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Design Process — How to Work with an Interior Designer

Have you ever worked with an interior designer?

You may have worked with an interior designer in the past, or perhaps not. The intention of this blog is to help you understand the process of working with us interior designers as we create a renovation plan or help you design your dream home.

In my experience, I’ve found that function and style are the key factors in the creation of beautiful designs. Regardless of the size of the projects, the design process itself applies to all our projects here in the Seattle area. We transform spaces with function + style.

Depending on the size of the job, the design process may take additional steps, like bringing in a structural engineer or an architect when we are dealing with load-bearing walls. The intention of this blog is to give you an overall understanding of our design process, without going into technicalities that might vary depending on the scope and size of the project.

The five phases of our interior design process are:

  1.  Strategic Planning and Programming
  2.  Concept Development
  3.  Design Development
  4.  Construction Documentation
  5.  Construction Administration
5 Steps Design Process

The 5 Steps of Our Design Process    (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

1. Strategic Planning

The first part of the design process is to meet the client at the job site to do a walkthrough and get to know one another. We interior designers have very personal relationships with our clients. We learn about your family, your pets, things you do in your house, things you like, things you don’t like. We need to understand the way you live your life in order to create a personal design that’s for you and your family.

Strategic Planning

The Walkthrough      (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

Our job is to transform your vision into a reality. We share inspirational images and comments on the images. We ask you to search for images and write comments about things that you like or dislike about the images. You may also find inspirational images in magazines.

Inspirational Images in Design Process

Inspirational Images           (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

One key part of the strategic planning is to understand your goals and budget. The bottom line is to deliver a design with your budget in mind that you are able to execute.

Many times homes don’t have floor plans, or the floor plans are old and hand drafted. Either way, we may use your existing floor plans, or create new plans from the ground up by field measuring all the spaces of your home. We sketch a new plan with the dimensions; then we draft the sketches on computer software and create a set of new digital floor plans.

Dimensions

Dimensions       (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

2. Concept Development: Bringing Function into Your Space

This is the phase where we solve your space planning issues for you. The ways we used to live in the 1980’s or 90’s are gone! Most homes that were built in past decades go through some type of renovation — either your bathroom, kitchen, or your entire home. Nowadays, you clients are looking for open spaces. That means we get to knock down walls to create new spaces and resolve issues with awkward spaces. This is the key design phase of creating a great design. We want to make sure that the spaces are functional.

We create sketches, we use the new digital set of floor plans, and we start to transform the space planning. This process is carried out through sketches, drawings to scale, and digital renderings in black and white. (At this point we take photos to use as the “BEFORE” photos.)

Sketches

Sketches      (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

Once the design concepts are developed, we schedule a presentation with the client for review and feedback. The idea is to get the space planning right! It doesn’t matter how many rounds of changes it takes. We take pride in creating functional spaces. This is what we do best!

Design Process Presentation, Comments, Preliminary Budget

 

3. Design Development

We designers have gathered all this information, plus the feedback we take from you, and then we get into the creative process. The creative juices flow. This is the phase in which we proceed to the details of the design. The idea is to establish a design style that will complement the architectural style of your Pacific Northwest home, e.g., Modern with a twist of Rustic, Mid-Century Modern, Transitional  style, etc.

We select materials, including finishes, flooring, tile, wood pieces, etc., that are part of the design theme for the client. We create detailed drawings, a new proposed floor plan, wall elevations showing the new look of every wall, and any other visual aids that we deem necessary to illustrate the design plan.

We provide room layouts and material boards samples to include fabrics, wall coverings, textiles, color selection, cabinetry, millwork, lighting, art and accessories.

As part of the design, we create a new color palette that flows with the new finishes and materials.

Design Development

Design Development        (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

Bottom line, we plan out everything for you up front. We also create a preliminary pricing list for all the material presentations. We work with pricing allowances for the materials. We have a wealth of knowledge about the best materials and competitive pricing, enabling us to deliver an extraordinary design within your budget.

