Frequently Asked Questions
When hiring an interior designer, you likely are taking action on a project you’ve been dreaming about for some time. We don’t steal this ownership from you by dictating design. Instead we provide you with an enjoyable boutique experience by engaging you from start to finish. How? Let’s begin by answering some frequently asked questions.
A phone conversation. It may sound old school, but we believe that this initial contact is imperative to understanding your true motivation for creating a new space. Discovery is the most important part of getting your interior project off to a great start by getting to know you.
We will send you a questionnaire to complete before our first face-to-face, or intake, meeting. We will ask you to provide information about your lifestyle, motivation for undertaking your project, and a rough budget. We also ask you to gather images of spaces, artwork, and fashion that you like and do not like so we can start to get to know you on a deeper level.
Our first intake meeting will be in your home or commercial space. This is a complimentary meeting that does not include any design advice or work. Instead we want to meet with all decision-makers and spend our time determining if we are a good match. We will walk through your existing space, and work to discover how you want your new space to feel, function, and look. We can go over your questionnaire, images and any questions you have about working with LiLu.
We send you a letter of agreement that is customized to reflect our initial idea of a concept for your project, a specific scope of services, and a fee quote tailored to you and your home or commercial space. Then, you hire us.
Your first responsibilities are sending us a signed copy of your letter of agreement and a non-refundable retainer. Then the LiLu Design Team gets to work, creating your perfect interior.
Every situation is unique. Whether we are designing a new construction home, remodel or single room for you, we usually begin by visiting your space to measure, take pictures, and start preparing for our first design meeting. We carefully review your architectural plans, and meet with your architect, landscape architect, and contractor discuss how we can all collaborate to your best benefit.
At your first design meeting we will present concepts for your review, including a detailed vision of how your space will feel and the emotions it will evoke through color schemes, floor plans, and mood boards. Your feedback at this meeting will start to shape the final selections for your environment. Our detailed research and selections will continue and subsequent meetings will be focused on specific solutions and design selections.
Our clients have their LiLu Design Team conduct research, make selections and create custom designs that lead to a completed space. They prefer that we hold the primary vision for the interior. And while we look forward to collaborating with our clients, we want to take the lead on your project. That’s because the designers at LiLu have years of industry knowledge and real-world experience, which help us evaluate resources that best match criteria established in your design concept. Through extensive research, we can develop a solution that balances durability, maintenance requirements, color, scale, and cost is vital for a successful outcome.
LiLu has established a wide network of trusted architects, builders, painters, plumbers, electricians, and artisans. We can help you find professionals who are the best fit for the quality, service, and communication-style you require.
We recommend establishing a budget from the beginning. This allows your LiLu Design Team to develop a plan that includes every detail. It also protects you from disappointment. Budgets are an important way for designer and homeowner to financially manage each other’s expectations.
There are some basic requirements in every budget:
- Creative fees for work from interior designers, architects, landscape designers, and other design professionals.
- Construction costs, including a general contractor, sub-contractors, and all the fixtures, finishes, millwork, and cabinetry that will be needed.
- Technology, including audio/video equipment, security, and automation/smart-home technology.
- Furnishings that include everything from major pieces of furniture to lamps, accessories, and everyday housewares.
- A contingency fund of 10-15% for each category in your budget will reduce stress during your project.
Our fees are based not just on the scope of your project, but also the creative process needed to design a space that will support your lifestyle. Our time is spent on many activities unique to your specific project, including brainstorming unique design solutions tailored to you, your architecture, your family, your maintenance style, your aesthetic and your needed level of service and communication.
We also include time for field verifying existing space and furnishings to be included in your new design. In addition, research on specific design solutions is needed along with time for designing color palettes, creating mood boards, sketching or drafting space plans, perspectives, elevations, millwork, cabinetry and drafting construction drawings and notes for executing your entire project. This may also include lighting and electrical plans and interior and furnishing specifications.
Once we’ve met and LiLu has determined the exact scope of your project and the services that will best match your needs we can put a flat fee or estimated hourly quote in your letter of agreement. On average a minimum of 30 hours goes into a single room design and up to 300 hours for a new construction project, including client meetings, presentations and site visits.
