Implementing a Project

I'm off to another client installation today.  We're doing a living room & a dining room.  My clients will be gone for the day & they'll come home to the completed spaces.  Here's what the house looked like before: (My clients didn't buy anything new when they moved in.)



Over the years, I've changed how my processes work.  (I may be forever changing, as the more I learn, the more things change.)  One of the things that we do now that I feel is really important is doing our installations all at once.  We have almost everything that needs to go into our clients' homes shipped to a receiving warehouse where the goods are inspected and stored until installation day.  (We used to have items individually shipped to clients which can be inconvenient for them and can also result in clients being nervous about the items because they only see one part of the plan and they worry it won't be right.)  With the single installation, clients get to come home to the house exactly as it should be and don't need to use their imagination to envison the final result.  (Plus, it's a bit like Christmas after all of that waiting!!)

Anyway, after the previous post, I got a few questions about how long projects typically take from start to finish so I thought I'd share a bit of the process with you.  From the point where we "survey" a client's home, it takes about one month for us to create a plan for them.  (Obviously this can be done in a much shorter amount of time, but I really prefer to let the room sink in with me.  It takes this time to source interesting pieces & to shop around and rework floorplans.  The final presentation itself takes a few days to put together and this includes, budgeting, final floorplans, design boards, etc., but I really like to mull a project over & get immersed in it.  Also, in our projects I often leave "holes" for items we plan to find along the way if we know it needs to be a one-of-a-kind piece and we haven't come accross it yet.)   Once the clients approve everything presented (this can take anywhere from 1 day to a few weeks) we begin actually implementing the design:  scheduling contractors, ordering products and shopping for one-of-a-kinds and artwork. 



{Some of the fabrics used in today's design}

Like I mentioned, this "waiting period" typically lasts 2-4 months (with the norm being 3) when we're using custom goods, which we pretty much always do.  As anyone in the industry can tell you though, there are often backorders which can delay projects & rearrange your plans completely. 

At the onset of our projects, when we place all of the orders (this can include anything from custom upholstery to casegoods to antiques) we typically have to wait anywhere from two- four months for everything to be made.  (And some items can also be much longer...  A custom rug can take almost a year just to give you an idea.)  It takes patience, but is always totally worth it in the end. 

As the months tick down, I begin collecting and purchasing unique accessories & items that I think will be perfect for my clients.  The night before installation, my van is FILLED with them.

(me, on installation day ;)
image from here


On installation day, everything is delivered & placed in the home.  We hang artwork & window treatments and the electrician installs lighting.  Unless it's a very high area, I prefer to install artwork myself.  I make sure everything is just right.

I start "playing" with the accessories, which is how I prefer it.  I typically use about 75- 80% of the items I've brought to try out.   Sometimes I know exactly where an items will go when I find it and other times I just know it will work in the room but I'm not sure where yet.  When my clients come home, these items are a total surprise.  They receive a price list of all of the items and can buy whichever ones they like.  (Since most of the items are vintage items & one-of-a-kinds, I can't return them unless I took them out on approval, but that's okay because I only buy items I truly love.)  It might sound risky, but for now, it's the way that's really been working for me.  (And most clients want everything.)

Anyway, time for me to run, but have a great day & I'll be sure to share after photos soon!!
  

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

28 comments:

alison@MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Great insight, Lauren! As someone who hopes to do what you do one day, I'm always so appreciative of your openness. Can't wait to see the results!

Mary said...

Based on the fabrics, I know the room is going to look great. Lucky clients!
When you share the reveal, I hope you share where the fabrics are from. I'm particularly interested in the green fabric.

christine {bijouandboheme} said...

I loved this- as someone hoping to one day get into design for career, I love learning more about the process..thanks for sharing and I can't wait to see that room come together.

Emily A. Clark said...

Lauren--thanks for taking the time to post this. Love hearing how things work at LLI. :) I'm loving the idea of one install at the end more and more. My problem is having the transportation I need to haul everything. There's only so much I can fit in my mini-van :) Thanks again. Have a great week!

Kristy @ I Design Love said...

I love to hear your design process and what works best for you. I totally agree with you when you say to install everything at once. People sometimes will see a sofa or chair and think oh my gosh is this what I ordered, but once everything is in place it all comes together. I love seeing your before and afters by the way :)

Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

The clients are sure to be thrilled when they come home today! Janell

Wives said...

cant wait to see the finished product(s)!!!

under spanish moss said...