Design Development Presentation

Design Development Presentation           (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

4. Construction Documentation

After the client has approved the design, we Interior Visions designers create detailed construction documents that tell the contractors of any trade, e.g., carpenters, tile setters, plumbers, etc., everything they need to know to execute the design flawlessly. There’s no room for mistakes.

Construction Documentation Specifications in our Design Process

Construction Documentation Specifications        (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

Construction documents are also required to pull construction permits from the city in question. Depending upon the city and the size of the project, sometimes the city requires site plans, which are proposed plans showing the scope, material schedules, and elevations. We take pride in the construction drawings that we create ourselves to execute our own designs.

Construction Documentation Elevations in our Design Process

Construction Documentation Elevations         (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

5. Construction Administration

We do all the hard administrative legwork for you. We go to the city building permit office, we apply for the permit, we deal with the city review process, and we then pull the construction permit for you. We also have procedures in place to ascertain that all the materials specified in the design are ordered correctly. We provide material specifications sheets which are referenced in the plans. Once all the materials are approved, along with the cost of the construction project, we begin construction.

Construction Administration in our Design Process

Construction Administration          (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

We Interior Visions designers have a contractor license, and we take pride in managing our projects ourselves. We take charge of the whole remodeling construction project, coordinating everything and everybody. We are on the job site every day. We manage every trade transaction on your behalf. We love this part of the job!!

After the construction is finished, we help you select new furniture and accessories for your remodel. We plan out every aspect of your new space, from furnishings and textiles, to accessories, lighting, etc.

Once the new furniture arrives, we do all the styling of your home (and take photos to use as the “AFTER” photos). This is my favorite part of the design process. I get to see my clients break into big smiles as they see everything come together.

Newly Remodeled Kitchen / Dining Room

Newly Remodeled Redmond Kitchen / Dining Room         (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

Design Process

Exterior Design: BEFORE & AFTER Transformation      (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

Design Process

Kitchen: BEFORE & AFTER Transformation      (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

Design Process

Bathroom: BEFORE & AFTER Transformation      (Source: Interior Visions, llc)

 

We take pride in our designs. We’ll create a transformation of Function + Style for your dream home.

For more information about our design process, please contact Fabian at (206) 794-6762.

 


Versatile Spaces, or How Do We Help Clients Remodel?

Versatile rooms allow for creativity. Versatility is what may really be wanted and needed in a space, but the process for getting there sometimes tends to be a bit mysterious. A friend of ours was looking at the “demolish kitchen” photo on our last blog about our summer remodeling projects. She was amazed that the Interior Visions designers could have the ability to have such a vision, by looking at the existing kitchen and imagining that the new kitchen would look thus-and-so. She said, “I would never be able to have such a vision beforehand!” Well, we do have such a vision! If you’re someone with a lack of imagination and your remodeling ideas are a vague, amorphous mass, we can design and execute a vision for you.

Would you like something like this Modern Barn Home?

Modern Barn Home

Modern Barn Home. Source: Interior Visions, LLC

 

Or maybe something like this Compact Dwell Design?

Compact Dwell Design

Compact Dwell Design. Source: Interior Visions, LLC

 

After you talk to us and you decide on a budget, we will design a concept for you. We get ideas from you, and you get ideas from us. We make sketches for you. And then it’s “Homework Time” for you! You fire up your computer and also your brain. For design inspiration, you might want to look at sites like Houzz and Pinterest. Take a look at images and keep asking yourself, Do I like this, or not? It’s really amazing, and inspiring, what a remodel can do even for an old house, such as this 1950s Mid-Century style house:

Remodel of 1950s House

Remodel of 1950s House.  Photo Credit: Dwell

During the design process, you and our designers share ideas and photos by email with each other about furniture, materials, color palettes, or design styles. We appreciate the feedback from you, because the name of our game is to Do What The Client Likes. Clients like our feedback, especially because we can recommend furnishings and items, some of which are available to designers and architects only. Our clients get genuine items, not knockoffs!

