ML Interiors Group’s Luxury Interior Design Process (Part 2)

Two weeks ago, I shared Phases 1 and 2 of our luxury interior design process. These cover the Research and Design Development phases of a project. Both are exciting phases for our clients, so if you didn’t read that post yet, go take a look there first!

Today, we’re going to look at the next two steps in the process: the Procurement Phase and the Installation Phase. Come take a look…

 

Phase 3: Procurement

The procurement phase, depending on the project and how custom or semi-custom it is, can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

This phase is really all about serious tracking and lots of confirming. Confirming receipt of the order, confirming the correct dye lot is available, confirming shipping dates…tracking when it is shipped, tracking when it is received at the professional receiver…you get it, right?!

The procurement phase of our luxury interior design process actually warranted its own blog post, but to give you an idea of how complicated this really is, here are the steps for the procure one custom sofa…

Luxury Interior Design Process for Custom Furniture

  • Week 1: You approve the design of the custom sofa.
  • Week 2: We place an order for the sofa with the manufacturer, including all specifications and drawings, and confirming the lead time. You pay 50% of the purchase (or whatever the vendor requires). We place an order for the fabric to be shipped to you. We contact you with the estimated date of installation.
  • Week 3-4: We wait for the Customer’s Own Material (COM) to arrive. We approve the COM or address any concerns (dye lot, color variation, etc.).
  • Week 4-5: If no adjustments with the fabric are needed, we ship the COM to the manufacturer of the sofa.
  • Week 5-6: We confirm receipt of the COM at the manufacturer.
  • Week 6-10: The manufacturer is building the sofa.
  • Week 10: You pay the balance due. We arrange for shipment of the finished sofa to our professional receiver. We notify the receiver of the sofa receipt, side-mark, etc. and arrange for a turnkey installation date. We confirm the installation date with you.
  • Week 11: The sofa ships We arrange receipt of the sofa with the receiver.
  • Week 12-13: The sofa is received at the professional receiver. The sofa is inspected and photos are sent to you for approval. The sofa is cataloged and stored until installation.
  • Week 14: We deliver and install the beautiful, custom sofa!

This is for one sofa. Yes, you read that correctly! So, imagine the workload for an entire household of furniture, art, and accessories! Custom (even semi-custom) doesn’t come quickly, but it does make for a luxury interior design and is well worth the wait.

 

ML-Interiors-Group_Dallas-Texas_Interior-Design_What-to-Expect-from-Each-Phase-of-the-Luxury-ML-Experience_Southcrest-Bedroom-Photo

Actual Photo of #ProjectSouthcrest Completed Master Bedroom

Phase 4: Installation

Once we have as many items as possible, generally we do a big installation over the course of a day (or two). We get the entire team to the home to install every item, large and small, and it is a mad dash to the finish, truly transforming the space in a short amount of time.

(Although at this point you know that each phase leading up to the reveal plays a critical role in the installation running smoothly…since no part of the install would happen without all of the detailed research, development, design, and planning that went into the project.)

Occasionally, we do deliver in a couple of different phases, just so that you are not paying for excess storage fees if we’re waiting on a few lingering items. Or, maybe we do one day of big item installation and we do a second phase of accessorizing. Every project is different.

We love the drama and excitement of a full-team, bustling installation day that leads up to a jaw-dropping reveal for you.

 

ML-Interiors-Group_Dallas-Texas_Interior-Design_What-to-Expect-from-Each-Phase-of-the-Luxury-ML-Experience_Southcrest-Dining-Room-Photo

Actual Photo of #ProjectSouthcrest Completed Dining Room

Overall Timeline of an ML Interiors Design Project

I know it would be amazing if I could give you a one-size-fits-all timeline for every project, but there are just too many determining factors, the most important of which are the size, scope, style, and your budget.

One of the things that a designer does is to look at the entire room/space/home as a whole and back into the design. What does that mean?!

Example of Luxury Interior Design Process & Timeline

Let’s just say you have an average living room and it’s taking us 2-4 weeks to create the design. But, let’s say we find everything that we want for the room, and then at the last minute, we change the side tables because we find out that you wanted something bigger…

So then we source larger side tables, but then the side table is wobbly because the front two legs are on the rug and the back two legs are off…shoot! (There goes the lamp, there goes the cup of coffee, there goes the glass of wine. Not good!)

So then we need to get a larger rug, but if we get a larger rug, darn it! We just blew the budget. Meaning we need a larger rug, but we have to find a different rug than the original style because we have to make those side tables work.

You see what’s happening here. It’s a decorating domino effect. See how all of those little details can add up to varying timelines? Once we can talk about your project’s details, we’ll be able to nail down a pretty good estimate with time for trouble-shooting built in.

