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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       (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      (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.


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