Take a look at this vivid blue, genuine Egg Chair:

Furniture: Egg Chair

Furniture: Egg Chair.  Source: Interior Visions, LLC

 

And then… Let the construction process begin. This is the execution of the design – the remodel itself. We will “hold your hand” from beginning to end. We do the project management. We act as liaison to coordinate with vendors and subcontractors of every trade: we work with carpenters, tile setters, plumbers, electricians, painters, drywall, etc. (and with the architect, or structural engineer, if required). If all this sounds to you like a “step-by-step” thing, it is!

We love to transform spaces; it is what we do! We have a great team of designers and trade resources, including vendors for materials of any kind, and subcontractors for every trade. We would love the opportunity to work with you. Please give us a call at (206) 774-0630 for your next design & remodeling project!

 


Home Remodeling Is Busy in the Summer

Hello, Fans & Readers,

Amazing how busy we’ve been these months doing several very large home remodeling projects. Many of our clients are buying new houses and we get to design and remodel them! We are taking many houses built in the ’80s or even ’90s to create better functional homes with modern designs.

Although we call ourselves interior designers, some clients hire us for exterior work as well, such as color schemes. Here’s a rendering of the color scheme for a modern house:

Color scheme - modern exterior home remodeling

Color Scheme – Modern Exterior. Source: Interior Visions, LLC

And here’s one for a traditional house:

Color scheme - traditional exterior home remodeling

Color Scheme – Traditional Exterior. Source: Interior Visions, LLC

 

A good example of a wholehearted design & remodel is a house a client of ours purchased in Redmond, near Seattle. Before moving in, the client hired us to do a complete home remodeling, including opening up the kitchen/dining room area, updating the flooring, creating a new color scheme, redesigning the kitchen and fireplace, and solving other space-planning issues, including expanding the master bedroom to incorporate a new built-in master closet, and other cosmetic changes, including window treatments, furnishings and lighting.

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER demolition pictures of the kitchen:

Kitchen Tear Out (or "Demo") for Home Remodeling

Kitchen Tear-Out (or “Demo”)

 

This is how the kitchen turned out:  (AFTER)

Newly Remodeled Kitchen (AFTER) Home Remodeling

Newly Remodeled Kitchen – Source: Interior Visions, LLC

 

This beautiful retreat in Federal Way, near Seattle and Tacoma, showcases a coastal look to complement the architectural style of the home, which has a stunning view of the water. For this project, we remodeled three bathrooms, created a new color scheme, chose light fixtures, bought new furnishings, and pulled it all together by styling the space with the client’s own precious items.

The Commodore blue accent wall in this living room looks very striking:

The Remodeled Living Room on the Water - Home Remodeling

Living Room on the Water – Source: Interior Visions, LLC

 

Even the bathrooms showcase the coastal look. The bathroom wall looks like a sandy beach:

Wavy Finish on Bathroom Wall Home Remodeling, with Shower Niche

Wavy Finish on Bathroom Wall, with Shower Niche. Source: Interior Visions, LLC

 

Here is one of our current projects in the city of Kirkland, also near Seattle — another new acquisition by a client of ours of an ’80s house facing Lake Washington. The goal is to open up the space and change the look completely, with a modern design concept:

Waterfront Living Room Home Remodeling

Waterfront Living Room – Source: Interior Visions, LLC

The beautiful big window in the center of the photo is going to become stunning Nano doors. The small door to the left of the big window will be gone, as will the railing.

Here’s an image of the PROPOSED design plan for home remodeling the area above — to drop the floor to maximize the entrance from the living room to the lake, utilizing the Nano doors:

Home Remodeling - Big Nano doors leading to the waterfront

Big Nano Doors Leading to the Waterfront. Source: Interior Visions, LLC

 

We could go on and on… But we’d better keep some material for the next blog. Stay tuned!

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read our blog. We hope you found it informative and helpful. If you’d like to ask us a design question, or schedule a design presentation for a local group, please contact us. Check out our Facebook page for our latest updates. Check out our website for more information about our design and remodeling services.


Transformation of Function & Style

It’s been a great summer! I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work on my clients’ homes. Your home is your castle, the place where you spend time with your family, friends and even on your own. A place to relax, entertain and rejuvenate.