 

ML-Interiors-Group_Dallas-Texas_Interior-Design_What-to-Expect-from-Each-Phase-of-the-Luxury-ML-Experience_Southcrest-Office-Photo

Actual Photo of #ProjectSouthcrest Completed Home Office

 

Final Thoughts

No matter the timeline, though, the fact remains that any good designer should be able to provide you with an accurate estimated deliverable time that they will be able to share the design with you. And if you are working with us and our luxury interior design process, we bring you a single solution with a detailed timeline that accounts for the budget, aesthetic, function, family needs, lifestyle, and all that jazz.

So, if you’re ready for our team to design a space that tells the love story of your family…one that is as beautiful as it is functional, blended perfectly into a design of livable luxury – give us a call. We can’t wait to walk you through the ML Experience, transforming your home in a collaborative and exciting way.

And if that space is a kitchen, you can download our Guide to Prepping for a Kitchen Remodel here.

XOXO,
Michelle Lynne

A Letter to the Interior Design Enthusiast

Dear interior design enthusiast,

I know you… I’ve BEEN you! Passionate and excited about interior design with a PURPOSE. We don’t just watch – and judge – design TV shows (cough cough HGTV), religiously follow design bloggers, scour Pinterest for the PERFECT concept or idea AND then do some serious digging on Houzz – we LIVE FOR SOME BEAUTIFUL DESIGN!! And then it HAPPENS. We ask ourselves, “Do we want to start our own interior design business?”

Where are you in your “interior design enthusiast life cycle”? Are you considering taking the leap in 2020 and pursuing your passion? Are you a few years in and still trying to find the light? Are you just comfortable and living the dream? Or are you soooooo far in that you need to shake things up?!

My #1 Question: Are you running your interior design business or is it running you?

(Believe it or not, you actually have a say in the matter!)

Running a business is hard. Running an interior design business is even harder.

Believe me – I know. I spent 20 years running 3 different multi-million dollar businesses in 3 different industries before I started my design firm.

The marketing. The service options. The pricing. And that’s to say nothing of the actual design work – or the clients’ emotions!

Interior design has a ton of moving parts. It’s easy to see why so many designers just give up and why so many others aren’t happy with the life they’ve created for themselves with their business.

That’s right where I was not long ago. That is until I decided I’d had enough and was ready to make some BIG changes in my design business, my mindset, and my life.

Let’s take your business to the next level in 2020!

[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://www.designedforthecreativemind.com/early-bird” text=”SIGN UP FOR YOUR EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TODAY!” ]

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The Secret To Getting Clients To Happily Sign Your Contract

So you’ve met with a prospective client, outlined your project and they’re ready to sign on: Congrats!

But before you simply send off the contract to them via email and pop the champagne, there’s one more step you need to take: Walking through the contract face to face. 

Back in the day, I used to put contracts together and then email them off to the client, saying give us a call if you have questions, or just sign it and send it back.

And then …. nothing. Crickets.

The silence would drive me crazy as I sat there thinking about the money the project would bring in and the amazing design I wanted to create.

The silence happened for any number of reasons — the client didn’t get around to it or didn’t think it was that important, or he or she needed to make sure their spouse looked it over … or they fell over in their chair because they didn’t realize the design fee was going to be so high and thought they could get the entire project, including a kitchen renovation, for that amount of money (ha!)

That’s why it is key to deliver the contract face to face or with a video chat service such as Zoom, Loom or Skype if you can’t set up something in person. If you have to do a simple phone call, that’s also fine, but either way, I always wait to send the clients the contract while they’re on the call with us — that way I know they’re receiving it.

And this gives you the opportunity to make sure they understand all the details of the contract, what exactly you will be providing, how much it will cost, and when everything will be complete.

If you can’t get the contract signed in person, there are a number of ways to do electronic signatures, including some places that offer a few free ones each month. I typically use Adobe Sign, but another one to try is HelloSign.

6 Things You Need In Your Interior Design Client Contracts

Many interior designers operate without a contract, or just use a simple one-pager.

To put it bluntly: That is just a huge, massive mistake.

With the amount of money we spend, the amount of time we’re in clients’ homes and the amount of things that can go wrong during a design or renovation, you need to cover your … let’s just say, assets.

A contract not only protects you, it also protects the client: A good one clearly spells out the responsibilities on both sides, boiling down the specifics of what the client is getting, how much it will cost and when everything will be finished.

And if you make a whoopsies and forget to deliver something that is in the contract, the client can easily refer back to it and say, hey, you forgot this, allowing you to make it up to them by either providing that detail ASAP or even writing them back a check for the applicable portion of the design fee.

 

6 things to include in an interior design client contract:

Scope of Work addendum

With your contract, you can add on a separate document called a Scope of Work that becomes an addendum to your contract. This spells out all your deliverables. Basically, if it’s not on the scope of work, it’s not getting done.

This protects against scope-creep, aka when a client says, “Oh can you also do this and this and this” in addition to what the contract says. You can, but you need to create a new Scope of Work to protect yourself — and your client.

