Have you ever wondered what the interior design process looks like and how it progresses from start to finish? There’s quite a lot that goes on as an interior designer takes on a home’s redesign, and it’s extremely important that the process is streamlined and intentional from start to finish. Today, we’re sharing the East & Gray Interiors Design Process that we use for every Full Service Design project we do!
Enjoy an exclusive peek into our workflow! Our 5-step design process seamlessly guides clients, contractors, and vendors through a home remodel and design from concept to completion.
Keep reading to discover the East & Gray Interior Design Process!
STEP ONE: DISCOVERY
Initial Consultation – We begin each new project with a 2-hour, in-home consultation. (For a new-build, we would review drawings and construction plans in lieu of a home walkthrough.) As we walk through each room, we’ll talk through your overall design goals as well as project specific details including:
- What you like and don’t like about your current space,
- Your current style/personality vs. your ideal style/personality, and
- Your investment plans.
We’ll also provide timeline details based on the scope of the work ahead.
Client Onboarding – Following our initial consultation, we’ll provide a Terms of Service Agreement with the Design Fee Proposal for your review. This estimate is based on:
- Past projects of similar size & deliverables, and
- The scope of your individualized project.
Our Terms of Service Agreement requires a 50% retainer for design services to commence.
Once you have signed the Terms of Service Agreement and the initial deposit has been received, we’ll send you an official welcome email! This includes:
- Welcome Packet
- Design Questionnaire (Client to complete prior to our Deep Dive Interview – see below)
STEP TWO: CONCEPT DESIGN
Deep Dive Interview & Site Survey
Deep Dive Interview – We’ll meet at your home and really dig deep into getting to know you. It’s kind of like a coffee date! We want to learn what you like to do for fun, how you live in your home, how you entertain, and even what your favorite foods, restaurants, hobbies and places to travel are. We also dive into learning about your style, what you like and don’t like, design risks you might like to take or are willing to take, and more!
Site Survey – We move into the Site Survey as soon as we’ve wrapped up the Deep Dive Interview. This step is where we document everything about the existing space/home, including:
- Taking detailed photos and dimensions of all rooms involved in the project,
- Noting the locations of switches, outlets, air vents, and all windows (For a new-build, we’ll obtain this information from your builders and/or architects in the form of the blueprints for the house)
- Noting and photographing any existing furniture, art, or decor pieces you’d like to include in the final design as well as their dimensions, so that we can be sure to properly incorporate these items into the build and design!
We typically try to combine the Deep Dive Interview & Site Survey into the same day/meeting. But for large projects, we often break these into two meetings.
Space Plan / Layouts – We design and draw the ideal floor plan to ensure the best possible layout for each room and the overall project. This is a fundamental element of our design process, as it allows us to design your home in a way that is functional for the exact way that you live, and is where we always start with any design.
As we work through this space planning process, we determine what exactly can fit into each room, how best to lay everything out so that the space is efficient and functional for you, ensure proper space clearance between everything, and determine what the dimensions of each piece in the space can be before we begin selecting anything for your home.
Moodboard – Next, we create a moodboard to help guide our design. Moodboards are visual tools that include images, materials and more to communicate the overall concept of your design. Assembling this board is the first step in the creative design process and helps us visually represent how we envision the final design.
Programing – A final summary is created, which includes notes from our initial consultation, deep dive interview, the site survey and more. This document will guide our next Concept Design Presentation meeting and help ensure we are aligned on all goals and style direction for the project before moving forward.
Presentation & Approval – We will meet together in person and present to you the Concept Design, inclusive of the Layouts, Moodboard and Program. During this meeting you’ll provide us with your initial feedback. Following the meeting we will send you a PDF of the presentation for you to review and provide final feedback on before we dive into the full Detailed Design development.
STEP THREE: DETAILED DESIGN
Full creative design begins! At this point, we’ve met to ensure all of our design goals are aligned and now we’re ready to move into the creation phase.
Trade Day – As your designer, we meet with all tradespeople (everyone from contractors and architects to painters and electricians, etc.) involved in your project. During this time, we review and coordinate the design details so that they can provide us with an accurate quote for the scope of the work ahead, which we will provide to you during our Presentation (see below).
Drawings – We finalize the space planning/layout drawings in our software to create professional and detailed drawings of any elevations. If we’re designing a kitchen or any custom built-ins, we prepare 3D views of those designs.
Sourcing – We reference the program notes (obtained at Step Two: Concept Design #4 above), to source all of the furnishings and finishes for your final design. We evaluate every sourced item against the following criteria before purchase:
- Dimensions – Will it fit in the space?
- Style – Does it exemplify your personal design style?
- Price – Does it fit the agreed upon investment amount?
- Quality – Based on the investment level is it the highest quality we can get?
- Lifestyle Fit – Will it be functional for your lifestyle? (i.e. children, pets, etc.)
- Lead Time – When would it be delivered? Does the wait make sense for your completion goals?
We will only source items that meet all of the above criteria. All of the products that make the cut, we list as “specifications” or “specs” in our Detailed Design presentation!
Collecting Samples – We collect as many material samples as necessary for a project when they are available. We bring these to the Detailed Design Presentation meeting so you can see, touch and feel these samples for an immersive experience. We try our best to not have to rely on computer screens for color or texture as these elements can really get distorted on the screen. Instead, we use samples and swatches from our vendors and in-house library so you can get an accurate look at exact colors and textures.