I recently completed a project that brought us a lot of joy! It was a truly great transformation of function & style of a small condominium in Queen Anne, Seattle. The design challenge for the space was to create additional storage space by maximizing every single square foot of the 850-sq-ft condominium.

I hope the pictures below (before and after) inspire you to think about how to create your own castle! We created a transitional modern design with different shades of warm and cool grays in the entire condo.

1. Here’s the master bedroom BEFORE:

master bedroom

  • We changed the space planning by putting in a splendid new bed with an upholstered headboard, and locating it across the room by the windows. We put the desk in the other bedroom.
  • We installed new hardwood flooring and can lights, and accessorized with photographic artwork in white picture frames, as well as two night stands with decorative table lamps flanking the bed.

 

AFTER:

 

2. Here’s the Kitchen BEFORE:

Kitchen_Dining Area

 

We created an entirely new design that included complete kitchen remodeling by:

  • maximizing additional storage, and
  • creating a new eating bar area.

 

AFTER:

 

3. Here’s the dining area BEFORE:

Dining Room Area

 

  • Replacement of old carpeting with beautiful hardwood floors, and additional cork underlayment for noise reduction
  • New lighting plan that included recessed LED can lights and decorative pendant lights
  • New table with transparent acrylic chairs to create an illusion of additional space

 

AFTER:

 

4. Here’s the bathroom BEFORE:

Bathroom

 

We did a complete bathroom remodeling by incorporating:

  • beautiful finishes
  • gorgeous lighting
  • luxurious tub/shower

 

AFTER:

 

5. Here’s the living room BEFORE:

Living Room

 

  • New furniture: We brought a modern twist to the space by bringing in a new world of comfortable elegance and sophistication.
  • The piece de resistance of the new furniture plan is the iconic, royal blue “egg chair” for a startling pop of color to the grey color scheme.

 

AFTER:

 

Additional information: We utilized very thin glass tile with different patterns and colors throughout the entire space. The kitchen has a stacked, linear glass tile backsplash; the fireplace utilizes the same finish in a vertical and staggered form. The flow of the space continues into the bathroom with the same tile, but in a warmer tone and staggered form.

After all the remodeling was completed, my team and I stylized the entire place with new artwork, picture frames, mirrors, and accessories, for the grand finale!

By no means do I work alone! We have a great team that is part of the process. Our design team includes our lead designer Edgard Marin, our design intern Hannah Morrow, and me. Also, Joyce Konda keeps me honest by taking care of all the bills, taxes, marketing, editing, and writing.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read our blog. We hope you found it informative and helpful. If you’d like to ask us a design question, or schedule a design presentation for a local group, please contact us. Check out our Facebook page for our latest updates. Check out our website for more information about our design and remodeling services.


Floating Shelves Dress Up a Room + Create Storage Space

People who lean toward an industrial, contemporary look would undoubtedly love floating shelves, such as the ones below. Floating shelves enable you not to have to buy another piece of furniture if you’d like to have additional storage. Plus they look snazzy!

Floating shelves don’t have anything underneath to support them — no brackets, no pieces of wood. It looks like they’re floating on the wall. People look at them as if to say, “How do they do that? Must be awfully strong glue!” No, they’re not glued onto the wall.

A bathroom is a great place for floating shelves so that storage space can be increased. When we remodeled this Seattle bathroom, above, we decided on floating shelves for the wall space in between the two mirrors. The simple lines make the area seem a little more spacious. The bathroom looks really dressed up, even more so if you put an art object on the shelf.

Our beautiful Bellevue home remodel, above, also got outfitted with 6″ thick walnut wood floating shelves. They have a modern appearance, while giving a rustic look and feel.

We hope these ideas and images of floating shelves inspire you. If you’d like us to give you an interior design consultation, or if you would like to engage our interior design & build services, give us a call at 206-774-0630.


Backsplash It! With Beautiful Finishes for a Great Transformation

A backsplash, as the name suggests, is something in the back that lets water splash against it. It’s a terrific way to spice up bathroom/kitchen décor. If you would like to do only a little remodeling, then do just a backsplash. If you do a total remodeling, then the backsplash can be as major or as minor a part of the décor as you wish.

