Creation of interior design is a long process, consisting of a great number of stages. The detailed description of each stage will clear for you the structure of cooperation with United Décor and will show a bright image of collaboration, illustrated with examples of “Lefortovo” project.
Meeting our customer
Design bureau and a customer find each other many different ways. This time customer found out about “United Decor” from friends. After the portfolio and working conditions were studied, the appointment for personal meeting was made. Creation of the project is a close cooperation, saturated and not always easy communication. Therefore it is important, that there is a relationship, comfortable for both sides. At first meeting customers usually tell what they want to see in future house: style, dreams and necessary details. At this moment United Décor and owners of the apartment are looking for concurrens in the views and ideas of an interior, discuss possibilities of its result. It is very important for customers to be ready to trust professional experience of designers in creation of their ideal house.
Several days before signing the contract are given to consider and discuss details. The next meeting begins with a statement of an interior design package structure. For the “Lefortovo” project customers have chosen a full author’s package with photorealistic ( 3D) visualization. After signing of the contract it is possible to move to the following stage in order to save time. Quite often it occurs at the same meeting.
Provisional concept and technical task
The most important part of preparation to start the project is a heart to heart conversation with customers. Any information is valuable: what are their passions and hobbies, when do they usually wake up, where do they like to travel, how would they like to spend time at their home. All these questions don’t have anything to do with interior design at the first sight, but they help to plan customers future home in most convenient way, individually for their needs.
In this case of the let fall phrases and fascinating stories there was the following picture created: family consists of 3 people, couple with a very active ten year old boy. Amount of hobbies and after school activities (school , work, active sports, activities and travel leads to the fact, that full family gathers at home mostly for special occasions. Apartment had to become for clients the place of resting and recharging. Therefore it was important for each family member to have his own private space. As a result, allocation of a separate office, apart from existing nursery, a bedroom and the combined kitchen-living room area became a task number one in planning of the apartment.
At the same meeting, after viewing a huge number of photos, there was a decision about style and colour scale of new project made. This house was meant to become the quiet city residence in the faded shades, with elements of classics and art-deco on the basis of modern style.
All wishes were put together into technical task for interior design project.
Professional measurements of the space by surveyors
To make sure, that future interior is precise, all measurements are being checked by professional surveyors. It is impossible to trust to the official plan, given by construction company : on this project, the balcony in a bedroom hasn’t been noted. Also experts carry out detailed photo and video of object. It saves time, when creating a technical drawings and helps in communication on a building site during construction works.
Creation and conformation of a layout
Planning is very responsible moment. On this project we have had 2 main requirements to meet: to provide an office room and to find place for a laundry room. United Décor have done exquisite workmanship to use apartments space to its maximum and to make every room convenient. Final version of floor plan came out not from very first, but has satisfied customers unconditionally.
Creation and confirmation of interiors concept
To get to this point, it is necessary to sort with the customer big amount of different interior pictures and ideas out, basing on emotional likes/dislikes. After that we put all the information together like mosaic pieces, and show the initial version of the concept. It comes as collages with images of furniture, the key finishing materials and elements creating outline of the future interior. It is extremely seldom, when all elements remain from the first version, but this first image is important: base has already developed and further will only develop. Collages become a basis for future sketch or 3Dimensional visualization.
Coordination and confirmation of colour schemes and finishing materials
It is important not only to see the image of a future interior, but also make it looking real for the customer. We choose precise colour, pattern and material samples and bring over to the building site. Day light changes shades of colours, therefore we check colours several times, at different times of a day. On “Lefortovo” project natural light turned out so complicated, that walls surprised us during bright summer day light, even though we double and triple checked every shade.
Choice and confirmation of furniture, lighting and decor
Only when all finishing materials and colour schemes are confirmed, we can start to choose furniture, lighting, textile and main decoration pieces, that will highlight all the beauty and identity of already decided interior basis. If agreed package of cooperation includes, United Decor goes to furniture and lighting shops to check together with a customer comfort, quality of chosen furniture and decoration pieces. In this project sofas, chairs, kitchen and furniture finishes were confirmed and purchased during the international furniture fair in Milan, where designers went together with customer.
Creation of final images
All finishing materials and furniture pieces, confirmed during previous stages find their place on the set of visualisations. It can be either hand drawn sketches, or photorealistic 3 dimensional visualisations. Customer can see their future home as if in reality having walked around.
This holistic view helps to see, if something in design needs to be improved. In “Lefortovo” project for a while we couldn’t get to a perfect image of master bathroom, that was supposed to become clients boudoir. Final look of the bathroom, that still excites customer, had developed already after handing over the album of drawings: perfect mosaic was accidentally met at interior fair in Moscow. 3 dimensional images were done over to be sure in our decision.
Development of technical drawings and refurbishing plans
Where to build up walls, how to carry out electricity, plumbing and sanitary, where light switches are situated and what pattern to use for floor tiles — all these answers carpenters get from the technical drawings album. All nuances of a project are shown extremely detailed on schemes to ensure that during renovation appear as few uncleared questions as possible.
