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The Process of Working with a Design Consultant



Design Consultant

Today we are going to be taking a deep dive into all the steps of the design process and what it’s like working with a design consultant. We will talk all things design, planning, quoting, building, and everyone’s favorite part, the reveal.  

As a designer, I am employed by a remodeling company, Heritage Builders, so I work specifically with one Contractor. This is not always the case with designers, but the process is still generally the same. Later on in this post I will break down what it looks like when I work with clients that are choosing to take on the work themselves, but for now I will go over our most common process. 

Initial Meeting

The first step of our process is to set up the initial meeting. In my case, this is after the clients have already met with the General Contractor and we have received a signed contract for the work they are wanting done. For larger scale projects, such as custom homes, I will generally meet with the clients even before contracts are complete to get a better idea of what the clients are wanting for quoting purposes. 

During this initial meeting we will take the time to discuss what style the clients are wanting for their home. As well as any specifics they are wanting to incorporate in the design. These specifics could include anything from hardware finishes and lighting placements to flooring colors and tile sizes. 

This meeting is also a great time to discuss any design elements from their home that they would like to carry into the new space, such as trim and door styles. 

In order to truly get a sense of the design style they are wanting to achieve; I will ask the clients to send me photos of spaces that they love. Pinterest and Houzz boards are usually the most common and are a great way to share ideas. 

Conceptualizing and Planning

The next step is the planning stage. In this stage, I will take what the client is wanting and mix it with some of my own ideas to create a space that I feel they will truly love. 

Throughout this phase there is usually some back and forth with the clients to ensure that they will love the final design. 

This process will generally take 1-4 weeks, all dependent on the scale of the project. For instance, custom cabinetry designs and drawings can take a few weeks to receive, but on the other hand something smaller scale like a kitchen countertop and backsplash may only take a few days. 

Also, bear in mind that the planning process is an ongoing process and is not really ever done until the project is complete. 

Design Plans Meeting

This is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking parts of the process, it’s the design reveal. During this meeting, we will discuss most everything involved in the design such as flooring, tile, lighting, paint colors, and hardware. Some items, such as appliances are usually discussed via email because that is the easiest way to go through the specs.

Truly this is one of my favorite days because it builds the excitement for the project to come.


Here is the start of my basement bathroom plans to give you an idea of what the mood boards will look like. 

The Hard Part

Now onto the hard part, the building phase. I call this the hard part because sometimes at the beginning of a project it’s hard to visualize what it will soon become. 

Throughout this process there is multiple site visits. Also, there are occasionally small tweaks made to the design.

The Unplanned

Now, we love a project that has no issues, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the unplanned happens and we just do our best to move forward. This can include weather issues for exterior projects, delay in materials (this can be a frequent issue these days), or unforeseen structural issues (electrical, plumbing, etc.) that need to be addressed. 

Also, just because it’s not planned doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Sometimes great things can pop up as a last-minute decision. Such as adding additional work like built-ins and moulding.  

Finally, we get to the end of the building process, and we have reached punch. Punch is where the General Contractor will do one final walkthrough to correct anything that isn’t perfect. This will ensure that the clients are happy with the final product. 

The Best Part

We’ve made it to the best part of the process, the reveal. Now, keep in mind that the reveal isn’t like it is on TV shows. The clients are often living in the space or visiting during the remodel, so they see it bit by bit. 

However, getting to see photos of the space before and then what it has become is truly one of the best experiences. We, as a team, do our best to make every space that we work on one that our clients will love for years to come. 

Individual Design Services

As I said before, I work exclusively with one remodeling company. So, if you decide to work with them, I’m just the added bonus! *wink* However, if you’re a DIYer and want to take on the work yourself this is how it all works. 

First, we would set up an initial meeting to discuss what you are wanting to accomplish with your project. Next, I would put together a quote with a range of hours that I feel this project would take to design. This would be billed per hour. Finally, you review the quote and once signed we move forward with the design planning process. Then the fun begins! 

Thanks for following along! I hope this post helped you understand some of the specifics of working with a design consultant. If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave us a comment. And let us know if there are any specific topics you would like us to cover when it comes to home design!

For more info on Heritage Builders & some of the beautiful work they’ve done click here. 

1 thought on “The Process of Working with a Design Consultant”

  1. Take it from a person who had never had the opportunity to work with a design consultant prior to our last project….. it is a dream come true!
    Even though I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted, it was wonderful to have someone to bounce ideas off of and double check that what I thought I wanted was doable, sure took the pressure off my shoulders. Also having someone to organize the timing of various aspects of remodel was so great. I never could have done it myself. All in all it was the greatest way to go. Plus I made a new friend! 😊

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