7 Steps to Design Success

Evening arrives after a busy day, and I am free to go home. My house is at the elbow of a curving crescent, facing up the street. For a brief moment as I drive down the street, I can see my house from the front. But what I really see is not so much my house, but my home. I am home! Everything I work for is embodied there. My loved ones are there. I entertain family and friends there. I eat there, sleep there, play there, I am sheltered there. It is my refuge. —Michael Power

With Our Structured Seven Step Process, We Absolutely Guarantee Great Results

Home is more than just a place. We start and end every day at home. We share it with our loved ones. We watch our children grow up there. We spend most of our lives there.

Most of us want our homes to be special. A refuge, a favourite place to gather with friends, the perfect retreat on a rainy day. We see magazines, design shows, and advertisements with beautiful homes and imagine our own homes looking and feeling that great. The bedroom looks so peaceful. The living room so warm and inviting. The kitchen ideal for pancake breakfasts and homework sessions.

Perhaps you spend your weekends driving from furniture store to furniture store. You paint an accent wall. You move the sofa to the basement and buy a new one on sale. You bring home a pair of lamps before the guests arrive for dinner. Maybe, despite your best efforts, your home just doesn’t feel the way you want it to. Like most people, you may have even made some expensive mistakes.

If your usual way of shopping for furniture has not given you the results you hoped for, there is another way.

The Only Way to Deliver the Right Result is to Focus on the Complete Environment, the Finished Room

For over forty years we have been guiding customers to create beautiful spaces that are a pleasure to live in – rooms, homes, cottages, and chalets that have exceeded their expectations and become even better with time. We’ve encouraged customers to bring photographs and measurements of their space. We’ve asked about their needs, so that we can help find the perfect solution. We’ve helped our customers find the best value, and best design solution for their unique needs.

We’ve helped young couples build a room piece-by-piece, over years. We’ve worked with architects to plan an entire home – from placing the walls to fully furnished. We’ve designed tiny kitchens and grand dining rooms, contemporary homes and rustic cabins. We’ve helped prepare for growing families. We’ve helped downsize to condos. We’ve worked within every budget and timeline, and overwhelmingly, our customers are thrilled.

We Want You to Love Your Home

It’s not just about buying better furniture. It’s about buying furniture better. We want you to love your home, to feel fabulous about your purchases, and, importantly, to love each item even more over time.

It is possible to have the room, or home that you are dreaming about – and it starts here. We’ve distilled our interior design process into 7 Steps – the same seven steps we have been using for more than 40 years.

We find the incremental approach over emphasizes the minutiae and under emphasizes the complete experience.

A Beautiful, Successful Interior Does Not Happen By Accident

Those perfect rooms are the result of intention, planning, calculation, listening, understanding, relationship, and experience. The rooms that look timeless, that quickly become your favourite, are achieved through a process of developing size, scale, proportion, colour, light, and function – in unison – and always, always selecting specifically for the people who will live in them. The furniture is chosen, knowing which few specific pieces, from the vast array of possibilities, will be all-at-once classic, perfect for your space, perfect for your needs, designed with integrity, and built to last.

By following these seven steps, we absolutely guarantee great results.

Our 7 Steps to Design Success is a professional, step-by-step approach to achieving the room or home that you are dreaming about. Each step adds value, and provides knowledgeable, actionable feedback. It is a decision-making tool that eliminates costly mistakes and uncertain outcomes. It is a guaranteed approach to creating a room, or home, that you love, that reflects you, and how you live – on time and on budget. 

7 Steps To Design Success

Step 1: Let’s Get Started

Our 7 Step approach invites collaboration and participation. Each step has been carefully calculated to ensure your full participation. After all, it is your home.

Begin by sending us an email.

Tell us about your project. The information your provide will help us understand the scope of work. Is it one room, several rooms, an entire home? Have you renovated? Are you about to renovate? Is it a city home, cottage, or country home? Are you starting from scratch, or redecorating? What are the approximate room dimensions? Are there any pieces you'd like to integrate or have refinished? The more detail, the better!  

Step 2: Introductory Conversation

In this step, we develop a clear direction and scope for your project. We’ll meet in our showroom to get to know you, your house, your needs, and your vision. We’ll ask questions. You’ll ask questions.

Great interior design is not done in a vacuum. It is done in a context. You, your dwelling, and how you live are the context. How many people live at home? Do you have children? Do you have pets? When you entertain is it usually family and friends or professional peers? Are you readers? Where do you like to sit when you read? The answers to these questions will of course provoke more questions. Gradually the designer begins to get a picture of how you live.

Of course you will also have questions. We will thoroughly explain the remaining steps. We’ll discuss costs and timelines. You may want references before deciding to proceed.

With the information gathered thus far, we are now equipped to advise on the scope and budget of your unique project. When we complete this step, you will know what it will take to interpret your vision to fit your context and limitations.