General budgeting and its confirmation
Despite the fact, that one of main questions over the first meeting with a new customer is financial expectations, only during the project development full list of expenses gets clear. Designers combine total amount of needed items for each section of project, at the following meeting with customer different options of cutting down or cost rearrangements is being discussed. To the detailed budgeting of each project section, with positioning and articles is getting done after confirmation of the overall budget and signing the supplying services contract. Majority of chosen items and finishing materials for “Levortovo” project were delivered from United States and Europe, and project shopping was forced to be done during unstable financial situation. Therefore designers together with customer have decided to use 3 currencies for budgeting, that allowed not to get lost in changing prices.
Handing over and signing a project
At this stage development of project is finished: customer signs acceptance of the project and the final part of payment for the interior design is being settled. This is a moment to discuss further cooperation on development of the interior, if decision was not made yet. There are two options: either customer gets into refurbishing on his own, taking all the responsibility for the result, or signs purchasing contract and projects author’s supervision with United Decor, which means, that designers will look after entire process of turning an interior album into a dream home. There is also a partial solution: agreements of single consultations with designers while choosing construction crew and materials purchase.
Signing of author’s supervision agreement
Only if author’s supervision is being done, United Decor guarantees full equality of a finished interior to the design project. Author’s supervision agreement includes one visit to the building site per week for cooperation with carpenters and finding solutions for difficult questions. Every visit is being followed by short report, that includes photos, so, customer sees exactly, what is going on. All recommendations and comments, discussed with carpenters during visit are put into authors supervision journal, that is held on building site, and signed by both ( designers and construction crew). ” Levortovo” project customers at first have decided to go for single consultations. With big amount of important and urgent questions, appearing on building site, this approach quickly turned out not efficient. Starting from the second month of refurbishing works full author’s supervision contract was signed.
Signature of materials purchase contract
Not only a lot of time, but also nerves are often spent by customer, getting into materials and urgently needed bits supply on his own during construction work. In this project refurbishing went surprisingly quiet for customers, as designers took all the difficulties and urgent decisions on themselves. At independent purchase there is a high risk of purchasing wrong quantity or incorrect material. This usually leads either to excessive expenses or trouble with return. The skilled help of United Décor allows customers not to get bogged down in choosing right ventilating grates, carrying out of window sills and confirmations of the tiles glazing level. Fully trusted supply to professional United Decor crew is also assurance of a control of compliance to the project, solution of guarantee/ return questions and planning of materials supply in time for certain refurbishing stages (that will allow to avoid an expensive construction crew detention on one side, and save money on hiring warehouse for storing needed equipment on the other). After signing of the supplying contract United Décor prepares detailed budget with the prices, planned material consumption and suppliers references to discuss with customers. Budget contains 3 offers from different suppliers with different cooperation conditions to choose. This budgeting approach allows to understand price-quality trade off.
Choice of construction crew
Choice of carpenters — key in bringing design to real life. United Décor has advised to the customer help of high quality builders, that successfully cooperates with for over 7 years. These specialists are not only highly skilled and are familiar with professional technical terms, but also showed themselves as reliable and responsible people, who will stay in touch after guarantee period is over. Cooperation with well known specialists facilitates communication allows to skip some of explanations and control stages, therefore when customer gets his own, usually unknown construction team, author’s supervision cost increases.
Approval and coordination of works with buildings maintenance company
Within author’s supervision contract set of technical drawings and documents (heating, plumbing and sanitary) are being prepared to be handed over to the subordinated structure for legal approval. This procedure is paid separately, as costs fixed amount, depending on the city area, where the house is located. Coordination, approval of construction works is a difficult stage in any project. Prior to start refurbishing works on “Lefortovo” project, maintenance experts recommendations and approval were received, and then all the requirements were carried out. Even while increasing living rooms space and allocation of a separate office room it was succeeded to respect all area legal rules and to stay in legally allowed wet (bathrooms and kitchen) areas.
Then United Décor got a set of not the most pleasant surprises. Just before the beginning of construction works, after handing the project over to the customer, the amendments forbidding association of balconies with a residential zone have been adopted. In our case it meant exception of additional day light for drawing room, where panoramic windows were planned. Also these law changes led to full re-planning of a bedroom . Owners had to accept merging of “his” and “her” dressing rooms into one and day lighted dressing table.
Beginning of rough, construction works
In a big cities reality capital construction can be quick and qualitative only in case of on premises accommodation of builders . It saves half of working time, that in other case would be spent on specialists transfer every day in heavy traffic. As soon as all needed materials are delivered and construction team is accommodated, and all the technical questions cleared, they start putting up future walls and flowing of floors. Usually resiting of the apartment starts with putting up walls in one bricks height to allow customers to feel widths of corridors and convenience of layout. On this project designers needed to double check and confirm with owners comfort of corridors in the entrance hall, because of additional allocation of separate laundry room. As a result decision to move some space from the laundry room to the entrance hall wardrobes was made. At this stage finally was confirmed also master bedrooms layout, and customers asked to move the bed to the wall opposite from the entrance.