For very large samples, or products that do not have samples available we will request you meet us on site at one of our vendor’s showrooms to see the sample, or actual item in person. This can often be the case for plumbing fixtures and seeing entire slabs of marble/quartz/stone.
Presentation – It’s time for another in-person meeting! We’ll present all the final design details, including the furnishings and materials proposal. This is your chance to sign off on each item (furnishings + materials) so that we can move forward and place orders. It’s also a great time to ask any additional questions and request any revisions, if needed.
The best part, our project management software enables us to make real-time edits to our design! For example, if you decide you want to make a tweak to the design after our Presentation meeting, we can do so quickly and easily without extraneous back and forth via phone or email. Plus, you’re able to add comments to specific items should new questions arise.
Payment – We will collect 100% payment for the furnishings and materials proposal in order to move to the next phase: procurement & implementation!
STEP FOUR: PROCUREMENT & IMPLEMENTATION
PURCHASING – All purchasing and execution goes through us. We will begin ordering all furnishings and materials after full payment has been received. An installation date will be provided once everything has been ordered and we’ve received back shipping timelines from our vendors.
TRACKING ORDERS – Orders are tracked weekly to ensure they are moving along and heading to our receiving warehouse according to plan. While it’s inevitable to run into shipping delays at one point or another (lead times are crazy right now as labor and material shortages continue post-pandemic) we’ll take care of this tracking and coordination so you don’t have to!
ORGANIZE TRADES TEAMS – As your designer, we will coordinate and meet with all tradespeople involved (general contractors or builders, architects, painters, electricians, etc.) on the project to review the design decisions and work with them to ensure all design elements get implemented according to plan.
REVISIONS TO DRAWINGS – After meeting with the trades teams, we will make any necessary changes to the overall design if necessary.
SITE VISITS – We schedule periodic site visits as necessary throughout the project to discuss the design, timeline or address any issues that may arise with both you and the contractors.
WEEKLY UPDATES – We send you weekly update emails every Friday to keep you in the loop and updated on everything that has happened that week, and so you know what the plan is for the week ahead. These updates also include the latest information we have on shipping and receiving timelines for all your products. We’re here with you every step of the way, handling all the minute details of your project!
ACCESSORY SHOPPING – 2-3 weeks prior to installation, we’ll create a shopping list for any additional items that will be needed for the final design based on what you already own and what might be missing. We then go shopping for all those final decor pieces that really bring the whole design together and make the home sing! On installation day we fully style all the rooms involved in the project. At the Big Reveal, you’ll be able to see these new pieces styled in your home and purchase all the ones you love!
FURNITURE DELIVERY, INSTALLATION & STYLING – Delivery for furnishings is scheduled as soon as all construction and/or finishes installation has been completed for the home. All newly delivered items are given one final inspection upon arrival to ensure everything looks good! We do ask that clients step out during this step so that we have space to make the magic happen as we place and style all furniture, art and accessories for the Big Reveal!
CLIENT BIG REVEAL – It’s time!! We’ll bring you back to your new home and reveal the big, beautiful final design! This is truly our favorite part of the process—we work hard to ensure the final result is a home that is truly your own and captures your personality. We love to watch you and your family soak in the excitement that comes from investing in a design you’ll treasure and enjoy for years to come.
OPEN ITEMS IDENTIFIED – In some cases, there may be a few “open items” that need finalized after the reveal. Whether that’s a lingering shipment that was delayed or an accessory you’d like to switch out for another color, we create an action plan to finalize any loose ends. We also prepare a “punch list” for the contractor(s) which we pass on to them and you. You will then work directly with the contractor to resolve any items in his/her work that we’ve identified.
Note: There will be a “punch list” of open items that need to be fixed or completed. We have yet to have a project where there are not a few minor items at the end that need to be touched up, fixed or finished. This is just par for the course with any major renovation or design project. So do not worry and think your project as gone awry because there’s a punch list. It is just part of the process and everything will get resolved and completed to your satisfaction.
PHOTOSHOOT – We love to share completed projects with our community and keep photographs for our own reference and for future design inspiration, so we always schedule a photoshoot after the Big Reveal! This typically is scheduled for the day after the Big Reveal. East & Gray Interiors will bring in a professional photographer to photograph the final design at no cost to you. If you’d like copies of the photos, we are more than happy to provide them so that you can share the updates with friends and family!
STEP FIVE: POST OCCUPANCY
ACCESSORIES – Any accessories you decide not to purchase we will pick up for return the day after we reveal the final design.
OPEN ITEMS RESOLVED – We handle the Open Items list in a timely manner and keep you apprised of the status as needed.
CLIENT BINDER – A final digital binder will be sent electronically with information regarding your project to keep for your records. This includes all product specification sheets, any warranties, care and maintenance instructions, your paint chart, and a list of local vendors we recommend for any maintenance/up keep needs you may have in the future.
A GIFT THAT LASTS A LIFETIME – It’s time to settle in and enjoy!! Congratulations—you’ve invested in yourself and your family, and the final result is a home that’s truly your own. One that reflects your personality, supports your lifestyle, and sparks joy every single day. We hope that this new design inspires you to be the best version of yourself, and allows you and your family to firmly root yourselves in all your wonderful uniqueness and celebrate that every day. We hope that “home” now means something much deeper.
Even though the design journey has come to a close, your new home’s journey is just beginning. Go ahead and schedule that party! Invited your loved ones over and celebrate all that is to come!
Thank you for allowing us to be part of the story of your home. Cheers!!