Flat fee pricing and payments

A contract also allows you to set a schedule for payments for your design fee, which of course is a flat fee pricing model, right? (If not, here is a gratuitous plug: I teach this content in my course.) This payment schedule lets you to spell out when all the payments are due and any caveats.

I generally do 50/50 payments with half due when the contract is signed and the other half right before the design is complete. But that’s flexible and negotiable depending on the size of the design fee.

I sometimes break down larger design fees into four payments (and boy, do I love those projects). And sometimes the client wants to put a little caveat to pay the final 10% after the full design is delivered. I know my team is going to do an amazing job, and I always feel comfortable adding that.

Liability language

A contract also protects you from a client coming back a year after the final design is installed and complaining they no longer like something in the design — even something as small as pillows, which they loved when they first got them.

I add language to my contracts to say that I don’t take any liability or offer any warranty beyond whatever the manufacturer offers and that I don’t take any liability for the contractor’s work.

And I have an end date to the contract, with options to extend if needed.

Protect your profitability

A contract also secures profitability. In my pricing structure, I build in a variety of different ways to make a profit in the overall design fee for the project, such as including a margin on the sale of furniture.

If a client decides to go outside that scope of work and purchase furniture on their own, I have language to tell them that I’m not going to help with placing the order or trouble shooting anything related to that piece, and I also include an additional charge. Both these things protect my profit margin (and my sanity).

Cover the unexpected

Having a contract gives you a way to cover the unexpected things that pop up from that client not liking a pillow a year later to the client wanting to purchase furniture from a different vendor I don’t work with and everything in between.

Literally all the details I have added to my contracts over the years have actually happened. I just write it up and send it off to my lawyer, who confirms it and sends it back. That means I don’t have to deal with that little — or big — unexpected drama the next time it pops up.
Keeping things professional
Interior design is really a personal service, and we spend a lot of time in and out of clients homes, sometimes for months and months. Oftentimes, friendships with clients develop as a result, but the contract helps prevent lines from getting blurred in the process.

When this happens, it’s easy to refer back to the contract to make sure that not only is the business not getting taken advantage of, but that I also don’t inadvertently take advantage of the client either, simply because of the close relationship.

Basically, it helps keep me out of awkward situations.

Photography preferences

I like to photograph our work and use it in an online portfolio as well as social media. But not every client wants that.

My contract mentions plans for photographs after the design is complete, and allows clients to opt-out when they’re not interested whether it’s because they’re a celebrity or just really private.

It’s another way the contract protects the client, and it lets me know that any future work for that client will not be photographed.

If you’re ready to dive deeper into the business of interior design, my online, self-paced course will be going live next month. And I’ll even be offering participants in the course three different versions of sample contracts you can download, make your own and get your attorney to sign off on. You can check out all the details and get on the waitlist here.

The 5 Questions You Must Ask A Potential Client

Our interior design process begins in studio with a free Meet & Greet. This is an opportunity to visit with the prospective client, understand their wants and needs, and share with them how we operate. There are many questions to ask, but 5 most important ones must happen in this first conversation.

This visit is the opportunity for both parties to be sure the personalities align and also watch for any red flags. Interior design is such a personal service, it is imperative to ensure everybody involved has a mutual respect and trust. We encourage our prospective clients to ask questions, and we also pepper the conversation with our own. Amongst the many, there are 5 questions you must ask a potential client to ensure expectations are set and met.

Question 1: How did you find me?

Or where did you hear about me? I always want to know if it is a referral, so I can thank the person who pointed them in my direction. If not a direct referral, I want to know what marketing efforts are working.

Entry Way Decor | Entry Way Design | MLIG | Dallas Interior Design | Highland Park

Follow #ProjectMockingbirdLane on Instagram to see more of this project.

Question 2: Have You Worked With A Designer Before?

I learned this one the hard way. A client who had worked with “many designers and just hadn’t found one that fit”. Yah. Huge red flag in retrospect. Most prospective clients don’t have this story, but it is still important to find out if they have had experience with a designer because we don’t all operate the same. It is key to ensure that your practices align with their expectations.

Remodeled fireplace | Design by ML Interiors Group | Dallas Interior Designer

Follow #ProjectBuckinghamDrive on Instagram to see more of this project

 
Question 3: Where is the project located?

Here in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, the client could live 5 minutes or 55 minutes away from our design studio. The geographic details are important to considering whether or not to take on the project simply from a logistical standpoint as well as how much time will be involved in the commute. Drive time is design downtime (other than making phone calls) and needs to be factored into the overall scope and design fee.

Rustic wood Coffee table with blue and jute area rug, and coffee table book decor. | ML Interiors Group

Follow #ProjectStampedeLane on Instagram to see more of this project

Question 4: What is your timeframe?

More often than not, our prospective clients do not know how long the interior design process takes. HGTV has created an expectation of almost immediate gratification with our industry, and it is likely necessary to undo the “magic of television” and give a dose of (real) reality.

