are completed, the project will have come to a close.  We will then discuss plans for photographing the space.

At this point, it will be time to celebrate. The space will be yours to enjoy for years to come!