It's no surprise that the last two years have created a unique set of circumstances for those working on residential design projects. Staying home for months on end had many people thinking about how to elevate their current homes, or moving to new homes completely. That, in turn, led to one of the biggest periods of demand for interior designers and architects, while coinciding with a global shift in supply chains, timelines, and expectations for all of us... all around.
Humans are nothing if not adaptable, and we've seen plenty of that over the last few years. Today we're diving into the various ways our process has shifted to manage everyone's sanity and create realistic expectations for a major design project.
Communication is KEY
Sadly, these days we have to tell potential clients whatever timeline they come to us with in our initial questionnaire, 99% of the time, is not going to happen. During our discovery call, we make sure to recap that information as quickly as possible to manage those expectations immediately. Our letter of agreement and client guides reiterate the amount of waiting we'll likely have to do, and clients now have to sign off stating that they understand these expectations.
I know, I know you've heard it...you're tired of hearing it. Trust me, I'm tired of saying it. But this is how it is, at least for now.
When we order furniture, all vendor agreements are looked over with a fine toothed comb to know whether the orders are refundable or not. In most cases they are not. We'll always fight for you as the client if something isn‘t right for you, but knowing that we may not be successful in switching a piece out is critical again to managing expectations.
When vendors come back with price changes or additional freight charges, it is an added cost that we communicate as soon as we know as well. We never want to have to come back and add additional charges, but the world we live in is very reactionary at the moment, and these are all realities of design in 2022.
We've added a few layers of flexibility to our approach as well:
Custom furniture might have taken six to nine months before, and it's become very common to receive about 50-75% of a project's furniture within that time frame now. Because of this, the days of one big HGTV-style reveal are back in 2019 waving back at us. We now do several 'partial installs' to avoid additional furniture storage charges, and get these pieces into the client's home as soon as possible.
We also approach markets like Round Top or online auction houses with an eye for upholstered furniture, rather than just small items and accent decor now. If we find a chair or sofa in the right shape or aesthetic, it's a piece we can arrange to ship out within a few days, and even send to an upholsterer if the fabric choice isn't ideal. This process may not save you money, but it will definitely save you time.
With all of that said, interior design is a luxury service that I'm humbled to be able to do every day, and all of these obstacles can start to grate on both client and designer, but we must keep our perspective in check. In due time, everything will be complete and delightful - hang in there with us knowing we are behind the scenes doing our best for you and we'll make it through!