WHAT IS INTERIOR DESIGN?
“Interior design is the process of shaping the experience of an interior space, through the manipulation of spatial volume as well as surface treatment. Not to be confused with interior decoration, interior design draws on aspects of environmental psychology, architecture + product design in addition to traditional decoration...
... Interior design is a creative practice that analyses programmatic information, establishes a conceptual direction, refines the design direction, and produces graphic communication + construction documents...” - Wikipedia
The interior designer's job is to address all major design principals + apply them to each project.
WHAT ARE THE DESIGN PRINCIPLES?
For a space to work, it must be presented harmoniously. This means applying the principals of design to each project...
+ Balance (symmetric / asymmetric / radial)
+ Focal point
+ Rhythm (repetition / progression / transition / contrast)
+ Details (refining design for each space + item)
+ Scale + proportion
WHAT MAKES BELLE ABODE INTERIORS UNIQUE?
Belle Abode Interiors specialise in bespoke design meaning each project is treated independently + is specifically tailored to your design brief. We design custom furniture + furnishings to ideally fit into your space, so that each piece truly is unique. Of course, if you'd prefer we incorporate some off-the-shelf items, that's fine too.
WHAT IS THE COMPLETE INTERIOR DESIGN PROCESS?
Meet with the designer to guage whether your personalities fit. This is also your chance to interview the designer. Ask if she's able to meet your brief. If you don't have a clear project objective, your designer will prompt you with questions during the consultation to form an initial brief. It's recommended you submit council applications + attain approvals before you reach this stage, (unless you plan on engaging a designer to provide detailed drawings to accompany your application). It's imperative you trust your designer + have faith in their professional abilities as they work with you to achieve your fundamental objectives. Ultimately, it's the designer's mission to produce a space that considers all main design principles as well as your lifestyle, budget, constraints, brief + style. It's therefore vital to the success of the project that you're in alignment. Equally vital is for all decision makers (including those with a 'happy wife, happy life' moto) to be present at each consultation. That way, everyone's on the same page.
2. DESIGN BRIEF / FEE PROPOSAL
Once you've established your objectives with the designer, she'll construct a design proposal (which forms the official brief), covering a summary of the project, aims + objectives, any major essentials, time restraints, budget parameters + design fee. It'll also include a scope of works so that project stages + milestones, list of deliverables, chart of client + designer responsibilities, inclusions + exclusions, design fees by stage + billing schedule plus general trading terms + conditions are clearly outlined. This should give you a good comprehension of what's involved at the designer level + how the fee figure was reached.
3. SCHEMATIC DESIGN
Sketch ideas will be explored + inspiration images collated to develop a loose design direction. Following this, your designer will commence into the development phase.
4. SPACIAL PLANNING
This involves lots of mapping + exploring how each space will be used. It refers mainly to the furniture layout + as a result, lighting, bulkheads + plumbing will be some of the key considerations when engaging in a complete design service.
5. CONCEPT DESIGN
This is where we consider finishes, colours, final layout etc. You may be presented with mood boards as well as floor plans, elevations, perspective drawings + 3D images to help convey the designer's vision. (Stages 1 - 5 are included in a Concept Design Service).
6. DESIGN REALISATION
Once the concept has been approved, selections are then made + bespoke elements created to realise the design. This also means the sourcing of fabrics, furniture, art, objet d'art + all the finer details that make up the designed space.
If construction is required, this should commence here. All previous steps in the process should be established prior to construction to ensure the designer/architect + builder can work in harmony with one another. This is essential for a seamless build. It is vital the designer be on site whenever possible during construction. This is a crucial part of the process + your budget needs to allow for this. The precise installation of joinery + architectural surfaces is paramount as it's such a large + costly component. Being on site means the designer is available to the builder + trades for immediate response or exploration of any challenges along the way. Additionally, the designer is able to oversee the project providing quality control + eliminating any potential misinterpretations.
8. INSTALLATION / FURNISHING
This is where the magic happens - where everything comes together + is equally as important as the former stages. Meticulous installation of window treatments, delivery of furniture + soft furnishings, furniture placement, styling, art installation is imperative to achieve the desired outcome. You would be advised to allow in your budget for your designer to oversee all installation + deliveries, again for quality control + efficiency.
9. REVEAL / REVIEW
Once all pieces are delivered + installed, it's highly advisable to allow for your designer to conduct a thorough clean + cross check to ensure all items are in place for the final reveal. Upon your first experience with your newly designed space, your designer will appraise the space with you to ensure the final result meets the brief.
With your permission, your designer will arrange a convenient time to return to the property to photograph the project.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONCEPT + COMPLETE DESIGN SERVICE?
CONCEPT DESIGN - This literally means conceptual design direction. Your designer will provide concept sketches + offer ideas for your project. This is typical of DIY enthusiasts wanting a clear design direction prior to engaging their own trades or self-build projects. Concept design includes steps 1 - 5 of the design process.
COMPLETE DESIGN SERVICE - Typical of retail + commercial projects in aiding DA's, or specifying multi-residential developments, or home owners wanting the complete package. Your designer will provide not just a concept, but detailed specifications to see your project to completion. Full design service includes steps 1 - 10 of the design process.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTERIOR DECORATING, INTERIOR DESIGN + INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE?
