What To Expect When Working With An Interior Design Firm

If you are like most people you don’t have the first clue as to what to expect or where the time goes when contracting for interior design services. If you are a curious sort you might see the “before” and the “after” shots in slick magazines or online publications. What’s missing is all of the steps along the way that bring a project to life. Here, we’ve distilled the process down to the essentials and given you the 411 on what to expect and where the time goes.

Allocation of Hours_where does the time goThe Design Process_What to Expect


My NEW and EXCITING designer life!

A Guest Blog, by Ericka

                  It’s only been a few weeks now that I have been able to call myself an Interior Designer, and I am finding that each day brings something a little more exciting! Im so jazzed about everything I’m doing, learning and experiencing that I  have to share about my day today!

Tamara and I attended a lunch meeting  for ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) San Diego Chapter, and met several different professionals in various construction, vendor & design related industries. We were invited to the meeting by the former chapter President, Bill Baker of Sterling Interior Design.  Tamara calls him her helpful mentor, and credits him for giving her much of the real-world design experience that I’m now learning with her. Bill also happens to have a great sense of humor & sarcastic wit that gave the meeting a tone of  “we’re all so happy to be here.”

Besides meeting some great new business connections and learning about some upcoming design events, my favorite part about the lunch was the venue. Now, a nice girl like me, who is a recent graduate from a Nazarene College, wouldn’t normally feel comfortable in a place called  The La Jolla Strip Club, but it was actually a steakhouse with a booming mid-day crowd of professional men & women.

As you walk through the front entrance you will notice a long  “bowling alley” hallway, that takes you down a ramp, through a tunnel, to the bar. This path is lined with racks of wine bottles and some fun LED lighting. By the time you get to the end of the wine bottle tunnel (or as Tamara called it, “The Tunnel of Love“), you  run smack dab into the bar; talk about good planning and creating a focal point!

Next, we  ventured into the lady’s room and noticed some more compelling design choices.  Textured and embossed tile is becoming all the rage and I couldn’t help but want to feel this bathroom wall. It was interesting how they used the lighting to make this dark brown tile look black. You can thank my flash for bringing out its true identity.  (This would also be a great time to remind you that Tamara just took me to visit a muy fantastico tile showroom close to Old Town (notice my clever use of Spanish to highlight it’s location?- HA!)  You can read about it in my most recent post, and see all the cool stuff we’ve been learning about tile.

To continue my rant about the lady’s room, they paired the metallic black/brown tile with the textured pieces along the center and then added apple red paint on the top. The surprising design choice was the black and white floral wall paper on the ceiling, but it totally worked! It was a very visually intriguing bathroom to say the least, and we could tell the designer had done their research (and had guts to pair such contrasting materials). They used a variety of different colors and textures, but it is obvious that they knew what they were doing because the combination was unusual, but visually stimulating at the same time. (Call this my ‘Aha moment’)

Then we headed over to the Sterling Interior Design Library to get some ideas for two of our clients.

You can see in this photo it is a very busy place, with tons or resources, catalogues, and samples to thumb through.  The back wall is painted with white board paint, and there is a huge skylight that adds natural light so we can see how things will look in natural daylight. We were checking out some sophisticated and masculine wallpaper options for a C.E.O’s office in a downtown Mortgage Company, and we found some really unusual textured wallpaper made from products like leather, cork, crystals, and finely spun metallics that will be fun to try to work into our new design.

This textured wall covering didn’t really fit the category of “masculine” but it was definitely one of my favorites! It had a  bubbly, rough texture, and the colors were really crystalline and vintage looking. I instantly visualized it in the powder room of an upscale New York city apartment or perhaps in a pricey vintage boutique in Soho or San Francisco.  My favorite color here was called  “Satellite!”

As I watch Tamara and learn what kinds of things a “real” interior designer does, I am realizing all of those long hours slaving over drawings and models in my design classes are really going to pay off because I LOVE what I do!

My goal is to become so well versed in the local resources and connections of the San Diego Design world that I will be able to visit designer showrooms on my own to collect samples and specify products for Tamara’s future interior design projects, and someday my own.

Thank you, dear readers, for following to see what we’re up to!  If you have any suggestions for things you would like to hear & see more about, or places you would like to visit via our blog please let me know.  Your comments and suggestions are always welcome 🙂

Kind Regards, Ericka