Inside Our Interior Design Process: Phase 1

Whether you’re a new client of ours or still considering hiring an interior designer, looking inside the design process is a great way to understand what’s in store for you. Like a sexy pair of Louboutins and a classic dress, our process will fill you with confidence, put some strut in your step, and create a luxurious experience you won’t soon forget.

The Interior Design Process at a Glance

Our interior design process consists of three major phases: design development, implementation and final install. Each phase has various checkpoints that we will guide you through expertly. In this post, we’ll talk more about Phase 1 below, but here is a quick overview of the entire process to get you started.

Phase 1: Design Development

  • Client Discovery & Style Exploration
  • Mood Board Presentation
  • Whole Home Space Planning
  • Elevations & 3D Renderings
  • Trade & Vendor Quotes
  • Presentation & Proposal
  • Final Design Approval

Phase 2: Implementation

  • Product Ordering & Tracking
  • Construction & Project Management
  • Item Procurement & Storage

Phase 3: Final Project Install

  • Installation & Styling
  • Deficiency Resolution
  • Project Wrap-up
maria decotiis vancouver ca design process designer working with luxury materials

Phase 1: Design Development

Client Discovery & Style Exploration

Our meticulous design process starts with an initial design consultation to get to know each other, learn about your goals, and explore your style. Before we meet, we will also send you a Pinterest board so you can begin curating inspiration photos that resonate with you. This will help facilitate our conversation, help us understand your lifestyle, and build the all-important trust that will make your project a success.

Mood Board Presentation

Before we dive into specific selections, we like to set the general design direction with a mood board. This gives us a chance to summarize your style and the overall look and feel of your space. We present this to you for feedback, fine-tune it, and approve it before officially developing the design. 

Here are a few examples to inspire you!

office design inspiration white cream pink hers maria de cotiis interior design moodboard
maria de cotiis design moodboard kitchen brass and cream fresh traditional timeless style north vancouver

Whole Home Space Planning

When designing your dream home, a strategic and intentional floor plan is essential — it will become the guiding framework for your experience of home. If you’re renovating, we’ll start by measuring each space down to the centimeter. 

Note: If you’re building a custom home, we’ll work with your architect to review the home’s footprint and make recommendations for improving the interior’s flow and functionality for your lifestyle. Make sure to engage a designer before the architect submits the plans for permits in case there are any changes.

As we define the footprint of the home, we’ll also create a furnishings plan. For example, will you need two small sofas or a sectional? Round or rectangular coffee table? Where will the dining table be placed? Or the new, built-in banquette off the kitchen? (P.S. You can download our Home Furnishings Investment Guide here.) 

maria decotiis vancouver ca design process space layout

Example floor plan for one of our clients’ projects

It may sound premature to plan this much detail in the beginning, but it is essential to getting the home and experience you crave. It will tell us where electrical should go, wiring for overhead lighting, custom built-ins, and so much more. 

Detailed Elevations

Elevations are part of the construction documents, and yes, we create these too! If the Space Planning is the bird’s eye view, elevations are what you would see at eye-level if you were standing in the home and looking at the walls. These intricate 2-dimensional renderings show the placement of built-ins, cabinets, appliances, sconces, and more. Although these documents contain all the details the builder will need to execute the designs, questions may still arise during construction, which is why it’s important to keep us involved. 

maria decotiis vancouver ca design process elevation of kichen wall

Elevations we created for a client’s kitchen

Note: During this step, we will also determine which appliances you desire to make sure we’re planning them into the elevations accordingly. For example, if you’re hoping for a Sub-Zero refrigerator (which is considerably larger than the standard refrigerator, we will need to make room for it!

Design Concept

Your design concept will include our selections for every item in your space, with the exception of any beloved pieces you might already own. We select lighting, counters, backsplashes, cabinetry materials, hardware, plumbing fixtures, appliances, furnishings, decor, and everything in between. Yes, even the colour of the grout between tiles is selected by us.

When we get to your Design Presentation (further down), we will present you with our drawings and selections, including materials samples you can look at and feel for quality, style, and character.

maria decotiis vancouver ca design process flatlay of refined home materials

3D Renderings

Although space planning, materials samples, and elevations are helpful, it can be difficult to imagine what your final space will look like with just these resources. This is where 3D renderings come in, allowing you to clearly envision our design for your completed space. They allow you to make informed design decisions, compare finish options, and make sure you are fully confident in the design direction.

maria decotiis vancouver ca design process d rendering of kitchen with completed project

This 3D rendering on the left is almost identical to the completed project on the right!

Presentation & Proposal

All of the above steps of the process will take a minimum of 6 weeks, depending on the project side, as we source materials, obtain quotes from vendors and trades, and complete the technical drawings and renderings. 

Once the fine details have been carefully defined, we will present it all to you during your first Presentation. We present to both partners if there is a couple — it’s important to give all decision-makers a chance to ask questions. This meeting can be a lengthy one, but don’t worry, we will have snacks and coffee.

At this time, we will also present you with our detailed project proposal, which includes the quotes provided to us by our vendors. This will help you see how our selections fit into your desired overall investment. With renderings, materials samples, elevations, and floor plans, you’ll be able to share feedback, review any updates, and sign off on the design direction with confidence!

maria decotiis vancouver ca design process materials board with modern transitional decor

Once you’ve approved the design, you’re ready for Phase 2: Implementation. This is when we use our plans to bring your home beautifully to life. I’ll be sharing more about Phase 2 and 3 in my next blog post, so stay tuned!



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