Our full-service interior design process has sixteen steps of sanity that we follow to ensure each project goes off without a hitch. This includes a lot of front end work such as questionnaires, interviews and lots of photos and measurements before any decisions are made.

When clients have exceptionally tight timelines we provide the option of expediting the project, with an additional fee attached to the quick turnaround. Or we share the actual process and re-align their timeline to fit within our standard operating procedures.

It is imperative that the client understands the importance of our processes and procedures to see the project through. When a client understands that our practices are for their benefit, it makes the entire process much more enjoyable for everybody!

Home Office with purple nail head detailed chair, leopard print lumbar pillow, gold detailed table lamp, and snake skin table top. | ML Interiors Group

Follow #ProjectMillerAve on Instagram to see more of this project

Question 5: What is your budget?

I usually save this question for last. Until now, I’ve been working on building trust and being straightforward about details that are pretty easy to address. For most people who have walked through our door for the first time, they have no idea how much this whole project is going to cost and it’s up to me to set their expectations.

None of this information is going to bubble to the surface unless you’re asking the right questions.

Talking about the budget should not be uncomfortable…what is uncomfortable is trying to work design into an unrealistic budget and hoping praying the client will be happy with the results. So have a frank conversation about your design fees and how they are separate from the purchasing budget. Explain that the investment in the furniture will result in years of happiness and that construction costs also need to be factored in.

If you’re not sure about costs, tell them that you’ll do a little research before spending time on the project site. During our Scope of Work presentation, I like to share an estimated budget with the client for their specific project, room by room, item by item. This is super helpful for them to gauge what the overall investment is going to be.

How to pick an interior designer. Suggestions from Dallas based interior designer, Michelle Lynne of ML Interiors Group.

The discovery call or meet & greet is a great place to forge a new client relationship. Make the most of your time by asking the right questions.

What Is the Interior Design Procurement Process? Behind the Scenes Series

This post is cross-published and updated at: What Is the Interior Design Procurement Process? Behind the Scenes Series. To learn more about the Behind the Scenes of running a successful interior design business, check out Designed for the Creative Mind.

As we continue through the Behind The Scene series, let’s address the What the Procurement Phase of an interior design project actually is. It is a complicated step, but as with any professional, it appears seamless to anybody outside looking in.

I wrote a blog about what the actual Interior Design Fee includes HERE, and walked through the design process, but left off when we got to the Procurement Process as it relates to interior design.

Procurement is a very detailed and key step in the interior design process

Procurement

The actual procurement (purchasing) of the items happens after the custom design is created, presented, and approved by the client. This is a very time-intensive step in the process – often filled with many obstacles.

Here is a summary of what the interior design procurement process entails:
Detailed price requests to the supplier.
    • Each detail of the item must be specified and priced. For example, a simple throw pillow will include:
      • The pillow insert (from one vendor) – what size and what fill (down, polyester, a blend). And if you do want the blend, do you want 50/50 or 60/40 or 90/10. There are a LOT of decisions for just a pillow insert.
      • The pillow fabric (from a second vendor) – and how much, based on the pattern and repeat of the pattern, and size of the pillow.
      • The trim (from potentially a third vendor) – unless we specify a knife edge or self cording (using the pillow fabric itself)
      • The labor (from a fourth vendor)
    • Another example is for drapery components, as you see in this image below.

      • From the top and moving from left to right, you must specify what type of finial, rings, and color of the hardware. The second row from left to right, what type of bracket do you want, and do you need a rod connector; most of these we source at a single vendor. And the final row, from left to right, you must select your fabric, confirm the yardage necessary – which will vary dependent on the height of the window and what type of top pleat you want (if any), factor in the labor – also determined by size and style – and finally, whether or not you want the drapery panels lined.

        And this is just if you’re doing simple panels!

        Drapery components to specify for interior design project

        Drapery Components

Creation of an accurate purchase order (PO) for each vendor.

You can see that a simple pillow requires up to four PO’s – the drapery panels at least three.

Ordering a Cutting For Approval (CFA), and then approving.

This is when you get a sample of the actual fabric you’ll be ordering. Sometimes it is not the same as the sample you originally had, because of the different dye lots. So it gives you the chance to confirm what you want is what you get.

Reviewing the acknowledgment.

Every single email and attachment must be 100% confirmed to ensure the vendor understood our order and is placing it correctly with their people.

Arranging for the receiver.

This is a third party service that professionally receives, inspects, stores, catalogs and delivers the items. Most freight companies will only deliver to a facility that has a bay door or dock. We have to provide them with a list of what is going to be arriving and who it is for.

Receiving photos for every.single.item the receiver receives and inspects.

It is imperative to confirm every single item is received in good condition (and is the right item!). If it shows up damaged, we must determine if it can be repaired professionally or if it needs to be sent back to the vendor.

