When I tell people I work as a social media coordinator for a design and build firm in Chicago, their eyes light up at the thought of interior design. So many people are interested in this field thanks to HGTV, Instagram influencers, and many other outlets that have glamorized designing living spaces. While most of it is fun and creative work, a lot of people do not see the nitty-gritty details that go into being an interior designer. From dealing with suppliers to making sure you get every last detail correct for the client…it can be a pretty stressful job.
In the world of interior design, there are a couple of routes you can take when it comes to bringing the client’s vision to life. At Areté, our process is dependent on what the client envisions, their budget, and any time constraints they may have. Our designers keep in mind the client’s best interest throughout the whole process, and they are in constant communication with them to make any necessary changes as the project progresses.
I spoke with two of our designers, Vasilka Todorovska and Ivana Stojanovska, about how they take on the design process, any advice they have for clients, and how their process has been safely reformed due to Covid-19. Below are the steps they take from start to finish to help our clients get exactly what they are looking for in their homes.
Getting to know your client might be the most important step of the whole process. In order to capture exactly what the client wants, you have to fully understand the scope of the project. It is imperative you ask for photos, Pinterest boards, material samples, and anything else that would help explain what exactly the client wants out of their remodel. During this meeting, our designers are also looking at the architecture of the client’s home and any rooms that they will not change to ensure the project is going to be the right fit for the space.
Many times, a client comes in with a picture of a design that they love, but they do not understand how much that design will cost them or how it will affect other design aspects in their home. It is important that our designers are upfront about the cost of the material and labor before moving forward with the client’s vision. Our designers prefer to meet with their clients in person at our showroom so they can show them the material selection we have on hand, but due to Covid, they have been using different avenues. Many clients are now choosing to meet with the designers over virtual calls, and the designers are sending material samples to the client’s homes so they can get a good feel for what the flooring, tile, or paint swatches would look like in their space.
This is where the client realizes that the most expensive option isn’t always the best when it comes to meeting their particular needs, and their Pinterest boards can still be brought to life with a few changes to the materials. Once the client gives their budget and chooses their material selection, our designers start walking them through their design process and schedule a time to measure the space. An estimate is given on what the materials and work are going to cost, but nothing is finalized until the designers create drawings, confirm material selection, and measure how much material is needed. This planning period is crucial to the design process going smoothly throughout the entirety of the project.
Once the client has their materials selected and the designers have their inspirational photos, measurements, and budget, it is time for the designers to create final drawings to present at the final proposal meeting. A proposal clearly states and shows what tasks are there to be accomplished and which party is responsible for the respective tasks, the timeline that would have to be a realistic one, the working budget, and the fees.
Many times, our designers like to create mood boards on Photoshop that go along with the vibe of the space to add to the proposal. Mood boards can show paint colors, appliances, fixtures, flooring, and any other details that would be included in the project. Along with the mood boards, our designers also create CAD drawings that show 2D drawings of the space they are designing. CAD is an architectural software that creates 3D models or 2D drawings of physical components, but it is also used throughout the design process to help visualize the layout of the materials, any additions being added, or any current structures that will be taken away from the space.
Once the client sees the drawings, approves of the materials, and agrees with the budget, they sign the proposal and the designers get to work. From here, our designers are in charge of ordering the material selection, coordinating labor times, and staying in constant communication with the client. Due to Covid, many of the shipping times and cost of products have increased, making it more difficult for the laborers to install the products according to schedule. When this happens, it is the designer’s job to get into contact with the client and either order something different for the space or push back the project completion time. They also must fix any problems that the contractors run into with the space and make frequent visits to the project sites, themselves. It is imperative that they stay extremely organized and flexible when a project runs into any issues.
Once any issues with ordering the materials and coordinating labor times are smoothed out, the designers walk the client through the remodeling process. They help inspect any issues that come from products, and they make sure everything is installed according to plan. There should be plenty of communication between your designer and your contractor to make sure that everything gets built out as planned.
If possible, we always encourage our clients to do both the design and labor portion through Areté. If you choose Areté’s contractors, all of the design fees are waived, and you only have to pay for labor costs and materials. It also ensures smooth communication between contractors and designers and gives the functionality of everything being done under one roof. When the space is finished, they take a final walk-through with the client to tend to any final details that need to be touched up. This is when the client starts to realize that their dream home design has come to life.
Our designers love being able to transform the client’s vision into reality, and seeing the client delighted with the final product is their favorite part. The client’s home is the epicenter of all parts of their life. If the client loves the look of their newly renovated home, then our designers’ work just influenced them in more ways imaginable.
It takes creativity, organization, and good communication skills to become a good designer, but most importantly, it requires a passion for interior design. Without that passion, it is easy to get caught up in the daily struggles of the design process, and it would be difficult to foster good relationships with clients. Areté is very grateful to have design consultants that not only care about the scope of the project but also pay attention to what exactly the client wants.
To sum up, interior design is not always a walk in the park, especially during these challenging times. Our designers have gone the extra mile to truly get to know their client’s wants and needs, and that shows once they reach the final product. Having the capability to actually think in a step by step process and follow through on all of the steps means that our designers can concentrate on the creative side of the job and work through the design process checklist, not having to worry that they might miss an important part of the process.
It is crucial that the designers stay in constant communication with both the contractor and the client, and if any problems arise, they must be quick to resolve them. Job site visits are frequent and occasionally necessary to ensure that you get your dream remodel. Regularly checking in on the progress of the project can help to avoid delays and last-minute issues that may arise. By choosing Areté for both your interior design needs and contractor, you automatically have the continued service of our designer throughout the entire process. They help guide our clients through each step of the way and create the bridge between the initial plan and the final product.
Our designers are passionate about what they do and it reflects in the final product they create. If you are looking for quality interior designers, along with experienced contractors, who can help you realize your home design dreams within budget, get in touch with Areté Renovators today. We offer design and build services within Chicago in Streeterville, West Loop, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, River North, Gold Coast, Old Town, and Roscoe Village.