The Design Development Phase

Ya’ll. October was crazy. How in the heck do other people keep up with blogging every week. Nay, a few times a week?! My apologies. I hope to do better from now through the end of the year. Here’s my next story based on the design process at Midnight Midcentury.

 Photo by Courtney Paige Ray

Photo by Courtney Paige Ray

Design Development is the next phase in the process of working with a Design Professional. In case you missed the first steps, you can read it here before you read this story.

So now you’ve settled on a design concept and floor plan. Great! Time to sign off on Phase 1 and move into Phase 2. You Design Professional will have you officially approve of your selected concept and floor plan, then bill you for the end of Phase 1, per your signed agreement.

The Design Development Phase is when your project begins to come to life. Your Design Professional will begin sourcing furniture and finishes as well as designing and drawing cabinetry or any other custom built items. If you are knocking down any walls or moving things around (like kitchens and bathrooms) those drawings will be made as well.

I like to provide little mock ups for my clients so they can visualize various options as they come together. Here are three different mock-ups I put together for Midnight Midcentury

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These provided a lot of great feedback from the client in that they told me the things that they definitely wanted and other things that they would like to see more options for. Having a variety allows the client to more specifically describe what they do and don’t like about certain things. In this case, it was that they wanted fully upholstered lounge chairs and the dark blue wall with grey sofa. This client was also pretty certain about rug, chandelier, and table dining table options, so that set up on the path to be able to view these items in person prior to purchasing. The overall concept is there, and now it comes down to keying in on the specific pieces that are desired.

When I’m working on remodel and cabinetry work (which, being an architect and interior designer, is pretty much a given) I work through drawings which are super important. Once fully developed, the drawings become what is given to the contractor or millworker as the design to build from. I also use them as a way to show little vignettes to my clients to help them better visualize what their cabinet, fireplace, etc could look like.

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This phase doesn’t have just one meeting, it’s a lot of back and forth and parting of the different design elements until the client is happy with each individual item. This phase generally takes the longest of any design phase.

Starting a Design Project

When you are educated in a particular topic, it’s easy to forget that not everyone else in the world knows what you are talking about. I’m guilty of using architectural jargon when talking to clients. It can be difficult to remember that what I’m paid to do for a living is because I am highly educated and skilled in areas of space, design, and building. I’m learning more and more when working with new clients who might have never engaged in a building project before to break down exactly how this collaborative process will unfold.

In light of this revelation, I’m going to be bringing you updates from one of my current projects over the next few months to better illustrate the different phases of design and what it is like to work with a designer or architect. I’ll be using a current remodel project which I’ve just named Midnight Midcentury. (More on the importance of project naming in a future story)

 Photo by Courtney Paige Ray

Photo by Courtney Paige Ray

Today’s topic: How the project begins

Step one is an initial meeting with your potential designer or architect. I described this in detail a few weeks ago, check it out here.

After your initial meeting, if both you and the Design Professional want to move forward with working together, the designer will prepare a proposal with scope of work and contract for you to review and sign. I do this all online with Dubsado so no in-person signatures or delivery of contracts is required. This makes for a seamless start! If you sign a contract with your Design Professional, they will invoice you for a retainer or deposit and once that is paid, the project gets started!

Concept is Crucial

If you don’t have a concept, you don’t have a project. This beginning phase can look a little different depending on the type of project. If yours is a new-build or a commercial project, it will likely involve more steps such as a feasibility study and permit research. If it’s interior design with no architecture, it may involve less. Since I’m taking you through the process on Midnight Midcentury which is a remodel with interior design, that’s the type of project I’ll be discussing here.

Data Collection

The first thing I do once a contract is signed is to set up a site visit where I will take photos and measurements of the space to be designed. This step goes a long way. After that initial meeting is over, I immediately draw up floorplans of the space and utilize the photos frequently to refer back to the existing and surround spaces. In the case of Midnight Midcentury, I’m redesigning the front entry rooms of the home which have pocket doors closed off to the rest of the house, a hallway that attaches to the other living space, and big sliding doors that visually connect it to the newly re-designed backyard. I was also told that the curtains in the dining room had to stay as well as one piece of art.