This is a question frequently asked. And there's a huge difference.
INTERIOR DECORATION - includes furnishing or adorning of a space with such items as scatter cushions, wall coverings, window furnishings, home décor items etc.
INTERIOR DESIGN - Is the analysis of a space + its purpose by combining art + science to understand how humans will occupy it. A designer creates interior spaces fit for purpose by exploring + applying the design principals.
INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE - Architectural interior design (or interior architecture) is a discipline that combines interior design with architectural knowledge to create indoor + outdoor non-structural details. An interior architect creates designs for all aspects of an interior space, often bespoke, such as doors, windows, walls, and furnishings.
WHAT TYPE OF COMMERCIAL DESIGN DO YOU SPECIALISE IN?
Also known as contract design, Belle Abode Interiors offers commercial interior design innovation to retail boutiques + showrooms (design, store planning + fitout), hospitality (cafés + bars), boutique luxury hotels + guest houses, lobby areas + common spaces, as well as custom-built luxury motor yachts.
HOW MUCH DOES AN INTRODUCTORY DESIGN CONSULTATION COST?
The initial consultation (on site if possible) is free of charge + free of obligation.
This 'interview' is for both client + designer to see if the personality fit is favourable. It's also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about the designer's experience, operations, capabilities, comprehension of your brief + whether your project fits into both parties schedules + expectations. No design advice will be offered during this meeting.If you're in agreeance to progress following the initial consult, the designer will prepare a proposal outlining fees + billing periods, project stages, estimated timeframes, scope of works as well as any exclusions or limitations. The cost of this proposal is $450 AUD. This fee is valid for both concept + full design service. The designer's hourly rate is likely to be applied thereafter unless (for large scale projects) an agreement is made for a fixed or percentage fee.
WHAT IS YOUR PRINCIPAL DESIGN RATE?
HOURLY RATE - $150 AUD (including GST)
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FIXED FEE + PERCENTAGE FEE?
FIXED FEE - The fee owing to the designer, calculated by the designer, as an estimation of the time involved to complete the project according to the brief.
PERCENTAGE FEE - The fee owing to the designer, calculated as a percentage of the total contract sum, tendered, executed or estimated as applicable.
Both fee structures may be applicable + applied at different stages of the project, agreed prior to commencement.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY IN DESIGN FEES FOR THE OVERALL PROJECT?
As you can imagine, this varies depending on the scale of each project. The principal designer's hourly rate is $150 AUD. For larger scaled projects you may wish to negotiate a fixed fee, based on the total construction costs, or a percentage fee. Either way, it's advisable the client identify + devulge a clear overall budget to the designer so that a realistic design fee can be established.
DO YOU OFFER PACKAGES?
Yes. Please contact us to enquire about our current package offers.
DO YOU OFFER YOUR SERVICES ON A CASUAL BASIS?
Yes. This is quite common for residential clients requiring a designer for a portion of their home. You may have an area, or room, that's in need of attention, or a newly extended section of the home. We're happy to offer an hourly rate in this instance. It's not uncommon for our clients to want to continue to enhance the remainder of their homes, so that the entire space flows cohesively. If budget is a key consideration, advise your designer you'd like to approach the project in stages.
DO I NEED TO PREPARE A BRIEF FOR THE DESIGNER BEFORE OUR CONSULTATION?
It's highly recommended you approach the initial consultation with a clear understanding of what you wish to achieve for your project. Ideally you'll provide the designer with a list of your must-haves as well as a wish list, any background information the designer should be informed of to understand the scope of the project, the financial + time constraints, as well as a succinct list of deliverables. An emailed brief prior to this consultation is preferred, otherwise a list can be constructed during the consultation, prompted by questions.
DOES THIS 'BRIEF' NEED TO INCLUDE A DESIGN DIRECTION + PREFERENCES?
No. This can be explored in the next design phase. However, it would be beneficial to start exploring your general interior style. This can be done by browsing our Pinterest page + creating your own board with the images that appeal to you most. Visual tools are effective in trying to convey your likes (or dislikes, often easier to define). As well, by this stage you should have a good feel for the designer's previous body of work + scale of projects by exploring their website + other online directories or social media sites. You can explore ours on pinterest, houzz, instagram + facebook.
DOES BELLE ABODE INTERIORS HAVE A TRADEMARK STYLE?
No. Belle Abode Interiors is all about creating beautiful spaces that express your personality, lifestyle + brand (should the project be one other than residential). This is acheived by cleverly executing original ideas + synchronising form + function. This means we do not duplicate or impose the same design style into every project we undertake. We are proudly a bespoke design practice + work methodically with your brief to accomplish your project goals. We apply the 'basic design principles' to each project no matter the style or design direction.
DO I HAVE TO ORGANISE MY OWN BUILDER + TRADES?
No. You are more than welcome to suggest your own builder or tradespeople. However, Belle Abode Interiors has their own preferred builders + team of tradespeople who work cohesively together. Depending on the scale of the project, you may wish to request the project is managed by a foreman or project manager, though generally our builder manages the build + contractors. It's paramount both builder + designer are in sync throughout the entire project. If you'd prefer your own builder, we suggest a meeting with all parties to evaluate the fit.
For further enquiries, please contact us
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Design Principles, Process, Full vs Concept Design, Decorator vs Designer + Fee Structures