There is bookkeeping associated with each of these steps:
    • Creating an accurate invoice.
    • Deposit the client pays for the items.
    • Post and reconcile.
    • Pay the vendors, the freight companies, the receiving company, and any separate installations.
    • Track items, orders, receipts, invoices, and PO’s and reconcile.
Project Binder | MLInteriorsGroup.com

Project Binder

Problem resolution.

Of course, there are always problems to resolve. Maybe the fabric specified for the aforementioned pillow is no longer in stock – do you wait until it is back in stock? Or replace it immediately? Maybe the fabric is discontinued between when you originally sourced it for the design and when you are actually ordering. Thankfully, we have exceptional relationships with our product representatives and they can assist in finding a solution (this is a huge benefit of working with a reputable interior designer).

Document Everything.

And finally, every single step of the interior design procurement process is documented with the dates…date ordered, date shipped, date received, and finally – date delivered and installed!

I’m sure I forgot something. Thankfully, we have everything pre-programmed into our project management software, so we are not relying solely on our memory. Plus, we have about 99 checklists for each project.

Contact Us

Are you ready to discuss your own interior design or renovation project? Let’s schedule a time to “interview us”!  We have years of experience in creating happier and more efficient homes. We begin every project with a (free) in studio Meet & Greet. Contact the team at ML Interiors Group today at 972-248-4733 or via the website contact form. We offer interior design services in all of DFW and beyond.

This post first published HERE.

What Does An Interior Design Fee Include? Behind the Scenes Series

This post is cross-published and updated at: What Does An Interior Design Fee Include? Behind the Scenes Series. To learn more about the Behind the Scenes of running a successful interior design business, check out Designed for the Creative Mind.

Have you ever wanted to hire an interior designer or decorator to come over and “just take care of everything”? But did you ever think about what the “everything” really is? And what that interior design fee really includes? In our Behind the Scenes Series (so far HERE and HERE, you can rest assured I will spill all the beans and share the details with you. Read on, my friend:
A home should tell a love story about the people who live there | Interior Design Quote | Michelle Lynne, Dallas' premier interior designer

A home should tell a love story….

So many people think that an interior designer’s job is to just “make things pretty”. And while the end result IS very pretty, there is so much that goes into the overall project. The interior design fee includes not just the time it takes, but the intellectual property and design genius a good design firm brings to the table.

But our job goes way beyond that. A good interior designer learns all about their client’s wants, needs, and how they live. The designer has the vision for the space, tailors it to the clients’ needs – and then plans and implements that vision so that the room(s) are both functional AND beautiful. It’s not unlike a pair of shoes – they may LOOK good, but if they are not comfortable, you won’t enjoy them.

A designer will balance the client’s aesthetic style with their lifestyle – while also working with the home’s architectural features (including where to hide the electrical outlets or cords). Keep in mind, that while juggling these details a good designer works closely with a handful of trusted artisans, vendors, and contractors who fulfill the design.

Here is the short version of what our Concierge Design service fee will get you:

Budget Analysis

Budget analysis & adjustment – because most clients do not have a money tree growing in the backyard, we advise on what sort of financial investment is realistic and adjust accordingly. The interior design fee is not allocated towards the purchases or renovation costs.

Initial Design Kick Off

This is where our team runs through all of the “big picture” ideas and hones in on the final vision. This includes creating custom solutions the layout of the furniture, general color palette, unique features, furniture pieces, and how the room(s) will flow.

Interior design is not just about selecting fabric, although that is a key component to a beautiful room | The team at ML Interiors Group, Dallas interior designers

We operate as a team and joke that you “buy one, get three free” because we collaborate and share so many ideas. We all have unique perspectives and experiences, and that combination benefits our clients.

Trade Day

Once we have the general vision, it’s time to make sure that vision is viable. We meet with contractors on the project site to discuss the details so they can start pulling together a bid. This is necessary whether it is a full remodel or simply having the drapery workroom measure the windows accurately.

Space Planning

Have you ever “eyeballed” a piece of furniture at the store, purchased it, and found it was the wrong size when you got it home? Yah. Me neither. haha. So instead, we ensure all rooms are measured accurately so we can select and deliver the right size furnishings the first time. Avoiding this headache alone, not to mention restocking fees – is worth the design fee alone. You can rest assured your furniture will be the appropriate size.

Finish Selections

Once we have the basic color palette selected, we begin ordering fabrics, rug samples, tile and such – where needed. It is not unheard of to order up to 500 fabric samples to edit down to 25 – 50 for a full house design. Yah, you read that correctly: 500 fabrics samples. It’s not a good day to wear black clothing, because the amount of lint is ridiculous!

Selecting fabric can entail hundreds of samples | Interior design fee includes | ML Interiors Group

 

Product sourcing.

