At Peppermint, our goal is to make the design/build process an enjoyable one for our clients. Experience has taught us that transparency and a knowledge of standard procedures help clients feel comfortable for the duration of the project. Keep in mind your project or level of service may or may not include all of these steps, but this should give you a general idea of how we work and how your project will proceed.
The design consultation is the launching pad for every new project. During this first meeting, we will discuss the scope of your project, your goals and your budget. We’ll ask questions to learn about your tastes, your lifestyle, and how you intend to use the space. Please make sure all decision-makers are at this meeting and budget at least an hour. If you have any existing architectural drawings or other parties who will be working on your project, now is the time to share them.
During the consultation, we’ll cover:
The scope of your project in detail; this will include all the rooms involved in the Project Proposal, how you intend to use each room, and your ideas and goals for each space.
Your tastes, preferences, likes, dislikes, style and lifestyle; I’ll ask lots of questions, and we’ll look at pictures to focus in on your tastes.
The B Word: No one likes to discuss it, but we must. It’s best to set a budget — we prefer to call it an investment — and work out your finances before you begin the project. If you are unsure of where to begin, I will work with you to determine your goals and set a realistic budget for your space. Design fees are calculated separately from the budget.
Design process and Letter of Agreement: We will review the design process in detail and go over a sample Letter of Agreement so you know how things will proceed every step of the way.
Contact person assigned; if there is more than one decision-making adult in the household, you will assign one to be the contact person for the project. This person will be named in the Letter of Agreement as having authority to make decisions and sign off on work orders on behalf of both parties. This will also be the person I will have direct contact with and receive direction from during the course of the project. Because it is not always possible to meet with both parties at the same time, the contact person will be responsible for communicating any ideas or decisions to his or her partner.
Questions or concerns; we will address any questions you might have about our company or your project.
design proposal Signed & advance received
Shortly after (or during) the initial consultation, you will receive a Design Fee Proposal. The Proposal will detail the scope of the project, estimated design fees, estimated project timeline, payment schedule, various policies and procedures, and designer and client responsibilities. Once the proposal is signed, an advance on design services is due equal to 50% of the estimated design fees. If there are two decision-making adults in the household, both parties will be required to sign the proposal. Once the signed proposal and advance are received, we will move forward to the next step.
Site Measure and Vendor meetings
This day or days, depending on the project scope, occurs as soon as possible after the design proposal is signed. We'll take detailed measurements and photographs of all the spaces involved in your project (this may even take place during the consultation). Where appropriate, we'll also arrange to have trades people who will be working on your project come in and take their own measurements for estimating purposes. We will try to schedule as many as possible at the same time to minimize the inconvenience. Over the course of the project, we will bring in any additional trades, as necessary.
We will develop a floor plan based on our measurements and begin the design development. This starts with selecting a color scheme and sourcing fabrics, furniture, fixtures and materials needed. Basically, this is where the concept comes together and all the details are considered. At the end, you will be presented with carefully edited selections that represent the best choices for your space. There may be several conversations and/or meetings during the design development to refine options and discuss costs and timing. Creating the design scheme is an important, time-consuming process and can require several weeks, depending on the scope of your project. We welcome coordination and collaboration with other parties involved in your project.
Once the design scheme is ready, a Presentation Meeting is scheduled. All decision-makers must be at this meeting. We will go through the design in detail and you will be presented with fabrics, drawings, photos and samples for each element of the design. For some elements, you’ll be presented with two or three options. The cost or estimated cost for each item will also be presented at this time. One revision is included and must be requested at this time. If there are items that need to be re-sourced, we’ll discuss the steps involved with that process and schedule a Final Presentation. Any adjustments to the budget due to revisions are agreed upon at this point. Timely approval of the design scheme is crucial for maintaining accurate pricing and ensuring the availability of some design elements (fabrics, art or antiques, for example). The Presentation Meeting is also where the Letter of Agreement is signed and the remaining 50% of the estimated design fee is paid.
Presentation, Sign-off & letter of agreement signed
If project management is included in your project, this is where it begins! We develop a time table for purchasing and ordering, work to be done by trades, and final installation. This schedule will be adjusted along the way to accommodate unforeseen circumstances. Please be aware that most projects take several weeks, or months, to complete; the lead time on custom pieces alone can be 6-12 weeks or more.
Before any vendors are hired or items are purchased on your behalf, you will receive a work order that details the work to be done or item to be purchased along with all known associated costs. Work orders are the safety net to make sure we stay on the same page throughout the design execution and nothing gets purchased without your approval. Work orders must be signed and payment made in full when the work order is approved.
Work Orders & Purchasing
If there is work to be done by the trades, we schedule this to begin as soon as possible. If project management is included in your project, we will manage the scheduling and oversee the work to ensure that the design is executed properly and with the highest quality workmanship and adheres to the timeline set forth.
Vendor Work Begins
This step takes place as we’re nearing the end. We manage the project and stay on top of the details throughout the design process, cross-checking to make sure work by vendors is underway or has been satisfactorily completed, concerns have been addressed, furniture ordered, all payments made, schedule is on track, and no detail overlooked. We’ll schedule a brief meeting to review anything left outstanding or any changes that need to be made. For larger projects, a budget review is often required. This is especially true if the scope has widened significantly or there have been change requests by the client.
Follow-up & Budget Review
This is where the vision becomes reality. All work by trades has been completed. Now the furniture is delivered, window treatments are installed, rugs laid, accessories placed and art hung. If it can be arranged, I have it all done on the same day so you get that WOW effect when you come home.
Styling is what elevates your space to magazine-quality status. It refers to adding those finishing touches and follows a different process than the rest of the design. Before the installation, we'll choose various accessories for your space that haven’t already been approved. This could include art, lamps, pillows, throws, vases, candles, and other accessories. On installation day, items will be placed throughout your space. We'll provide you with the cost of each item and you’ll have a day or two to decide what you want to keep. You’ll pay for what’s staying, and I’ll return anything you don’t want.
Installation & Styling
A punch list consists of all the little things at the end of a project that are left outstanding or need attention (such as paint touch-ups or a missing lamp). We’ll go through each room together and compile the list. We'll arrange to have each thing on the list addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. If there is something that’s not right, don’t worry, we’ll make it right.
This step is the catch-all for the “while we’re at it, we might as well…” things that get added to the to-do list throughout the project. These items will be handled in conjunction with the original project but will be budgeted and invoiced under a separate Agreement as an Addendum to the original Letter of Agreement. No additional work will be started without a signed Agreement. Wherever possible, additional work will be fit in to the schedule to maximize time and materials.
When everything is complete, and you’re satisfied with your space, we’ll get together to close everything out and present you with your final invoice. We would also love to have feedback on your experience and graciously ask for any reviews and referrals. We can also discuss any additional projects you may have in mind. We will also discuss a convenient day to schedule a professional photographer to shoot pictures of the project. If we intend to have these pictures published in a local or national publication, we will discuss that with you and determine if you want your name disclosed or not.