Here is a bathroom remodeling project that we are working on in Seattle. It’s almost finished! The new backsplash is already installed on the wall, from the sink all the way to the ceiling, illuminated by the LED lighting on the mirror. Here again, you can have as much or as little backsplash as you desire.

Remodel transformation bathroom backsplash

BEFORE Remodel

The backsplash in the AFTER photo above is composed of various shades of warm grays to coordinate with the bathtub/shower tiled walls. It is made of small, narrow, rectangular staggered tiles of different sizes that come on 12” x 12” sheets. Depending on the design, that kind of tile can be installed horizontally or vertically. Made of glass, the tile has a sheen to it.

A very different, lovely backsplash tile is a metallic type. We have used this one in a kitchen remodel, where it beautifully set off a glass jar of limes, giving a distinctive, contrasting, rustic look:

A golden backsplash can even give you a dramatic, golden bathroom! This wonderful photo shows the lengths to which you can go in remodeling:

Backsplash makes a dramatic, golden statement.

Photo Credit: Villeroy & Boch Tile

We hope these backsplash ideas and images inspire you. If you’d like us to give you an interior design consultation, or if you’d like to engage our interior design contracting services, give us a call at 206-774-0630.


Clever Painting Ideas for a Dramatic Effect!

Summer is my favorite season of the year in the Seattle area to work on painting projects, create color schemes, and play with paint colors and sheens. As a designer, I enjoy bringing drama into a space by creating an interesting focal point. An accent color wall is a great way to do this. I like working with different paint sheens to make a design–such as stripes or large diamonds–on one wall in one color.

How to create a striped wall:

1) Create a simple sketch of a striped wall.

2) Paint your accent wall with your favorite color. Make sure your paint is a matte (flat) finish.

3) Let it dry for one day.

4) Take dimensions from your sketch, and mark the placement of the stripes on the wall with a soft pencil.

5) Tape the wall with “FrogTape” to follow the design pattern you created in your sketch. You will need to use a level to tape straight stripes on the wall.

6) Purchase a clear glossy paint and paint every other stripe with it.

 

Here’s a picture of a work-in-process wall design:

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER pictures that show the dramatic transformation.

The resulting striped, monochromatic accent wall certainly adds an interesting element to an otherwise plain room. The stripes give it more depth and make it look very elegant.

Mixing flat and glossy finishes is a great way to have some fun painting a wall and creating a POP of color in your space. Some people are afraid of using wallpaper. Painting with two finishes is another exciting yet simple way to put a subtle pattern on your wall.

 

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read our blog. We hope you found it informative and helpful. If you’d like to learn more about our interior design services, ask us a design question, or schedule a design presentation for a local Seattle-area group, please contact us at 206-774-0630.

Check out our website for more information about our design and remodeling services.


“Before” & “After” Bathroom Transformations

You’re pondering how much or how little to remodel your bathroom. The biggest remodeling challenge that homeowners face is how to go about creating “a design concept” that both goes with the architectural style of the house, and also makes the overall look of the home flow in a cohesive manner.

 Let’s assume you’re stuck with a bathroom that may look something like this–a typical 90’s bathroom: The photo below is the “Before” photo of a Seattle-area homeowner’s shower, with a tub next to it. This white plastic shower wall plus shower floor is called a “shower pan.” So many people have one just like it that it’s almost universal. It’s functional. It does the job, but it’s dated.

BEFORE:

Bathroom Old Shower Pan

“Before”

AFTER:

Now, take look at the “After” photo below, of that bathroom after we remodeled it. In this bathroom, the client requested a “cottage” style and we delivered it!

Tub&Shower_ AFTER

“After” –  Source: Interior Visions, LLC

Hard to believe it’s the same bathroom! We’ve remodeled a lot of bathrooms and think this one is so elegant and lovely.

In the old, unremodeled bathroom, here’s what we started with.

