Creating a successful design starts with having a well-educated Designer!
The vast majority of people have a misconception of what interior designers do. Some may think all we do is select furniture, paint colors, and fabric like the decorators do on TV, but there is so much more to our profession then what they think. In reality there are lot differences between “DECORATORS” and “DESIGNERS” …
There is a process that designers go through for every project to be sure that all information is gathered, documented, and executed in a certain way.
STEP 1: PROGRAMMING
We start with programming. We gather and collect all the date we need to do the project. This may entail gathering building codes, goals for the project, desired concepts, client needs/wants, space adjacencies, and current problems the client may have with an existing space.
STEP 2: SCHEMATIC DESIGN
Then we jump into schematic design and design development. In this phase we begin developing the space. We may start by selecting finishes, preliminary furniture layouts, and doing some sketches on how we envision the space to be. Of course, with selecting finishes there is a huge difference on a decorator and a designer. For example, a decorator may pick a fabric that looks good with a scheme, or have a cool pattern, but a designer will understand the relevant safety codes that the fabric must meet in order to comply with the building usage or the durability of the fabric.
STEP 3: CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS
Once we have a good understanding of the space, we then move into construction documents where we document all of our design decisions. We create floor plans, finish plans, Reflected Ceiling plans, elevations, and details. Designers not only have to make sure everything is coordinated from one drawing to the next but that they work with all the other components such as mechanical, life safety, and all the other parts that make up the building.
STEP 4: CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION
After drawings have been issued, we move into construction administration where we are there to assist the contractor by answering and reviewing on all Submittals, RFI’s (request for information), and shop drawings. This part is our last time to really make sure everything is getting fabricated correctly and how it was intended to be done.
STEP 5: INSTALLATION
After construction is done, or close to being done; we start installing the furniture, art, and accessories. Although a perfect installation condition is almost always impossible, we always like to say there is nothing like a deadline to make sure things get wrapped up and done!!
WHAT ALLOWS THESE STEPS TO RUN SMOOTHLY….
The NCIDQ certificate. The NCIDQ certificate is a very important document for a designer to hold. This proves that they have the skills to design a space that will protect the safety and well-being of its inhabitants. In order to accomplish a project at any scale there countless decisions that need to be made along the way, which is why it is important to have an educated designer– who knows the most efficient way to tackle various design situations.
We are very fortunate to have Kathy Anderson, who has been certified for 35 Years as our Design Principal that can help and lead us younger designers to making the correct design decisions. We also have the talented Katie Stix that has recently gained her certification as well. Well educated designers can really help the project go smoothly, and correctly! Just Finishing the exam myself; I understand the hard work and dedication it takes to study for this exam. Just keeping my fingers crossed while I wait for those results to come in!!
The education doesn’t stop there, once you receive the certification you have a set amount of CEU’s credits you must obtain each year! So, we continue to learn and stay up to date on all codes, new products and the changes in the industry with technology to produce the best design we can. So next time ask your self are you working with a licensed designer? Your project may move more smoothly if you do!