The cost for a 1.5 hour one-on-one Introductory Conversation with a designer is $200. We find this is typically a sufficient amount of time to ask and answer all of the important questions that help us decide together how to proceed.

The important details we have uncovered in the Introductory Conversation prepare us for Step 3: the Home Consultation.

Step 3: Home Consultation

In this step, the designer visits your home to gather more detailed information. We take measurements of your space noting electrical outlets, registers, bulkheads, hearths, mantles, door swings, and so on. We walk a grid of your space while taking photos from every angle.

We determine the "non-negotiables" and better understand the context – the architectural style and detail of the house, the flow of the space, the natural light, the interior style in other parts of the house. We’ll note the pieces you already have – forgotten, perhaps – that can be re-finished or re-purposed.

Of course the conversation will continue. Our questions will be more specific. You’ll help us to learn more about how you live and what is important to you.

The photos, measurements, and information we gather in the Home Consultation prepare us for Step 4: the Plan View.

Step 4: Plan View

In this step, the designer creates a scaled plan-view of your space – a drawing of your room as if looking down from above. We focus first on the practical considerations like size, proportion, and function. We determine the optimal objects for, and layout of, the room.

We’ll meet again to review these preliminary plans. It is important to understand that the Plan View is a proposal. At this stage, we can easily experiment with furniture placement just by moving the pieces around.

This exercise ensures that we design a space that truly supports how you live – a dining room that is cozy for four and welcoming for the whole gang, or a living room where you can sit comfortably with a book while the kids stretch out on the sofa for a movie. It is the designer’s job to suggest alternative ways to achieve an aesthetic objective within the limitations of a project, whether it be space, timeline, or budget. Good design is as much calculation as inspiration. Understanding what won't work is as important as knowing what will.

With our Plan View in place, we now have a decisive list to prepare us for Step 5: the Design Presentation.

Step 5: Design Presentation

In this step we develop a cohesive palette of colours, materials, textures, build and finish details. We choose paint and stain colours, fabrics, rugs, and lamps. We source or custom design furniture that suits both the context of your space and the look you want to create - turned or tapered table legs? Smooth or hand-planed wood? Crisp white, or multi-layered, antiqued, painted finish? Iron, ceramic, wood, or glass lamps? Knowing now how the space will be used and by whom, we can choose wisely to suit your needs – perhaps a heavier rug to stay in place when the dog won't, or sofa fabric milled to withstand spilled milk and wayward markers.

The designer will assemble all of the samples, photos, and drawings into a presentation that will allow you to ‘picture’ the room as it will appear when completed. We’ll look together at examples in our showroom – a great aid for those who want to touch and feel.

Now we have everything we need to put all the pieces together for, Step 6: the Final Presentation.

Step 6: Final Presentation

The Final Presentation is your plan – the result of the effort and hard work that began when you first told us about the room or home that you'd been dreaming about. This is your definitive guide to realizing that dream.

Every item in your Final Presentation will be cross-referenced to a detailed description: the size, the wood or fabric, the finish, the knobs, the quantity, and the cost. Where necessary we will provide samples of the wood and the finish, fabric samples for upholstery and drapes, paint samples, and photographs.

We’ll discuss timeline, payment, installation details, and every particular to prepare us for the next step, Delivery & Setup. You may live far away, and everything may have to be shipped. Will you arrange the painter or will we? Will the quote for painting include the paint? Such details must be expected and not overlooked. We do not want any surprises!

Whether you build out your Final Presentation piece by piece over time, or have us deliver and setup the entire room at once, you are guaranteed to be thrilled with the outcome.

We’ve dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s, and are now ready for Step 7: Delivery & Setup.

Step 7: Delivery and Setup

This is our final step, and certainly the most exciting! While you were waiting for the big day, we were planning, ordering and confirming, measuring, sewing, building, and finishing the various pieces designed just for you.

Everything you are expecting, as outlined in your Final Presentation, will be delivered and setup on the same day, after the completion of any preliminary site work – maybe new flooring, fresh paint, new window treatment, etc. The designer will arrive with our delivery crew to lay the rugs, place the furniture, hang the artwork, style the bookcases, set up the lamps – even screwing in the light bulbs – and attend to all the finishing touches.

With your Final Presentation in hand you will be equipped to verify that every item delivered is exactly as ordered – no surprises!

We have witnessed many faces gradually change from a somewhat anxious concern, to a smile, to a big grin. As your room comes together, you'll see that our diligence has really paid off – your room looks and feels even better than you had imagined.

Step 1, Let's Go!

Tell us about your project. We'll contact you shortly to coordinate next steps. 

The information your provide will help us understand the scope of work. What is the objective? Is it one room, several rooms, an entire home? Have you renovated? Are you about to renovate? Is it a city home, cottage, or country home? Are you starting from scratch, or redecorating? What are the approximate room dimensions? Are there any pieces you'd like to integrate or have refinished? The more detail, the better!

Thank You