Great to get some insight into your design process. How exciting for your clients. We can't wait to see the space.
XO Angela and Renee

under spanish moss said...

Great to get some insight into your design process. How exciting for your clients. We can't wait to see the space.
XO Angela and Renee

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

Do you also incorporate personal items (ie: artwork, family heirlooms, photos,etc)? in the design as well?

It sounds exciting...and like you have a pretty good system. I bet the months prior to decorating (while making and prepping) go by too quickly sometimes.

Can't wait to see the afters on this one...
Pat

Kristen said...

I read your guest post on Emily A. Clark and my heart jumped when I read that you went to JMU, too! Having moved away from Virginia, it's a rare thing for me to meet someone who attended, let alone has heard of, the great JMU. What college apartment is your photo from? I lived in Southview Apartments.

Kristen
Turning a House into a Home

CHIC HABITAT INTERIORS said...

Wonderful post! As someone just starting out, I greatly appreciate your openness. I've considered warehousing and installation all at once, but haven't worked out the logistics of it yet. Yet I completely agree with you that it is the way to go - and the direction I will head! Thanks again, cannot wait to see the final result!

diane@onlinefabricstore said...

I also like to deliver and install everything in one day. It is just as much fun for me as it is for my clients to see it all come together and I actually have people cry when they see it. One client recently said to me that now she could entertain in her home and I thought that was so wonderful. After all, how sad not to be able to entertain in your own home! Looking forward to seeing the final reveal.

Brooke said...

Just found you from House of Fifty where your stenciled fabric was featured...I love that idea!! Thanks for some serious inspiration- I'm a new follower! :)
www.inside-outdesign.blogspot.com

LiveLikeYou said...

Love how you explain things so perfectly-it helps me get my own mind in order!!
Your fabrics in House of Fifty are stunning!!! What a nice line, I'm guessing a huge success!! xoxo

Molly @ The Nesting Game said...

I concur! This post and your last one (where you showed "The Board") are very helpful to me. I have a home blog and have just taken on my first client--a co-worker's new home. I really appreciate you sharing your process. Now I don't feel like I'm completely flying by the seat of my pants (even though I totally am...). Can't wait to see your big reveal! I'm sure your clients will love it.

Lauren -HCP said...

Thanks for sharing the real behind the scenes:-)
have a great day!
Lauren

Windlost said...

Lauren, a quick note - checked your last post - that client living room is absolutely stunning. I love all the details. I love architectural drawings and traditional, so I found it so heavenly!!! I love the settee and that fabric and the way you organized the black frames in a row and the armchairs. Everything is perfect. I do wish you were here. As much as I think I know about decorating, I know you could whip my many "sorta" styles into shape and pull my house together. :)

xo Terri

Marianne {Style For Living} said...

I find it so much better to do the install in one day too! I have had things delivered when they arrived in the past and it does make the clients a bit nervous without seeing the entire picture. Wonderful tips as always, Lauren.

Lauren said...

The English arm sofa is by vanguard and is so comfortable.

Someone asked about eng arm sofas indoor 1500 and I don't know of any. I think pottery barn might do one for around 1800 or 2000 though.

Good luck! :)
Xoxo,
Lauren

Ps- coffee table is by worlds away and wooden lamp is shades of light

Lauren said...

Oops! That was supposed to be on the previous post! :)

Vintage Home said...

I love installation day...it is a big treat for the home owner to come home to it all DONE!

Chedva @Rooms and Words said...

I love reading about your process! Good luck with the install, and looking forward to seeing the photos.

EDYTA and CO. INTERIOR DESIGN said...

Can't wait to see the end result!! :-D

Sarah MacMillan {Prairie Perch} said...

Fantastic tips! I hope you'll continue to share more.

ellen said...

Thanks for sharing the timing. I'm neck deep in a project right now and while we have been laying out giant (for us) sums of money all I have seen up until this week was demolition, which is not all that encouraging.

hollyG said...

I found this so interesting - thanks for sharing your process.

Jilly said...

I found a very great and beautiful chandelier in your blog, well, that is in first photograph. It is so pretty and gorgeous, I have same in black with pink colour.
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