A fancy term for shopping. This is much more detailed than you can imagine. We have to confirm the dimensions, color, finish, availability, pricing and shipping terms for every single piece. And if we are creating a custom anything, we have to make sure the item is fully specified for the artisan to create. For example, a custom pillow should be simple, right? Well, we have to confirm the fabric selection not only works with the design, but will withstand the use, determine what size pillow is necessary, confirm whether we want the pillow form to be a polyester fill, down filled, or a blend, and of course we must choose a trim for the pillow (self corded, knife edge, or a decorative trim) and whether it should close with a zipper or a button fold. You cannot imagine the number of phone calls and emails between us and the vendors…and if one thing changes (i.e. is discontinued or not available in the finish we want), it can change the whole room’s selections / color palette or even the design.

Elevation & Rendering creation.

These images will help us confirm or revise our initial design details. This feature also helps the client visualize the concept we have planned for them.

 

 

#ProjectSouthcrest Formal Dining and Living 3D Rendering | Dallas Interior Design | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group | ML

3D Rendering presented as final design

 

Formal dining never looked so good. Live edged table, oversized Palacek chandelier and comfortable and stylish chairs welcome guests to stay and enjoy a meal. | Midway Hollow | Interior Design firm ML Interiors Group

Actual design installed

Want to see more of this project? See some before and after HERE and check it out in our PORTFOLIO.

In addition to the renderings & elevations, when a remodel is involved, we provide the full construction documents, including the electrical plan in the design fee. But we will leave those details for another blog post.

Samples.

We collect as many samples of the selections we will be suggesting to our client so they can touch and feel the items in our studio before giving approval to purchase. Samples include fabric, trim, paint colors, wood stains, area rugs, hardware, stone and tile, linens, wallpaper, furniture samples (as available) and anything else that is applicable to the design that we can get our hands on to convey our vision. Again, a ton of phone calls and emails to coordinate any items that the vendor lends us temporarily.

The Design Presentation.

This presentation is usually delivered in our design studio and will last 1 – 4 hours, depending on the size of the project. This presentation includes EV.ER.Y.THING regarding the design. It’s so much fun! It also includes food – and if it’s Happy Hour, we serve cocktails. This is a great time for our clients because we are unveiling what has been developing for months and answers all of the design challenges they brought to us to solve.

Yah, but what does all of this cost?

There is no industry standard. Interior design fees have a wide variety of structures. Some designers charge an hourly rate ($75 – $500). Some designers work based on a flat fee, which will vary depending on the size of the project but can range from a few thousand dollars to a hefty 6-figures. The calculation of the flat fee may be based on hours estimated, square footage, level of detail – or a combination. Most designers will require a deposit or retainer before beginning the design. Some designers don’t give the whole presentation as part of their service, but rather do the shopping for you as a piece by piece solution. This is an industry that can vary widely – but like anything, you get what you pay for.

The interior design fee does not just pay for the actual service, but also for the expertise and talent the designer brings to the table. Solving problems, creative ideas, beautiful rooms and the FEELING of happiness each time you enter the room is what you’re paying for.

Interior design is not just about making rooms pretty, it's about designing happiness. | ML Interiors Group | Interior Designers in Dallas, Texas

So there you have it in a nutshell. What does the interior design fee include? A LOT, my friend. A LOT.

Originally published HERE.

What Does An Interior Design Fee Include? Behind the Scenes Series

This post is cross-published and updated at: What Does An Interior Design Fee Include? Behind the Scenes Series. To learn more about the Behind the Scenes of running a successful interior design business, check out Designed for the Creative Mind.

Have you ever wanted to hire an interior designer or decorator to come over and “just take care of everything”? But did you ever think about what the “everything” really is? And what that interior design fee really includes? In our Behind the Scenes Series (so far HERE and HERE, you can rest assured I will spill all the beans and share the details with you. Read on, my friend:
A home should tell a love story about the people who live there | Interior Design Quote | Michelle Lynne, Dallas' premier interior designer

A home should tell a love story….

So many people think that an interior designer’s job is to just “make things pretty”. And while the end result IS very pretty, there is so much that goes into the overall project. The interior design fee includes not just the time it takes, but the intellectual property and design genius a good design firm brings to the table.

But our job goes way beyond that. A good interior designer learns all about their client’s wants, needs, and how they live. The designer has the vision for the space, tailors it to the clients’ needs – and then plans and implements that vision so that the room(s) are both functional AND beautiful. It’s not unlike a pair of shoes – they may LOOK good, but if they are not comfortable, you won’t enjoy them.

A designer will balance the client’s aesthetic style with their lifestyle – while also working with the home’s architectural features (including where to hide the electrical outlets or cords). Keep in mind, that while juggling these details a good designer works closely with a handful of trusted artisans, vendors, and contractors who fulfill the design.

Here is the short version of what our Concierge Design service fee will get you:

Budget Analysis

Budget analysis & adjustment – because most clients do not have a money tree growing in the backyard, we advise on what sort of financial investment is realistic and adjust accordingly. The interior design fee is not allocated towards the purchases or renovation costs.

