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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

INTERIOR DECORATION E- COURSE PART3


The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 3A
Start at the Beginning
Ok shall we start at the very beginning, the first meeting. This is where you need to find out all the nitty gritty details of the project. I can send you to a form as an idea of how to collate all this information.
Date
Client name
Address
Contact details including phone fax and email
Draft outline of design and documentation needed
Define the budget available
Estimation of fees and engagement letter
Size of project
Number of family members, pets,
Lifestyle (professional, family orientated, teenagers with lots of friends, babies, loads of pets, retired and relaxed, home office etc)
Current style of the house,
The type of construction,
Type of project - the overall content of the project (ie renovate the kitchen and bathrooms).
Individual rooms to be developed
Expected flow and arrangement from client
Expected timing of project
Particular tastes colors,
Other consultants needed,
Permission letters to research relevant records and plans Confirm consents required
Type of contract required to confirm timing
Receive any legal documents, titles, existing plans, building owner details etc.

It all seems totally boring and it is, but it is necessary as it is the bones of the project.
You then need to take one item at a time and expand on them either straight away or at your next meeting.
For example
Family Members - how many? What ages? What are their needs? This is especially important for the bathroom area - privacy, showers, baths, double basins, additional toilets. Equally important to construction too, sound proofing to walls, locks on doors, window stays to stop any kids falling out or teenagers sneaking out windows!

Current Style of the house, if it is a 1960's bungalow, what kind of style are you wanting to portray in the home? Is the whole house going to be updated eventually or simply the kitchen and bathrooms? Look for long-term plans as well as present as these can effect the look of the whole house if it doesn't flow cohesively. Some house styles limit design creativity as they don't lend to change well, for example heavy dark exposed timber beamed ceiling with thick heavy stippled plaster. Difficult to change the look of this without major work or relining the entire ceiling. Then the windows and doors inside are often heavy dark timber too.
The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 4
Expand on Your Brief Outline
The type of construction, this is vitally important for structural purposes, for example you may want to put granite bench tops in the kitchen, these are extremely heavy and if you had a timber framed floor would need additional engineering support for the floor, the same applies if you wanted to add marble to the bathroom floor on the first storey, again very heavy. If you want to lay tiles or vinyl over timber floorboards is another example. Whether internal walls are load bearing, you may want to remove them. You will need to find out about the state of the plumbing system and electrical wiring. These have a major impact on the budget if you don't find out about them at the start of the project.

The Budget - this is a major part of the brief, a good designer brings their project in on budget, this keeps everyone happy! It means that when you do your initial planning you are realistic as to what materials, fittings and fixtures are affordable, and you can set a priority list and use it to get the best quality project for your money.

I have just written an article in my blog about quality of finishes. I visited a home of a friend recently, they had just bought it. It was an expensive home, well designed and laid out, open plan and flowing, but do you know what hit me as I walked in? Printed cotton drapes, not sophisticated Toille de Jouy printed cotton, but the kind you find in a cheap "you find it all here" store. My jaw dropped, mouth opened and I think I swallowed a fly, because I nervously choked! I was flabbergasted at the expense spent on the construction and then throwing up some silly flimsy bits of fabric resembling curtains seemed to totally strip the home of it's value, lower the design integrity severely and I had to walk around the rest of the house with by head looking at the carpet, which was good quality by the way. So what I am saying is that you need to allow for everything, and then add 10% for a contingency.

Let's face it no matter how hard we budget there are always unforseen things that crop up, and I think in this case the money for the curtains was stolen! You need to let your client know that you will hold a contingency for the budget, just to ease there mind when these problems arise.

Remember one change to the project may cost $500.00 which is ok, but 10 and you are up to $5,000.00, and it can happen so quickly!

more to come....
The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 5
Creating a Realistic Project Budget
One thing that often arises relating to budget is the Jones factor, similar to the Sheep example! It basically means that the client wants what the Joneses have.

They are the most difficult to control as they are basically spoilt children.

This is a treadmill in our consumer society, we all have to have everything, especially if the neighbours have it, we have to have it or better. The reality of it all is that most people do not have the budget to keep up with the Joneses! My husband has this expression and I hate it, I will tell you why later, but it is a good thing to remember.

"There are a lot of people with a champagne taste and a beer budget!" Do you know what happens to these people, yes, they are never happy, they are always trying to keep up with the Joneses and they never will, they cannot make a decision for themselves. But do you know the sad thing? The Joneses are probably trying to impress someone else, they probably don't realise their already high position in the consumer social class!

Back to the earlier note: Why I hate the expression? Because I love champagne and drink beer, no really, white wine, but not champagne! Never mind the expression does explain a lot of people's ideals and fantasies about their appearances. Remember that a person's home is an extension of themselves. If the client wears designer clothing labels then they will probably have their home full of designer furnishings. Does this make there house a home? Or does it make it a clone of Ikea, Ralph Lauren, actually I am a little out of my depth here with designer clothing and furnishing labels where you all come from! But you know where I am going to here. No it doesn't, a home exudes personalities and this is where we come in.
We are the facilitator of personal style. We listen, we consider, we analyse, we communicate, we experiment, we provide ideas, we rework ideas, and we get to the soul of the client and we help them express themselves through their home. This is what I want you to remember when you think of the client's budget. You have the skills to create amazing interiors on a small budget, but the client has to be working with you and have realistic goals for the final outcome.


