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Inside Look: What the Interior Design Process is Really Like

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Interior design isn’t just about the finished space you get to call home — it’s also about the journey. Think about your favourite novel, for example. When the plot thickened, did you flip to the last few pages to see what would happen? It’s more likely that you pushed up your reading glasses, sunk deeper into your cosy chair, and savoured every juicy detail that built up to an unforgettable conclusion.

The interior design process is equally thrilling and meaningful. When you get to see your spaces coming to life… when you get to see your preferences, personality, and lifestyle influencing the final result… your home doesn’t just become more beautiful. 

It becomes the one-of-a-kind place that feels like you. 

That’s what the journey creates. As designers, we help guide you there.

To do so, I’ve fine-tuned our creative and project management process over my 20+ years as an interior designer. Our Signature Design Service is a 4-phase process that is airtight, includes open and honest communication, and has a high level of coordination and precision (on our side) built right into it.

Today, I want to show you inside our interior design process so you can see what your design journey would look like. Yes, we use this process for every type of project we work on, but you can be sure, even if the “stops” are the same on your journey… the juicy details and exciting destination will be all yours.

simply home decorating north vancouver designer reading a book

As a voracious reader, I couldn’t resist the novel metaphor. 😉

Phase 1: Discovery

Every project starts with a complimentary Discovery Call, where we will find out more about you and your project. We’ll also share a bit about us, and determine whether our services are a good fit for you. 

If we both agree that the match is right, your Design Discovery Session will be next. This 2-hour, jam-packed meeting takes place in your home. We’ll discuss your goals for your project, devise solutions, gather the necessary information, and develop a complete scope of work. We’ll also discuss preliminary budget numbers where possible and outline a clear and direct path forward.

Following our meeting, we will schedule a virtual or in-person meeting with you to review the design contract, our proposal, and answer any questions. Once you have signed the contract and submitted your retainer, your project begins!

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Part of our Design Discovery process may include looking at your favourite inspirational images to get a feel for your style, wants, and needs.

Phase 2: Design & Sourcing

Now we get to the fun and creative part… developing your project’s design concept. 

To start, we’ll meet on-site again and bring our valued trade partners along, too. Together, we’ll gather the additional information we need to generate design concepts and estimates for your project. 

Once we have everything, we’ll return to our studio to develop design concepts, prepare all necessary drawings, select, coordinate and source materials and furnishings — or design custom elements for your space. At the same time, we will obtain cost estimates for all proposed goods and for renovation work where applicable. 

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Note: Creating a design concept probably sounded quick and easy when you read it in that short paragraph above, but this step is highly labour-intensive. This step of the interior design process can last between 4 to 12 weeks depending on the size of your project. Believe me, this time is necessary and the results will be well worth the wait.

Last but not least, we will unveil our final design concept to you during our Design Presentation. (Our clients love this part!) You’ll see drawings, furniture selections and furnishes, along with cost estimates. We’ll adjust the design, if needed, based on your feedback and finalize all details before we arrive at the next step… implementation.

simply home decorating north vancouver custom drapes interior design process

Custom drapery is just one example of the personalized selections that may be included in your design concepts. 

Phase 3: Procurement & Project Management

Your design concept is in place… we have the green light from you to proceed… now, it’s time to get to work! 

During this phase of the interior design process, we place orders for furnishings and decor with our vendors and suppliers. We follow up regularly to keep the project on track, receive and inspect goods, and catch deficiencies early where possible. All while keeping you abreast of progress and new developments. 

If your space requires renovation, the work will be scheduled in accordance with your schedule, our project schedule, and our trades’ availability. We oversee the completion of all construction before moving to the next phase.

simply home decorating north vancouver fluffy blanket stacked books and plant interior design process

Accessories are the final layer that make your house feel like home.

Phase 4: Installation & Project Completion

Installation is generally scheduled 12-14 weeks after order placement and lasts 1-3 days depending on your project’s size. Here’s how it works…

First, we schedule the installations of any custom millwork and closets, electronics, wallpaper and window coverings. This is all done prior to the delivery of furniture and accessories, so your goods stay safely out of harm’s way. 

Once the moment has come for the final deliveries to arrive, we ask you to vacate the premises while we work our magic, installing furniture, creating the room layout, and styling. Then, you will receive the final call from us to come home…

…and you get to walk in and experience a true project reveal! *Insert tears of joy!*

simply home decorating north vancouver living room white built-in interior design process

Of course, we never wrap-up a project until we are confident you’re satisfied. We will walk through the finished home together, compile a list of any outstanding items, and resolve these items as efficiently as possible. We’ll also apply your retainer to any final invoices and present you with a balance invoice or refund where applicable. If your project is selected for a photoshoot, we’ll also discuss making those arrangements. 

Then we’re done. With all the loose ends neatly wrapped up, we’ll present you with your project package (material care instructions, colour swatches, product details, etc.) and our sincerest thanks for your patience and perseverance during this often long but oh-so-rewarding process. 

Now it’s time to celebrate and enjoy your “new” home!

simply home decorating north vancouver gold and black ballerina figurine

Although the interior design process can take time, patience, and understanding, there is nothing quite like a home designed uniquely for you. From the initial excitement to months and years of living in comfortable, personal spaces, your home will make everyday living special. 

Ready to see what our interior design process can do for you? Start your journey here.




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Complimentary Guide

Uncover the hidden potential in your home.

Whether you live in a mid-century gem in need of an update or a modern new build ready for personality, these creative solutions will change the way your home looks and lives.

Thank you!