Initial Design Kick Off

This is where our team runs through all of the “big picture” ideas and hones in on the final vision. This includes creating custom solutions the layout of the furniture, general color palette, unique features, furniture pieces, and how the room(s) will flow.

Interior design is not just about selecting fabric, although that is a key component to a beautiful room | The team at ML Interiors Group, Dallas interior designers

We operate as a team and joke that you “buy one, get three free” because we collaborate and share so many ideas. We all have unique perspectives and experiences, and that combination benefits our clients.

Trade Day

Once we have the general vision, it’s time to make sure that vision is viable. We meet with contractors on the project site to discuss the details so they can start pulling together a bid. This is necessary whether it is a full remodel or simply having the drapery workroom measure the windows accurately.

Space Planning

Have you ever “eyeballed” a piece of furniture at the store, purchased it, and found it was the wrong size when you got it home? Yah. Me neither. haha. So instead, we ensure all rooms are measured accurately so we can select and deliver the right size furnishings the first time. Avoiding this headache alone, not to mention restocking fees – is worth the design fee alone. You can rest assured your furniture will be the appropriate size.

Finish Selections

Once we have the basic color palette selected, we begin ordering fabrics, rug samples, tile and such – where needed. It is not unheard of to order up to 500 fabric samples to edit down to 25 – 50 for a full house design. Yah, you read that correctly: 500 fabrics samples. It’s not a good day to wear black clothing, because the amount of lint is ridiculous!

Selecting fabric can entail hundreds of samples | Interior design fee includes | ML Interiors Group

 

Product sourcing.

A fancy term for shopping. This is much more detailed than you can imagine. We have to confirm the dimensions, color, finish, availability, pricing and shipping terms for every single piece. And if we are creating a custom anything, we have to make sure the item is fully specified for the artisan to create. For example, a custom pillow should be simple, right? Well, we have to confirm the fabric selection not only works with the design, but will withstand the use, determine what size pillow is necessary, confirm whether we want the pillow form to be a polyester fill, down filled, or a blend, and of course we must choose a trim for the pillow (self corded, knife edge, or a decorative trim) and whether it should close with a zipper or a button fold. You cannot imagine the number of phone calls and emails between us and the vendors…and if one thing changes (i.e. is discontinued or not available in the finish we want), it can change the whole room’s selections / color palette or even the design.

Elevation & Rendering creation.

These images will help us confirm or revise our initial design details. This feature also helps the client visualize the concept we have planned for them.

 

 

#ProjectSouthcrest Formal Dining and Living 3D Rendering | Dallas Interior Design | Michelle Lynne Interiors Group | ML

3D Rendering presented as final design

 

Formal dining never looked so good. Live edged table, oversized Palacek chandelier and comfortable and stylish chairs welcome guests to stay and enjoy a meal. | Midway Hollow | Interior Design firm ML Interiors Group

Actual design installed

Want to see more of this project? See some before and after HERE and check it out in our PORTFOLIO.

In addition to the renderings & elevations, when a remodel is involved, we provide the full construction documents, including the electrical plan in the design fee. But we will leave those details for another blog post.

Samples.

We collect as many samples of the selections we will be suggesting to our client so they can touch and feel the items in our studio before giving approval to purchase. Samples include fabric, trim, paint colors, wood stains, area rugs, hardware, stone and tile, linens, wallpaper, furniture samples (as available) and anything else that is applicable to the design that we can get our hands on to convey our vision. Again, a ton of phone calls and emails to coordinate any items that the vendor lends us temporarily.

The Design Presentation.

This presentation is usually delivered in our design studio and will last 1 – 4 hours, depending on the size of the project. This presentation includes EV.ER.Y.THING regarding the design. It’s so much fun! It also includes food – and if it’s Happy Hour, we serve cocktails. This is a great time for our clients because we are unveiling what has been developing for months and answers all of the design challenges they brought to us to solve.

Yah, but what does all of this cost?

There is no industry standard. Interior design fees have a wide variety of structures. Some designers charge an hourly rate ($75 – $500). Some designers work based on a flat fee, which will vary depending on the size of the project but can range from a few thousand dollars to a hefty 6-figures. The calculation of the flat fee may be based on hours estimated, square footage, level of detail – or a combination. Most designers will require a deposit or retainer before beginning the design. Some designers don’t give the whole presentation as part of their service, but rather do the shopping for you as a piece by piece solution. This is an industry that can vary widely – but like anything, you get what you pay for.

The interior design fee does not just pay for the actual service, but also for the expertise and talent the designer brings to the table. Solving problems, creative ideas, beautiful rooms and the FEELING of happiness each time you enter the room is what you’re paying for.