The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 6
Keep expanding and define the scope of work.
The Overall Changes - in other words, the scope of work. What do they want to do with their renovations. Is it simply a repaint with new carpet, drapes and furniture or more extensive construction and cabinetry work involved. List up what they want to achieve, what changes are required and to what rooms, what contractors will be involved and their input. This all helps when you want to define the budget and start prioritizing. This is often where you have problems, the husband wants his garage lined and carpeted, speakers for his stereo, and a bathroom added to it. (perhaps he wants his bed moved in too!)The wife wants a new kitchen and study to do her handicrafts! How do you find out what they really want and which takes priority if they can't even work it out. You don't want to start being a marriage guidance councillor. I have had a few clients who used me as a pawn to get what they wanted, unknowingly to me but they were both putting words in my mouth and trying to get what they wanted by suggesting to each other that I thought it was a wonderful idea to add a fireplace to the kitchen or a big screen TV in the bedroom for example. It's all about communication and teamwork. You also don't want to get into the situation where you have started the project and the client decides to add things to the scope, "oh, while we have the fireplace wall under demolition, we might as well add a recess for the plasma TV above", these little client inspired ideas can throw your budget, so try and pre-empt them! Think about the spaces you will be working in and look to the future, try and foresee what they might want and ask before you get started.

Lifestyle - this is important when it comes to finding the right style of decoration. You need to find out how the occupiers of the home work on a daily basis. It is no use having a stark white kitchen with clean sleek horizontal surfaces when you have toddlers and babies and you spend all day making food for them. Getting everything out and putting it away again and again. You need something with user friendly appliance storage, easy access and a more softened look if you are going to spend most of the day in the kitchen. Same thing for a mass of teenagers you would need to allow a large space for a huge refrigerator as they will also eat all day!


The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 7
The Designer Detective
The biggest thing to remember here is that the ideas that the client has and the practical ability of it working for them may be quite different, you as the designer need to work around what they envisage as the end result and make sure before you start that it will actually work for them.
How?
As I said earlier, use your detective skills, call in when they aren't expecting you, visit at meal times, Saturday morning is always a good time to see how a house flows, call in when it's raining or muddy outside, observe how the occupants live and how they move about and their habits. Do they pick up after themselves, or leave a cookie trail? The cream shag pile carpet the mother is dying to put in the living room just won't work if she has a home full of teenage boys and their friends who walk in the door without wiping their feet, taking shoes off and eat in the living room with their burgers and coke. It spells recipe for disaster, so you would probably have to direct this decision to a compromise and perhaps have a firmer, darker, tighter weave loop pile carpet with perhaps a cream shag pile rug under the coffee table for example! A win, win for everyone.
Now then, the most important part - the aesthetics! What style or look you or your client want to achieve. This can also be the most difficult as it is the creative side of decorating. All the rest has been "accounting", vitally important to
any project but not the fun side of decorating that we all enjoy.
So we will look at one way of finding a style that is right for your project - use it as a catalyst to get your creative juices working.
Take the brief that you have already created and sit somewhere with your client having no distractions and start jotting down ideas, scribbling sketches, flicking through magazines and books together, (you will find that after picking out a few examples in magazines and books that you start to get an idea of the style that your client is predominately drawn to, the schemes will have a similar theme), looking at color and fabric and flooring samples and swatches, photos of the existing space and items that you are going to keep from your existing room to work with. Start putting things together haphazardly, picking out things that catch your eye, put them all together and start again over. Continue this process a few times until you run out of ideas. Then leave the room for a while take in some fresh air - very good for the brain.

The Key to Successful Interior Design - Is a Good Client Brief part 8
Summing Up the client Brief Process
So to sum up what I have tried to express today, is to take the time at the start of a project to get deep down into your client's lives and find out what they really need, not just what they think they should have! At the end of the day we often don't know ourselves until someone points it out to us.
Thank you and I hope you have found a few ideas to help make your future projects work better. We all have our own system for achieving a brief, but we all want the same outcome. A happy client without an overdraft for designwork and a home that they feel comfortable living in that expresses their personalities.

Interior Decorating e-course Part 3B. How to Brain Storm Your Style Ideas

Never overlook the power of brain storming. It can bring out ideas
you may never have dreamed of!

Today we will look at one way of finding a style that is right for your project - use it as a catalyst to get your creative juices working.
Take the brief that you have already created and sit somewhere with no distractions and start jotting down ideas, scribbling sketches, flicking through magazines and books, (you will find that after picking out a few examples in magazines and books that you start to get an idea of the style that you are predominately drawn to, the schemes will have a similar theme), looking at color and fabric and flooring samples and swatches, photos of the existing space and items that you are going to keep from your existing room to work with. Start putting things together haphazardly, picking out things that catch your eye, put them all together and start again over. Continue this process a few times until you run out of  ideas. Then leave the room for a while take in some fresh air - very good for the brain.
Go back into the room and see what scheme or idea catches your eye first. Take that one and start to work with it. Ask questions. What caught your eye and why, should this be the focal point, is this the look that you were aiming for in the brief? Will it work correctly in your space? It is a bit like a flow chart. If yes, then keep working on it, look for other items and accessories that coordinate with it. If no, then go back and find another idea and start working with that. It sounds daunting and a little bit scary and of course the old favorite too hard! It is difficult the first few times until you get your confidence. (By then you may have come up with an even better process of your own for brainstorming - after all accessing your brain is a very personal thing! This is a catalyst for creative thinking) So to make your life easier, don't practice on a real project. Experiment on some rooms in your house, without actually decorating, come up with some different schemes for different client briefs. Eventually you will do all this on auto pilot, but it helps to have someone give you a starting point!
I can visualize what things will look like when the project is finished, as so will you be able to when you have done it a few times. The hardest thing is often trying to explain to your clients or your family! To resolve this you can make up a color board showing all the samples and swatches, but this only gives them ideas of the colors, they usually want to see it in 3d ie already finished! A very expensive way of showing concepts!! So a good way is with the use of technology. You can now get software that provides amazing graphics of what a room can look like, this is another way to experiment with out actually decorating anyones room and very good practice.

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