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  • Writer's pictureBeau Stinnette

The Process

Updated: Mar 22


I thought after all of our time together, you might like to hear from wildly talented and uber creative design partner for a change.  Here are some of his thoughts on a designer’s work…

 

Behind the scenes of every finished beautiful home or room there has been many man hours in planning, tracking, overseeing, follow up and trouble shooting. As designers we are hand holders and task masters, we give a whole new meaning to the term multi-tasking, and all with a smile and a sense of pride and confidence. Professional Interior Designers are held to a higher standard and we must produce what we promise, seamlessly and on-time.

 

I have been working with Dann Foley since 2002 and along the way I have learned a great deal from Dann, and also from the daily deal of working with clients, manufacturers, fabricators, contractors, shippers and warehouses. My role in our team has changed and grown over the years. When I began with Dann I was mostly “back of the house”; In more recent years I have worn the hats of the assistant, the bookkeeper and the designer. When I think about all of the details in each of those roles, I am stunned by the hidden intricacy that is involved and how we perform as trained professionals. We are in a sense the magician; we co-create and execute a plan for beautiful living and then we fade into the background.

 

When we take on a new client or a new project there is the “meet and greet”. This meeting is crucial in meeting and soothing expectations and since we do not charge for our initial consultation, we are ever aware that we only get one chance to “win the job”. This is our “audition” where we must be congenial and sensitive while we shine with knowledge and the ability to see a raw space with its potential, all in the first meeting. We must be able to give enough inspiration to be called back for the job. Most new clients are usually looking at multiple firms to hire.

 

Once engaged we define the scope of work by the agreement. By this point we have had multiple conversations and we have discovered likes as well as what is to be avoided. We have been good listeners and we have taken notes. We may have created a client profile based on our meetings and conversations. We are serious about our performance and we create a simple agreement that outlines all of our discussions, your desires and lays out how we will work together. This includes information about the home, the design, the invoicing and even the right to photograph our finished work while always protecting our client’s personal information.

 

Creating the Presentation and the Inventory is a serious job for us. We create the floor plan for the home or space along with elevations and renderings. This is how we also determine the proposed inventory for each room; everything is planned by scale from actual site measurements. 

 

“A finished room does not happen one piece at a time, we aren’t building a puzzle.” – Dann Foley

 

We are creating your space from a plethora of information that we have gathered, some by conversation and some by scale and none of it by whim. Included in this planning there have been multiple meetings with contractors who will be a part of the job.

Gathering, curating, listing and reaching the point where we are ready to return and present the layout with the budget is a very timely process and requires great attention to beauty, function and detail. Good design doesn’t just happen, there is a science to getting it right.

 

I have been through many presentations over the years and they often take multiple hours and require a great deal of energy and determination. We are not only selling but most often we are expanding on what a client thinks that they already know. We consider this to be an important and very interesting part of our job, we take your thoughts and often enlarge them with what had not been previously envisioned. We broaden the perspective, and this is what sets us apart. About now is when the money conversation gets real, but we are prepared, in the budget each individual item has its own line, nothing has been left out. By the end of the presentation, client’s heads are usually spinning with an overflow of information and we continue to review and edit until we are in complete agreement and ready to step into the work of setting schedules and writing purchase orders back at our offices.

 

Now work has begun, contractors are showing up, orders have been placed and the tedious job of tracking each contractor and each ordered item becomes a daily routine in our office, as well as site visits, weekly progress report meetings and budget reviews. This waiting experience will often challenge any client. They have been writing checks and building expectations, and anxiety runs high about now for most clients.

 

“If you could do it yourself you would have, but you can’t so you hired us, now get out of the way.” – Dann Foley

 

We as the professionals must retain control of the job while managing timelines and budgets and diverting possible drama. We have found it helpful to rotate our interactions with clients at times; good cop, bad cop. We soothe the sometimes-ruffled feathers and keep going!

 

In the end we have given “birth”, we have co-created the final version of months and hours spent together. Installation day arrives and it is the culmination of many man hours and many unseen hands. The contracting details have all been finished; all of the home purchases have been received and are ready to be delivered in perfect condition. You have been asked to leave your house to us for anywhere from a day to a week while the pre-arranged white glove movers deliver to us all of the beautiful and purposely selected products that we have been shipping and carefully storing. Everything is then delivered and placed by us according to that plan that we all agreed on months ago.

Then the call comes, “It’s time to come Home now!” By now we have poured the wine, plated the Hors d’oeuvres, lit the candles, music is playing, and we have changed out of our work clothes and slipped into some well-polished shoes. We are ready for your return and walkthrough. Clients often admit in the walkthrough that the end product looks even richer in person. We have performed a job well done and if there are any punch list items, we make a list and see to it quickly. Our next job is usually determined by how well we executed our last project.

 

“If one of our clients doesn’t cry during the reveal, then I have not done my job.” – Dann Foley

 

 

Beau Stinnette

Foley & Stinnette Interior Design




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