At this initial site meeting I will also gauge the client’s desires for the space and go over their Pinterest board to determine a style direction.

Concept Imagery + Space Planning

Now that I have gathered all the information, it’s time to sit in front of my computer and pull together imagery that will help my client more specifically determine the visual concept we will develop for their space. These are the concept mood boards that I put together for this project.

At the same time, I am drawing up space plan options. These are crucial to begin to determine size and location of furniture, fixtures, and equipment. Here are the three planning options that were presented to the client.

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Meeting Time!

I try to ensure that all my presentations happen face to face - whether that is an in person meeting or a video conference - it’s critical for me to be the one walking the client through the boards so they understand the concepts, the reason why something is sized or placed where it is, as well as the the clear difference in the various schemes.

Client Feedback is Critical

After this meeting, I generally have some pretty good feedback and an idea of how to move forward, but I also send the pdf to the client and ask them to give me written feedback. This is important to give them additional time to review the details of what has been presented as well as show it to their spouse or partner if they weren’t able to be at the meeting. Then, the client will send back the pdf within a set amount of time, marking out things they don’t like and circling things they love. This feedback loop is critical for my next step which is taking the desires from the concept phase into the design development phase.

Stay tuned as I walk you through that process next week!

Guest Post: Five Principles of Workplace Design

Hi there! I am so pleased to be guest blogging for my talented friend, Taryn. 

I am Jessica Rose, my company Rose Studio Interiors, specializes in commercial & hospitality interior design. I work primarily with startups and small businesses to add function, style and infuse work spaces with branding and culture. 

I’d love to share with you five design principles that I have found to be essential to a successful work place design project: 

  @haleproductionstudios, Rose Studio Interiors Offices

@haleproductionstudios, Rose Studio Interiors Offices

Form Follows Function

Programming is a standard part of design & architecture for any project, but it’s especially important when it comes to work place design. I use a series of questionnaires and surveys to find out what each person’s role is within the company I am designing for, and what they need to do their best work. 

  LWP Group Real Estate Offices

LWP Group Real Estate Offices

The needs of each individual are then cross referenced with the adjacencies they require (who needs to sit to next to who) and this helps determine the final layout of furniture and walls. At this stage, I work with my favorite commercial furniture vendors to find the quality furniture line that is just right for a particular client. Even companies who do similar work have their own specific needs, and finding just the right layouts and furniture pieces for them is a large part of what I do as an interior designer. 

  @nufolk, YWAM Open Work Area

@nufolk, YWAM Open Work Area

Creativity Rules

With the mix of generations in the current work force, a standardized design and layout are not very effective. Getting creative and asking my clients to step out of their comfort zone is key in having a project that they can get excited about, which allows them to be more invested.

  LWP Group Real Estate Offices Lounge

LWP Group Real Estate Offices Lounge

Each project is unique, and making sure there are plenty of creative ideas, colors, artwork and experiences within a fully functioning work space is one of my favorite, essential parts of the design process.

Branding: Quiet but Powerful

My number one pet peeve in work place design is when a company’s logo is just slapped on a wall somewhere and called ‘branding.’ I believe in subtle branding that tells a story through installations of color, texture and artwork.

  @nufolk, YWAM Blue Wall

@nufolk, YWAM Blue Wall

Infusing a space with design elements containing colors, artwork and symbols that are a meaningful part of a company’s history is a much more effective way of branding, and is the mark of a thoughtful and well designed space. 

Choices, Choices, Choices

The open office concept is often the norm for start up clients, but isn’t always the best working situation for heads down work or a positive working environment for introverts. I’ve found that having a variety of work areas helps to give individual freedom and encourages employees to take initiative and find the best work area for the task at hand.

  @nufolk, YWAM Lounge Work Area

@nufolk, YWAM Lounge Work Area

Combining private office space, meeting rooms, benching style desks as well as lounge work spaces help to provide different types of work surfaces for different types of work. Providing choices is something I always guide clients towards, surveying the wants and needs of their employees is a great way to facilitate this. 

