Vail Daily column: Behind the scenes of a design project
Ryan Summerlin August 10, 2014
We just spent two weeks doing an install in Boston. An install in interior design lingo is when the project all comes together and we get to see all of our hard work put into place. Though it’s not the glamorous side of the job — we are lugging sofas, carpets, artwork, dishes, pots, pans, pillows, window coverings (you get the idea) up and down stairs, making our clients’ new or remodeled home exactly as they pictured it.
IT ALL STARTS WITH LISTENING
The overall process for this job took almost two years. We worked with these clients in the past, so we had an idea of their design aesthetic: what they liked, what they wanted to see, how they wanted their space transformed to suit their needs. The most important thing we do early in the process is listen.
After our initial meeting, we lay out schemes comprised of concept images and fixed finishes materials, which are presented in our design library. Then we move onto drawings (tile layouts, cabinetry and furniture layouts). It is amazing how close the renderings are to the completed project.
During the next meeting, we review furniture and fabric options. This is a fun part of the creative process. The client says yay or nay and we move on to the next step in the design process.
Occasionally, they will want more choices. Sometimes they select the overall look and leave the rest to us, checking in. When that happens, we are honored to be the trusted source for their home.
UNDERSTANDING FLOOR PLANS
Because all of the designers on staff have a degree in interior design, know CAD (computer aided drafting) and know how to read floor plans and renderings, we can provide detailed information on redesigning the layout of rooms.
For instance, in Boston we kept the custom-made shelving in the library, but painted it and added doors to provide a real storage solution. In another room, we removed the arch to open the space up and relate to the new, cleaner-lined finishes. We had a desk built into a cabinet in the kitchen area, which is perfect to use on a daily basis, but when guests are on their way over, the stool is slid inside, the doors are closed and the space is clean and clutter free.
TAKING DESIGN OUTDOORS
When designing, we don’t halt at interior. We designed the patio on an amazing piece of property in Palm Springs, California. We used our history with the client and designed the space to complement the surroundings.
In Boston, we converted a rooftop deck to a true oasis high above the city, overlooking the skyline; we installed teak benches and an outdoor sitting room.
CREATING CUSTOM SPACES
Back to the process. Once we have selections from the client, we prepare a detailed budget. When we receive approval for the furnishings, window, wall and floor coverings, we start ordering. Oftentimes, the furnishings, and even the flooring, are custom made to exact specifications and measurements in precise materials.
If it’s not custom, we work closely with our vendors, ensuring we get exactly what our client expects, what we ordered and that it all comes in on time. Sometimes we try to use existing pieces, which sometimes fit and other times, we modify.
Some installs take a day or two. Some take a week or more. But really, we make tweaks as necessary to make sure the client loves coming home to their new space. We may need to stop by to touch up the paint on the pool table, buff out a scratch in the floor or replace a coffee table that just didn’t fit, either in the physical space or with what the owner envisioned.
It’s a treat to be allowed to help with a design project and a thrill to see the project come to life after months of work.
Andrea Georgopolis has been designing at Slifer Designs for 15 years. She’s designed projects in Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, California and throughout the Colorado Rockies. For more inspiration, check out www.sliferdesigns.com.