it's quite the process
One of the most common first steps in considering your project is to meet with a builder, general contractor, or general manger. And we completely understand that the price tag matters. BUT...did you know that you may be skipping some important steps that could add some big dollars while also setting you up to have the details, decisions and tools to have a smooth production process while your project is being constructed? Did you know that it is very common to have a 20% overage on your project at the end? Do you know that there is a process that can reduce that percentage?
The process actually starts with an interior designer vs. the builder and it focuses on communication as the key factor to draw out information which ultimately helps you make decisions quicker and with the whole picture in mind. Hear us out because it is quite a process but at Times Two Design Company, we are here to help you through that process.
When you start with an interior designer, the process goes something like this...
1) Q + A = Q + A = Q + A...
While both designers and builders start the conversation with arm waiving, a designer is loaded with lots of Q + A that lead to many rabbit holes of Q + A's, eliminating many factors that add cost; like making assumptions, misunderstanding and guessing on your behalf, which result in not addressing the nitty gritty questions and answers that impact both the function and aesthetic you will end up with. By making those assumptions and avoiding conversations, it leaves some missing pieces that eventually need to be made, but end up being done much later in the process, in the construction phase, which tend to lead to urgent and rushed decision making. So after what will feel like a million questions, you may not be feeling the creative juices just yet, but trust us, there is a reason for their rhythm for all of the conversations.
STEP 1 SUGGESTION: Ask just as many questions as your designer asks you. If you need more information, to slow down or are not sure how something will come together, lets talk!
BEHIND THE SCENE: Your designer is working to gain inspiration to give you a design that checks off as many items as possible. Your designer is using their knowledge from past projects, schooling and education to give you a design that you will love. At Times Two Design Co. we send you a little design interview homework that is a huge help in getting to know each other even before we meet!
2) BEING A REAL BUDGET BUBBLE BUSTER CAN BE A GOOD THING
The budget conversation will still happen and a designer needs to know your general budget goals in order to start, but can easily navigate the waters to help make decisions because this is what we do everyday. Things that impact your budget are:
- level of finish and having the information to help you learn about your options is
what a designer is a PRO at
- complexity can be assumed higher than necessary, adding dollars that may
not be needed if other options can be presented by a designer
- strategic planning and value engineering is thought about and considered in every
decision when working with a designer because, well, quite frankly, they all add up.
Some areas can have some quick big wins and some add up when
combined and designers are well versed in this
- ranges ultimately can be scary and not in line with where you want to be if all of
the above is avoided. A designer is comfortable knowing where people generally
choose to splurge and where they tend to be more conservative. And we like to get
creative and crafty in suggestions because there is always a solution.
STEP 2 SUGGESTION: Be open and honest about your goal. If you don't know where you could fall but know you only have "x" amount of dollars to spend, share that with your designer (and builder). If a builder cannot commit to doing your project for that budget, it just means that they are being honest and that they do not want to disappoint you by going over that budget which ultimately leaves everyone feeling yucky in the end.
BEHIND THE SCENE: Your designer should be keeping the design in check with your budget goals and offering other options while informing you of the reason behind those options to help you make the best decision for you and your family.
3) DETAILS THAT MAKE YOUR HEAD SPIN
We hear it a lot, "I could never build a house because after our remodel project, I realize how many decisions there are and building a new house would overwhelm me". And yes, there are a TON of options, choices, decisions, information, trends, style, functions, to consider with every decision. And that certainly can feel overwhelming for anyone who doesn't do this every day. In a time where everything changes overnight in the industry, it can be hard to stay current with how quickly everything changes and how often new materials, styles, considerations pop into our world, but that is a designers world, so find the designer(s) you like working with and let them filter through that for you.
STEP 3 SUGGESTION: Early on in the process, share how much involvement you want to have or if there are certain areas that you really care about more than others. This helps the designer keep the process moving along and keeps you from getting overwhelmed on something where you are okay with having choice A, B, & C presented.
BEHIND THE SCENE: Your designer can be prepared to discuss ways to phase your project or the way to a la carte options, if needed.