Company Culture Above All Else 

As a commercial designer, it is my job to help companies find their voice when it comes to design. I love to help people work better and feel happier while they are pursuing their dreams. The work place should reflect that.

  @nufolk, YWAM Conference Room

@nufolk, YWAM Conference Room

I always ask clients at the beginning of the project, ‘How do you want to feel when you walk into your space?’ and then, ‘How do you want other people to feel when they walk into your space?’ These questions help to inform to overall design of the space as they allow clients to think about the look and feel of their work place from all perspectives and make informed choices. 

  @haleproductionstudios, Hale Productions New Loft Offices

@haleproductionstudios, Hale Productions New Loft Offices

As a commercial interior designer, it’s my pleasure to work with a team of architects, engineers, contractors and other traders to turn ideas and concepts into a fully realized project where a team can do their best work.

Jessica Rose is the Principal and Owner of Rose Studio Interiors, a design company in Southern California that specializes in design for startups and small businesses. Jessica works closely with companies to design for startups and small businesses to design unique and functional spaces where people can feel their absolute best.

  @haleproductionstudios

@haleproductionstudios

Preparing for your first meeting with a Design Professional

Before your renovation, tenant improvement, or interior design project can begin, you first need to find a design professional who is qualified, available, and excited to collaborate on the project with you. Presumably you’ve already gotten some names of architects and designers from friends, colleagues, or through internet and instagram searches. Now you are headed into your first meeting, which is typically a free 20-30 minute phone call.

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1. Describe your project.

Be prepared to quickly, but thoroughly describe what you hope to accomplish by hiring the design professional. Is this a full home remodel AND interior design? Does your store need an interior refresh? Are you hoping to build an addition but don’t know if the zoning in your district will allow the size addition you hope to build? It’s okay if you’ve not completely nailed down all the possibilities in your scope, but the more clear you are, the better feedback the design professional can provide.

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2. What is your particular style or aesthetic? Do you have a Pinterest board of inspiration images?

Some design professionals only work within certain design aesthetics and it is important that you find someone who understands and enjoys working in your particular style. Coming to that first meeting with a Pinterest board of inspiration images - but not TOO many images - is your best bet. Even better if you can email the board to the design professional before the meeting so they know what they are working with. The hope would be that you’ve already reached out to someone who you believe matches your style prior to the meeting and you’ve checked this by looking at their work on their website.

3. What is your timeframe to get started and when would you ideally like to have this work completed?

Give your honest answers. A good design professional will be direct and honest with you if your timeframes are unrealistic. Here’s a little knowledge to help get your started: generally speaking, on a smaller remodel or interior design job, the design phases could take 1-3 months; whereas a larger addition, new build, or a commercial project could have a design and permitting time of closer to 4-6 months. And these are just design timeframes. The actual construction can be much less predictable; a remodel can take approximately 3-6 months, while a new build will be a minimum of a year.

4. What is your budget?

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You can’t get out of this one. Your design professional needs to know your budget or they won’t be able to give you an appropriate fee estimate or let you know if what you aim to do is even possible. If your budget is flexible, it’s helpful to do a little bit of research prior to your meeting so you have a decent range in mind. And candor is always appreciated, so if you honestly have no idea and want the design professional to tell you what your budget range should be, given your scope of work, tell them that. I’m always happy to help potential clients develop their budgets if they’ve never undergone similar projects before.

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Lastly, it may be helpful to keep in mind that this is a two-way collaborative process. Not only are you interviewing the design professional, but they are trying to determine how good of a fit they are for your project and how well you’d work together. And that partnership is important, as the design professional will be your primary advocate in ensuring the design vision is carried out accurately.

Preparing your answers to the top questions that your design professional will need to know is the first step toward a smooth and exciting design process.

