Interior Design Explained: Initial Consultations

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This post is part of a series breaking down my design process and what it's like to work on a project together. 

Be sure to catch up with all the posts;

 

Initial consultations are often my first physical point of contact with a client. Clients contact me with a variety of reasons to start their project- the two most common reasons being;

  1. They have just relocated and they need help figuring out how their existing furniture fits into their new floorplan and what needs to be replaced.
  2. They are first-time home owners who need help transitioning from the apartment lifestyle to home-owner life and how to stay within their desired budget while creating a style they love. 

How does it work?

Once a potential client gets in touch with me, we have a brief phone appointment to discuss their project goals, design dilemmas, style and inspiration, and when they are are looking to get started on their project. These details help me to decide whether or not I will be able to provide my potential clients with a great solution to their problem. From there I will set up an appointment time to make a site visit. 

Red Bear Square's Initial In-Home Consultations are booked at a 2 hour minimum. This ensures there is enough time to walk through your space and discuss what works for you and what needs to change in your home. These are working appointments designed to help guide you in the right direction to creating a style you love coming home to. The in-home consultation can be a one-time appointment that serves a "styling guide" to kick start a D.I.Y. project done by you or the beginning step to a redesign project with Red Bear Square.

During the consultation, we will discuss style and function goals for your space. I bring my inspiration package- this includes paints, samples (textiles, flooring, etc) and inspiration images to use as visual aids while we discuss how to achieve these goals. These are not necessarily selections that I will be sourcing for your project, but your feedback while we are discussing inspiration helps give me an insight to your style likes and dislikes. 

We will also talk about time and budget expectations for your project. Discussing budget expectations is a crucial aspect to my job, so I bring it up early on and I talk about it often throughout the duration of any project.  Budgeting is often a pain point for clients at the start of a project, mostly because they don't have a clear sense of what their project might cost them. A good example of this is that they have only budgeted for furniture and new flooring, but not the cost of design services, contractor services to install the new floor, and shipping/taxes of furniture and decor items. If a client hasn't sat down and budgeted their project yet, I give them a general range of what I think it may cost. This is not a hard number (that comes during the design presentation) but it is eye-opening for many. I like to discuss timing at this point, as well. If clients are ready to start work but are on a tight budget, I recommend starting with one area of the house and working in stages as their budget allows. 

What Happens Next?

Following an initial consultation, I send clients a Letter of Agreement which has an updated scope of work to fit their project. I also send along a summary of our meeting and any information I think will be beneficial at that point.  Once the LOA is signed I will come out and take measurements and photos and begin working on the initial design presentation- my topic next weekend. 

 

But What About E-Design?

I run my initial consultations for e-design clients in a very similar matter to the way I run local consultations. They start out with a brief phone call and then I schedule a time with them to virtually walk me through their space through video chat. E-design is a great budget-friendly option for those who need a designers eye and are okay with doing a bit more legwork. I will be covering this topic more in-depth in a few weeks! Stay tuned (you can subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of the page if you would like to be notified)

Ready to start your project?

Peace + Love,

Jamie