List of supplies
For majority of materials orders are being prepared to be placed in advance, because their measurements are needed already at construction works stage. Usually sanitary ware and tiling is needed to wait for, but technical sheets are enough for beginning with plumbing. Different story is with air conditioning and installation of equipments hidden parts, that going to be put away into walls structure. They are required to be delivered already at the beginning of construction works.
Following purchasing order will allow works to run according to schedule:
— Tile, radiators, sanitary ware;
— Electrical equipment, architectural lighting, finishing materials;
— Stucco, air-conditioning;
— Technical equipment( intercom, video systems, security systems, home cinema, etc);
— Kitchen furniture, kitchen appliances;
— Individually ordered joinery.
Orders are being put in groups and placed according to certain stage of refurbishing. Furniture, decorative lighting and textile are being ordered 3-4 months prior to the date of planned final of renovation, because it turns to be perfect way to get best prices.
Correct timing is extremely important, but not always possible. During the realisation of “Lefortovo” project it took too long to choose and confirm part of architectural lighting. As we could not pause constructions process, by the time, lighting was finally chosen, ceiling works skip the installation stage and designers were forced to change architectural lighting configuration in order to suit completed ceilings. Also, having a strictly fixed budget, supply was being held back, because of currency changes at some points.
United Décor were forced to step back from the main rule of ordering the joinery and to place orders by different suppliers, using one colour sample.
Finishing works is a responsible, long and laborious stage, where walls, floors and ceiling get their final look. This part of works show all flows of previous stages and therefore need in author’s supervision increases. Most challenging part of the project became bedroom papering, because of extremely expensive pre-ordered wall paper. Highly skilled, familiar with this wall paper brand, specialists, who guaranteed result, were invited to complete this work.
Installation of equipment and joinery assemble
By the end of this stage kitchen furniture, sanitary ware and technical equipment is being fitted. To guarantee safety and avoid the need of detaching any parts for painting some walls corner, installation of joinery, skirting and doors is being completed last of all.
In “Lefortovo” kitchen was assembled in 2 stages. At first lower bases were lined up, to fit ceramic kitchen skirting and take strict measurements for production of counter top, then it was turn of wall cabinets. Because of the big weight of a counter top structure, combined with bar counter, was made a decision to replace granite stone with acrylic stone. Acrylic stone technology allowed to armour construction with a steel rod from the beginning, that many times increased its strength.
Nursery built-in closet, that looks like a vertical stripes ornament, at the beginning was planned to be ordered from Italy. But after seeing the result of cooperation with joinery company from Moscow, who completed the rest of nursery furniture, it was decided to place an order for the wardrobe with them also. Closet fitted in so well, that cleaning company missed it during the final cleaning, mistaken for decoratively painted wall.
Construction dust becomes the most severe enemy when refurbishing gets completed. Construction waste removal and first cleaning allows to get sure, that all works are done perfectly, there are no scratches on parquet floors and all materials are levelled out correctly. Before delivery of the rest of furniture and hanging curtains 2-3 wet cleanings need to be done, otherwise textile and coverings will soak all the dust in.
Company, that offers cleaning services is needed to be given detailed directions: this time cleaning crew has accidentally washed from the Belgian lamp artificial ageing off. And Designers were forced to send it to restore foiling.
Furniture and lighting delivery
After final cleaning all the furniture, mirrors, accessories can be brought in and situated according to technical drawings from the projects. Unfortunately not everything turns out to be ordered exactly as it was meant from the beginning. In that case replacement with closest to original measurements, technical characteristic and looks, that being altered to fit perfectly is being done.
This was a situation with coffee table for living room: similar to originally planned item was found in Moscow, but United Decor replaced its top with coloured mirror to match tv-stand, that came from Portugal.
Decorative lighting was hung the very last, to ensure, that nobody breaks precious pieces. The most exciting moment turned to be hanging of a pendent lamp over the dining table. It is combined of fragile glass and mirrored balls of different sizes, that were supposed to be put in certain order to make that perfect ornament of composition and light.
Textile and decoration
When all the previous stages are completed, comes the time to add final touches. Curtains, cushions and throws, accessories, wall decor take their places. From that moment becomes difficult to call it “project”, it finally turns into stylish home. Designers always try to get projects to the point of final decoration, and this time United Decor crew was collecting missing elements all over Moscow to brighten up interior with vases, flowers and decorative sets.
In interior design contract there is always a part of customers agreement for taking professional pictures of completed interior. United Décor gets an opportunity to add another project to the portfolio and publish result of work in magazine, to demonstrate to future customers another successful confirmation of their skills. Owners get their profit too. Attractive and well pictured interior, published in respected magazine increases property cost in case of sale or rent.
Signing of acceptance works certificate
During the final meeting with future owners handing over of a facility with detailed interior documentation, maintenance instructions being done. Carpenters representative hands over 12 months guarantee certificate. Signing of an acceptance sertificate means that works on the project are completed and accepted. Now owners can move in. There is only happy moments in new home ahead!