Guest Post: Why You Should Hire A Designer for Your Next Remodel

Today, I bring to you the first guest post for Bone Collective Studio Stories, our newly revamped blog. I recently realized that many of my clients were actually reading the blog, though I hadn't posted anything new in well over a year! Yikes! Sorry about that. With this new "Stories" section, I'll be providing quick doses of fun reads to help educate you about the design and architecture process. Have a burning question that myself or my team of experts can answer for you? Send away to hello@bcstudiola.com.

Today’s post is from Ariana Lovato. Take it away, Ariana!

Why You Should Hire a Designer For your Next Remodel

I’m the first one to admit it - Designers get a bad rap of walking into the door and the dollar signs just start pouring out.

After all, Designers are just spending people’s money every day while they drink champagne and shop, right?! 

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Okay, sarcasm aside, I’m here to tell you that that’s not really the case.

Sure, we shop and spend other people’s money. But we are doing this with the intention of creating a beautiful, functional and safe environment for our clients.

Let’s start from the top.

Interior Design, by definition, is the art or process of designing the interior decoration of a room or building.

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When it comes to designing a space, there are so many moving parts involved. From the style and height of the baseboard, to the lighting, to the space planning, to the cabinetry and the furniture, a Designer’s job is to ensure everything works together in beautiful harmony.

Not only do these decisions and specifications need to be made in a cohesive manner, they also have to be made quickly in order to help keep projects moving along.


Now let’s say you were looking to remodel your kitchen.

You’ve seen a few HGTV shows and it seems like you know what you like. Maybe something along the lines of Fixer Upper but maybe with a modern twist.

Let’s see… you’ll need to pick out new cabinets, new countertops, backsplash, appliances, lighting and plumbing fixtures.

Seems easy enough.

First of all, you have to determine your cabinetry style.

A simple Shaker frame sounds about right.

 Honeycomb Home Design, Marcel Alain Photography

Honeycomb Home Design, Marcel Alain Photography

OK, next decision, the cabinetry kitchen layout.

How do you work in the kitchen?

Where do you prep?

How many cooks are in the kitchen at one time?

Do you entertain often?

What kind of appliances are you needing?

Do you want flush inset cabinetry or full overlay?

All of these are super important questions to ask yourself during this layout process.

Feeling overwhelmed yet?

Here’s where hiring a Designer for your next remodel comes into play.

Not only are we there to make these decisions with you, we’re there to guide you through this entire process and prevent you from the stress of a remodel.

To the person that does not do this for a living, sure, all of those questions would probably result in, “ummm I’m not sure???”

We find out what your objectives are and how to fulfill them in the most cost effective and stylish way possible.

Entertain a lot? OK, you’ll need an island with some seating.

Do you and your partner end up in the Kitchen at the same time? OK, we’ll need to make sure your island and your perimeter countertops are at least 48” apart to allow enough room.

Farmhouse with a modern twist?

Let’s bring in some white shaker cabinets, white Quartz that looks like marble, mix in some darker cabinetry, and some elongated subway tiles and some fun dark metal pendants.

 Honeycomb Home Design, Marcel Alain Photography

Honeycomb Home Design, Marcel Alain Photography

Trusting a Designer to not only design but to help guide you through your next remodel is one of the best decisions you could make, we promise!

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Today's Guest Post comes to you from Interior Designer, Ariana Lovato. In 2016, Ariana founded Honeycomb Home Design in Arroyo Grande along California's Central Coast. She received an Associate Degree in Interior Design from FIDM and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of LaVerne. When she's not designing your dream home, she is spending time with her husband and their four pugs as well as being very active in her community.

Various Shades of Grey

I have had a grey obsession for many years now. In architecture school, you learn that architects all wear black. While this is probably 90% true, and I definitely own key black architectural attire, I often dress in all grey. Additionally, my house is about 90% grey, hence the instagram photo that may have led you to this post. But I recognize that I am not alone in this grey obsession. Researching a variety of interiors these days, the color grey is abound, and it looks fabulous! Whereas many buildings have long been grey, thanks to concrete, limestone, and steel being key exterior architectural materials.

