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Working process in details

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.

Signing contract

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

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.

Thorough cleaning

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.

Photo shoot

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!

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