Interior design is not just about making rooms pretty, it's about designing happiness. | ML Interiors Group | Interior Designers in Dallas, Texas

So there you have it in a nutshell. What does the interior design fee include? A LOT, my friend. A LOT.

Originally published HERE.

5 Things To Know When Starting an Interior Design Business

I’m in the process of creating a digital course for interior designers about the BUSINESS of running an interior design business. They don’t teach these details in design school, so I’m hopeful it will be of use to many creatives who are incredibly talented designers, but have no idea how to build a business that is fun to run.

But, back to the point. This content creation actually got me to thinking waaaaay back to when I started my business. There are a lot of things I wish I would have known when I started because I am sure I would have saved a LOT of time and money on useless items or endeavors. So – if you’re thinking about starting an interior design business, here are a few tips that might just save you some gray hair and sleepless nights:

1.  You will be working all.the.time when you’re launching a business.

I thought for sure I would be able to set my own schedule and make a bucket of money with less work than I was putting in at my regular 9-5 corporate job. Wrong. Plan on your laptop being your best friend for the first few years. And when you’re not putting in screen-time, you’re thinking about the business.

Dallas interior designer and influencer, Michelle Lynne, contributes to Forbes.com as well as Texasliving Magazine.

2.  You MUST have a website, but you don’t have to have a portfolio.

Whaaaat? Yes. I thought I had to have a portfolio before I launched the biz. Not true. But you DO have to be building one. Get your domain and website up and running, so people can find you. A legit website also adds immeasurable credibility. Once you have this, you can start uploading pretty little vignettes into your portfolio section. You can even use your own home for photos. Offer to help friends and family with their projects and get photos of those before and after images. But whatever you do, do NOT use stock photos…this is misleading to your potential client and misrepresenting your experience even if you “can” create the same look.

3.  You must have an interior design degree to make any money.

I thought not having an interior design degree would be a huge obstacle in my business and pricing my services. But only ONCE in the 10+ years I’ve been in business has anybody even ASKED. They may have inquired “how long” I have been doing this, to which I reply “forever…I just decided to start charging for it”. Which is true.

Monday Motivation | Dallas Interior Design | You are confined by the walls | Dream big

4.  Business cards don’t need to be fancy.

You don’t need to spend hours working with a graphic designer to come up with a logo and a full branding package. Just get some business cards with your contact information, including that website I mentioned above, and don’t opt for the cheapest card stock. Vistaprint.com is an inexpensive solution with good quality and great customer service – I STILL use them for our business cards. And once you have those cards, hand them out like crazy to spread the word that you’re “officially in business”.

5. Believe in yourself.

YOU know the drive and the desire that lives in your heart. Believe in yourself and what you’re capable of. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Yes, it’s gonna be hard, but anything worthwhile is going to take some effort. Make forward momentum, no matter how small, each day.

Bonus: Do NOT compare yourself.

In this day and age of social media and highly curated feeds, everything you see online is not always real. This may be your Chapter 1 and you’re comparing yourself to somebody else’s Chapter 12…that isn’t fair to you. And NOBODY has it all figured out. Don’t believe them if they say they do. I promise you that once you think you have it figure out, it changes. Having an interior design business is like any relationship, it’s always evolving.

And if you enjoyed these tips, you might enjoy these myths of owning your own interior design business that I wrote about last year.

 

The Business of Interior Design: Always Be Learning

So I’m sitting here at The Design Influencers conference, formerly known as The Design Bloggers Conference. And ironically, I’ve learned that I’m not doing a great job creating my blog posts. Nor is my website well optimized for organic search. Oh yippee. There is always something to do or fix when you’re a business owner.

So I’m not going to try to “fix” what I haven’t been doing in this post.  I’m pretty happy to get it written at all this week, considering I’m traveling and trying to keep up with all the conference content…and believe me, the speakers are rich.

The design influencers conference key speakers.

I mean, really, if you’re an interior design enthusiast, you will recognize some of these names. And in addition to these rock stars, there are “everyday” designers who have found some great success in various niches. These very approachable experts share their experiences with us from the same stage as the big names.

When you are a business owner, whether it is interior design or in another field, it’s important to continually learn new things. I’m guilty of often continuing my education mostly via books and digital products – and being a hermit in my own development.  BUT getting out and meeting people is also key. Making connections and learning new things via actual conversations is invaluable. I’m really looking forward to continuing the conversations I started with the people I’ve met so far!

Attending the 2019 Design Influencers Conference | Michelle Lynne, Dallas based interior designer

Speaking of meeting people, I really want to encourage you – no matter what field – to share ideas with others. Collaborating and comparing what you have found successful (or not) will not water down your success. YOU are YOU. And nobody else delivers your material the same way you do.

So. Back to the conference.

If you’re an interior designer / decorator or design blogger who has been wondering whether you should attend this event, so far I would definitely suggest it. It’s two days into the content and I think my money has been well spent. So even if the next day and a half suck, I’d still feel good about the trip.