The thing about grey as an interior design element is that you can use just about any color as an accent and it will be perfect every time! That's why I am a huge advocate for selecting grey major pieces, such as sofas, chairs, even rugs. Then whenever you need a style change, you can change out pillows, arts, and accessories as you wish. Of course, in my own home, my pillows and accessories are all mostly grey too. But, hey, I already let you know that I'm obsessed!

I should also point out that yes, I spell it with an "e" GREY... Most Americans spell it GRAY. I think it's much prettier with the "e," and I feel that it makes it that much more mine.

Here's my round up of some stunning greys that I think are doing a great job at doing what they do:

1. A dark grey wall helps makes the white art, linens, and Louis Poulsen lamp pop.

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source unknown

2. Color blocks of grey. A definite favorite of mine, just like I did in one of my favorite interior projects, LA Home Office. And yes to West Elm's Saddle Swivel Chair.

 source unknown

source unknown

3. A medium-light grey linen sofa will never go out of style. How awesome is that large scale ombre art?

 Interior Addict, via Instagram

Interior Addict, via Instagram

4. A lovely grey, muted bathroom is the perfect place to relax in the tub/shower after a long, hard workout.

 Lubelso Hawthorne Home by Canny, via designmilk

Lubelso Hawthorne Home by Canny, via designmilk

5. An all exposed concrete building is more than alright with me. It's one of my favorite things!

 Bundner Kunst Museum by Barozzi Veiga, via Dezeen

Bundner Kunst Museum by Barozzi Veiga, via Dezeen

Minimal Monday

Any good architect will tell you that they don't have one particular "style." While it is true that a great architect or designer can design a space in just about any style out there, we all have our favorites. For me, that is Modern. Within the Modern design sensibility lives a multitude of subcategories, of which I will get into in future articles. Minimalism is what I'm going to focus on today because it is my ultimate favorite!

I should begin by saying that Minimalism is not just a style, it's a whole way of being. For more in-depth information about how to live a Minimal life, you should check out The Minimalists blog and podcast as well as read Marie Kondo's method on Japanese tidying. Both highly recommended by me.

But this is my architecture and design blog, so that's what I'm going to show you now. I would like to share a few slides from a Pechu Kucha I recently presented that represents what I find beautiful in architecture. (all of which happen to express my Minimal design sensibility)

 House in Litoral Alentejano by Aires Mateus. Photos copyrighted by Daniel Malhao. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

House in Litoral Alentejano by Aires Mateus. Photos copyrighted by Daniel Malhao. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

1. One big move that provides multiple options

I think there is such a beauty in the utter simplicity and economy of things. Such as when something as simplistic as this sliding wood wall that Aires Mateus puts on this blank white facade can do so much in adding visual tension, texture, and geometry, while at the same time providing a way to close the opening into the house. And in case you didn't notice that single white step in front? Perfectly executed with the exact right amount of distance between it and the facade so that the sliding wall has a home and can go from roof to ground without interruption. 

 House in Alentejo Coast by Aires Mateus. Photos copyrighted by Juan Rodriguez. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

House in Alentejo Coast by Aires Mateus. Photos copyrighted by Juan Rodriguez. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

2. The Unexpected

When I see the first photo here of this house by Aires Mateus, I am blown away. I wonder, how can this piece of architecture stand with such a paper thin vertical member? How was this wall constructed, what is it made from, how can it work? Then the second photo reveals the knife edge of a wall which thickens as it moves back toward the house. This is the "ah-ha" moment, but it doesn't ruin the architecture like learning the trick of magic might ruin a magic show. Instead it makes me appreciate the piece of architecture even more, as the fine piece of art and structure that it is.

 House in Azeitao by Aires Mateus. Photo copyrighted by Daniel Malhao. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

House in Azeitao by Aires Mateus. Photo copyrighted by Daniel Malhao. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

3. Pure Geometry

Nothing gets me more than pure geometric forms extruded into a space in which to live, work, or play. This photo takes a new view of the house from the floor looking up into the sectional objects which really make the house unique and beautiful. Pure geometries have always been a source of inspiration for me and also that which I have created many past projects, such as The Blank House.