4) NOT EVERY DESIGN IS A HOMERUN ON THE FIRST SWING
Remember, a designer is constantly gathering information, interpreting your words that turn into a physical design. So this could take a little combining to create other versions and options but as we have been saying...its all part of the process. And this is a VERY important step in the process because what you get out is critical as it puts a halt to any arm waiving. Things just got real and exciting! The conversations don't stop here. In fact, while this is so exciting for the design to be revealed, this is where a design gets tweaked, combined or transforms into another design ultimately getting you to a point where you have YOUR design. Most designers are well aware that the design can go from this point, into production and still have changes made but the important thing is to have a collective starting point for anyone involved in the project putting everyone on the same page. Another important part of having a design done prior to meeting with a builder is that they can estimate budget ranges better having a design to work off of. This puts them at an advantage to reduce the amount of assuming, guessing and better gauge the complexity of the project.
STEP 4 SUGGESTION: Keep in mind that the finish selections will impact the price of the project and while this phase is exciting, you are going into the next phase where still many decisions get made and every decision can add big chunks of cheddar. But hang in and keep asking questions.
BEHIND THE SCENE: A designers mind rarely turns off so it is very possible that they have already tried or thought of the different ways your puzzle can get put together.
5) THE PRETTIES...FINAL SELECTIONS
We realize that in the design process, we get the fun and joy of revealing the design and making selections that a builder doesn't always get. Who doesn't love seeing a space they dislike turn into a new love? What this step does is exciting but also eliminates all of the last minute request for a rushed decision, it allows you to see everything together and love it and it also takes care of the many details that go along with each decision. At Times Two Design Co., we take pride in knowing that this step sets your project up for success but offering a design service that takes you on a guided shopping trip. This is organized to maximize our time together vs. having many mini meetings while in construction. We can either take you to the showrooms or bring the selections to your home. Either way, you will get walked through all of the decisions with the result of you loving your project even more + the details of the selections all captured for you
STEP 5 SUGGESTION: Check in point should happen often during this step. If you choose to splurge on items that you value more, but do that on every decision, you will ultimately end up in a budget range that does not align with your original goals. If there is something you love but are struggling with the investment of it, have a back up option and give yourself a weekend to mull it over. This is when you actually have time to give it thought and not rush into a decision. Our motto is, if you keep going back to it...its the one. Also, its YOUR home. Don't worry about hurting our feelings by saying you don't like a material or suggestion...it's all part of the process!
BEIND THE SCENE: Your designer has learned about you, what you like, things you are drawn to, things you may be willing to consider and we have filtered through tons of materials in our head long before this step takes place.
6) THE HANDOFF
Can you believe it, you have gracefully made it to the point where you have a design AND your selections made. Was it as easy as you thought it could be? Do you love your design and selections? Are you too excited to wait and want your project to start ASAP? We get that a lot, but there is still a less pretty but equally important step in the process before you start with construction. The handoff! The success of a project up to this point has been communication and details and those still ring true for this next step and every step in construction. A designer is now so well versed in all the details of your project that they are the perfect person to hand off a project from design to construction. A builder that plans ahead by ordering the materials that have been selected, will help them better schedule the project, plan for deliveries, and know what to expect. We love this teamwork and bond that is made between the designer and builder. Its a win-win for everyone involved and communication isn't forced, but rather a very natural part of the everyday process.
STEP 6 SUGGESTION: A designer can aid in the construction phase with electrical, cabinetry and tile layouts or other details that get fine tuned (yes, even more than already established) once on-site. Setting expectations appropriately for all topics from communication to approval for changes is an important discussion to have early on and before the project goes into production. And know that construction is a messy process even with the best practices in place.
BEHIND THE SCENE: Your designer can always be brought in to clarify elements in the design and are comfortable with the terminology used. The communication doesn't have to stop with your designer once the project goes into construction.
With all this said, you now enter into the construction phase with its own process for making changes, ordering materials, scheduling deliveries and tradesmen and project closing/punch list. We highly recommend hiring a company that shares the same values and priorities that you do. We highly recommend continuing to have open and honest conversation so that the project has the best chance of success and outcome. We highly recommend you document the process with photos along the whole way to watch the transformation. It's quite the process!