When clients first reach out to us, part of the very first communication by phone includes an overview of when they are hoping to complete their project by. Some call us well in advance, some contact us when they want their project to start and some reach out only after they've started demolition. One thing is for sure; everyone has very different presumptions about how long the process takes, and today we are going to try to set some realistic expectations.
The very first step is to schedule the first consultation with us which depends on how busy our schedule is, but can be up to 4 weeks out. From the time we initially meet the client and have them confirm our estimate, it takes us about 2-3 weeks for us to develop the conceptual work. This window can also vary based on our workload. During the time allotted for us to complete our conceptual work, we're drafting plans, doing research, sourcing finishes, gathering samples, and assembling our presentation.
After we present, we allow 7-14 days to finalize the details of the design and adjust any changes that need to be made as per the client's request; changes to plans, sourcing different options. It is also during this time that we receive quotes from contractors and trades.
Up until this point, the process is pretty similar for both decor and construction project. So, realistically, orders only begin to be placed two months after we receive that first call. From that point, both decor and renovation projects can easily take three months to complete for different reasons.
For decor projects, we have to allow up to twelve weeks to receive any custom furniture before we can schedule our Transformation Day. We're not talking about build-it-from-scratch kind of pieces (although they also take up to twelve weeks). We're referring to any item where you're given a choice of finishes or fabric, which is quite common in all of our projects. If you're on a tight timeline, you'll have to limit yourself to stock items, in which case the project can be completed in a few short weeks - but probably not at the same quality.
Twelve weeks is also a good amount of time to budget for most construction projects. (Bathroom renos usually take up to four weeks.) It's not because a team will be working all eighty-four days straight. In fact, renovations always start by progressing super quickly during the demolition phase and then we notice a huge drop in pace when the professional trades start coming in. The long part about renovations is that all of the trades can't work at the same time. They are all dependant on each other and in order for each of them to be scheduled, the previous trade has to have completed their job. When we're referring to kitchen renovations, for example, we have to wait for the walls to be up before the cabinet maker can take dimensions. From the time dimensions are taken, to the time the kitchen is installed is usually 6-8 weeks. Only once the cabinetry is installed can the countertop be measured, cut and supplied a week later. Everyone is dependant on each other and this is where hiring an experienced contractor to manage the project makes the world of a difference.
All of our projects last between 3-6 months from the very first communication to the photoshoot. If you're thinking about hiring a designer, the best advice we can give you is to determine which one is right for you and to call them early. The earlier, the better, to at the very least inform yourself about their processes and their workload and to set yourself some realistic expectations.
Are there any other interior design / construction / decorating mysteries to you that we can answer? Let us know in the comments below!