 House in Alcobaca by Aires Mateus. Photography by Fernando Guerra. Courtesy of Dezeen.

House in Alcobaca by Aires Mateus. Photography by Fernando Guerra. Courtesy of Dezeen.

4. Using what Architecture gives you

What is more Minimal that using what you already have? Design wise, a stair is a stair is a stair. Stairs have a standard tread and riser dimension, and they have remained relatively the same all throughout architectural history. But what an architect does to express the stair as something else - here a ceiling, and also a set of storage closest underneath - is how an architect can speak their unique language to the world. Architects can use other elements

 Cabanas in Rio by Aires Mateus. Photo copyrighted by Nelson Garrido. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

Cabanas in Rio by Aires Mateus. Photo copyrighted by Nelson Garrido. Courtesy of ArchDaily.

5. Simple Silhouettes

So striking to me is a building form so pure that its silhouette speaks as an icon of the project. In the case of these two Cabanas by Aires Mateus (are you seeing a theme here yet?) the silhouette(s) not only is strong on its own, but it is made stronger due to its relation to the mountains beyond. Architecture mimicking nature in such a way is beautiful to me.

 Peter Zumthor's Therme Vals photographed by Fernando Guerra

Peter Zumthor's Therme Vals photographed by Fernando Guerra

6. Utilizing similar materials to the landscape

I love when a building use the materials similar to their landscape. Of course this is a cornerstone of sustainable design practices which all architects should be trying their best to maintain. Here, Peter Zumthor's Therme Vals in Switzerland showcase the locally quarried quartzite stone as both exterior and interior, for a fully immersive sensory experience within the local material. I also love how in this image, the architecture contrasts with the snow, but blends in with the mountain range in the background.

 Haus Meister by HDPF. Photography by Valentin Jeck. Courtesy of Dezeen.

Haus Meister by HDPF. Photography by Valentin Jeck. Courtesy of Dezeen.

7. Slight variation in materiality to create difference

I absolutely love when something so simple such as concrete is used to show subtle variations, like the way HDPF has ground the concrete down to show the aggregate at different densities to create window and door frames.

So that's some of what I find beautiful in Architecture as well a taste of my Minimal design sensibility. Stay tuned for more blog posts in 2017!

Brentwood Remodel Progress

 
 How many people does it take to get a 500 lb tub from the garage up to a second floor apartment? 8. It takes 8.

How many people does it take to get a 500 lb tub from the garage up to a second floor apartment? 8. It takes 8.

This week, the finish work begins in our Master Bathroom renovation project.  Finish work - which is the work you see when you look at a final project - always moves so quickly compared to all the prep work. But the prep work is very important, of course, as it's the backbone that holds the project together. You just never notice it - at least in a well done project. In the case of our Master Bathroom renovation project in Brentwood, Los Angeles, the plumbing, electrical, and walls were important things that needed to be well prepped before tiling could begin. Now the plumbing has been located in the proper places for two sinks at the vanity, a new shower in the niche, and a new freestanding tub. Electrical was also moved to make more logical placement of the switches instead of the old locations which had four different switches all throughout the bathroom (completely ridiculous and highly inefficient!) We also simplified the lighting by adding recessed fixtures in the middle "aisle" of the bathroom as well as one fixture in the shower niche.  After these two major items were completed, the cement/mortar bed was done everywhere where tile will be located. Now it's ready for the tiling! Flooring is the first step, which is about half way done as of last night.  Stay tuned for more pictures as this project will quickly come to completion!

 

 Demo complete down to the studs

Demo complete down to the studs

 Mortar and cement bed almost ready to receive tile

Mortar and cement bed almost ready to receive tile

 Last minute on site tile decisions being made

Last minute on site tile decisions being made

 Floor tiles are halfway complete! Nice flush transition to the wood flooring at the Master Bedroom.

Floor tiles are halfway complete! Nice flush transition to the wood flooring at the Master Bedroom.