Whether we are estimating the number of hours your project requires or quoting a flat fee, we base the cost on your specific needs and past projects similar to yours. Our letter of agreement outlines a detailed scope of work, conceptual goals, and deliverables. We also outline the number of meetings we anticipate having with you and your design professionals and contractors over what period of time. A flat fee offers the advantage of letting you know up front what the cost associated with design fees for your project will be. Allowing you to plan for cash flow. Changes to the scope of work or the length of time LiLu is working on your project will result in additional fees charged at an hourly rate.
The size of project does not change our commitment to quality—we don’t cut corners designing and thinking through all the details. Delivering a comprehensive design approach to your space, meeting with you, and creating clear construction documents are a part of the process that all of our clients have come to expect from LiLu.
Yes. This is simply because doing so helps ensure that design solutions, furnishings, and accessories are customized to their specific aesthetic, personality, architecture, and how they live their lives. Coordinating every aspect that goes into a truly custom design is part of the service you are paying us for and our expertise allow us to take on this responsibility on so you can enjoy the design experience.
Like other designers, we charge a percentage on top of the wholesale or trade price of items we sell to our clients. This is to cover the time we spend writing purchase orders, communicating with vendors, asking the right questions to avoid potential pitfalls, comparing and approving fabric and finish samples to selections to ensure the best results, in addition to the time spent expediting and installing all the pieces in your finished space.
If any retail, off-the-shelf items are used in your design solution, we ask that you make and manage those purchases yourself or pay our hourly fee for management of these items.
One thing that you can expect with LiLu Interiors is that we are transparent about all costs for your project—from design fees to furnishings—so you have a complete understanding about how your resources are being used to create your ideal home.
From beginning to end of the design process, our focus is to create a finished environment that exceeds expectations. Your delight is our goal. One way we ensure your happiness is having clear visual presentations and never making any purchase, hiring any contractor, or executing any part of your custom design solution without your consent. Written proposals and estimates are always provided so that you not only understand the solution, but also the cost associated with it prior to approving implementation.
LiLu Interiors focuses on creating custom design solutions. So the time needed to finish a completed interior can take anywhere from a few months for a single room to a couple of years for some large construction projects. And projects range anywhere in between. By working together early in the process to communicate clearly, establish a meeting schedule, and agreeing to decision-making goals, we can determine a realistic time frame for your particular project.
Designers are as frustrated with shipping delays and backorders as much as clients. It is important to note, however, that delays do occur occasionally and when this happens it is LiLu’s role to be your advocate. We work hard to understand what is causing any delays and whether we can work with vendors to overcome any obstacles. We clearly communicate with you so you understand how a delay will affect the time frame for your project. In certain situations we may offer re-selection services or substitutions. If there is actual harm to the shipped item, we may ask a vendor for a solution beyond substitution. We always work in your best interests, and yet LiLu Interiors and our vendors do not have full control over every step in the process. Mills, shipping companies, and customs, are each interdependently linked to create your interior, and they may require some patience and perspective when unusual circumstances arise.
There likely will be. We’ve all heard construction or remodeling “war stories” thrown around at cocktail parties. It’s our job to prevent problems from occurring. But when the unexpected happens, we take every measure to relieve you of an excessive stress. Our creativity doesn’t stop at design. We use these skills to problem solve every step of the way until issues are resolved.
We have developed trusting relationships with vendors who stand by their work and offer competitive rates. We know these resources will deliver the quality and service our clients expect and deserve. This is why we prefer working with our established vendors.
LiLu Interiors is a full-service design firm, providing custom design solutions and spaces that are both an investment and a timeless solution with regards to style and durability. Scouting sales for items that answer specific design criteria is time consuming, and ultimately costs more in design fees than our clients would want to spend. Spending time bargain shopping offsets any perceived savings. Careful selections targeted to your specific budget offer a better long-term solution.
Our primary form of communication is face-to-face meetings covering all design development and decisions. Email and phone calls will be used to communicate about details and information that come up between meetings. We also ask you the best way to communicate with you about financial matters, meeting notes, and other written detail.