BEFORE:

  • Dated white shower pan. So 1990’s…
  • Toiletry articles randomly placed.
  • Plastic walls of shower pan.
  • Plain shower floor.
  • Ordinary shower head.
  • Nondescript shower & tub fixtures.

 

Now, we’ll give you six ideas for the remodeling of your bathroom. Let the transformation begin!

AFTER:

  • Frameless, glass-paneled walk-in shower door. ‘Bye, 90’s… Welcome to 2015!
  • Shower niche for toiletries. The shower niche in the photo is tall & vertical. We’ve created many shower niches. Some are long & horizontal and really do serve to hold toiletries. Our tall shower niche is made with white miniature “brick” tiles, which contrast with the tiles on the walls.
  • Rustic-looking, woodlike tiles on shower walls. On our shower walls above, we used Rustico tile from Ann Sacks. The Rustico tile looks and feels like weathered wood planking. The tile has the appearance of being cut along the grain in an elongated, linear pattern. It is remarkably realistic to genuine wood planks but with the easy maintenance and enduring qualities of porcelain. Our shower fixture wall also contains a large swath of the contrasting white miniature “brick” tiles, harmonizing with those in the shower niche.
  • Attractive tiles on shower floor. Our shower floor contains cream mosaic tiles.
  • Striking-looking shower head. Our shower head above is large and square. It extends very far from the wall, which makes it easy to stand under as is.
  • Elegant shower & tub fixtures. We helped our homeowners choose the rich looking, brushed nickel fixtures.

 

The elements in our remodeled bathroom tie together nicely in a rustic, cottage style. Walk-in showers, walls, tiles, built-in soap niches, floors, shower heads, tub & shower fixtures–the selection of these things is endless. When it comes time for you to choose yours, you’ll really go to town!

Interior Visions will help you select the right elements for your bathroom remodeling project. Please contact us at 206-774-0630 for any additional questions.


Multifunctional Furniture Saves Space and Can Be Fun!

A piece of multifunctional furniture is a space saver, and it can be great fun, too. I have seen a lot of ottomans with storage space inside them; that’s a great trend. Have you seen some other kinds of multifunctional furniture?

 Multifunctional Furniture Can Be Both Simple and Clever

Multifunctional Furniture - Tray & Stool

Photo Credit: Dezeen Magazine

When I saw this tray which can be used as a stool, and vice versa, I thought it looked very sharp and cool. That could be a real conversation piece, no matter what the setting.

 

Surrounded by Books

Multifunctional furniture bookshelf

Photo Credit: World of Novelty

I love it! A bookshelf you can sit on while reading and being surrounded by books. Isn’t that the ultimate in reading pleasure?

Let yourself think outside the box, and you can discover amazing multifunctional furniture and other objects. They range from snazzy to serious and should definitely be considered, either as a space saver, a fun thing, or both!

Call us at 206-774-0630 for a design consultation.


Countertops and Finishes

Here are some quick tips to consider when thinking about buying stone for new countertops. If you are confused by what kind of stone to buy, you’re not alone. Everyone has heard of granite countertops, but there are other kinds as well.

Quartz

orion quartz for countertops

Photo Credit: Cosentino Group

Quartz (above) is very popular, and we use it a lot in our design work. Quartz absorbs almost no water, so it is good for kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Stain-resistant
  • Acid-resistant
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Impact-resistant

 

Dekton

dekton for countertops

Photo Credit: Cosentino Group

Have you ever heard of Dekton (above)? It’s the latest thing in finishes. It’s a very innovative finish that looks like stone, but it is not stone. Dekton is a completely manufactured, or handmade, product. (Glass is, too.) Dekton is another one that we use a lot of in our design work, because it is:

  • Stain-resistant
  • Acid-resistant
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Impact-resistant

 

Since Dekton is completely non-porous, it is even more resistant than quartz. Furthermore, Dekton can be:

  • Used for stairs, countertops, flooring–you name it–anything and everything.
  • Used indoors and outdoors.
  • Manufactured in any color, to look like any finish and texture–rippled metal–you name it.

 

Interior Visions will help you select the right finish for your next remodeling project. Please contact us at 206-774-0630 for any additional questions.