THINGS TO KNOW
Welcome To The Casa Vilora Interiors Family!
Here Are Some Important Things That You Should Know
The design process is no "one size fits all".
Because each project is unique and each client is unique, there are variables that will affect the outcome of each design project. With over 16 years of experience, we know what to expect in most cases, and we have refined a process that we know works for the best outcome. We are very diligent about transparency, communication, and setting expectations upfront, so that we are on the same page, and no surprises can creep in. Nothing catches us off-guard.
We created this as a resource page for our clients and prospects to visit at their own leisure, and get a good understanding of what to expect during the design process.Our "Design Process" page also has a step by step guide of how we navigate each project to keep things on track.
The initial email you send us or phone call you make to us is a great opportunity for us to get to learn a bit about your project and what you are hoping to achieve. It is somewhat of an interview process, where you are assessing if we are the right fit for your project, as well as our assessment of whether we are the firm that can best meet your goals. We pride ourselves on being flexible and working with all design styles, different budget ranges, and different personalities. Of course you are welcomed to book a free 30 minute discovery session where we dig a bit deeper into your vision for your project. We do offer in studio consultations that you can also book. They are also free, however, we ask for a payment of $95 to secure time on our calendar, and that is fully refunded as long as you honor your appointment scheduled.
The Consultation (usually 2-3 weeks of the initial contact)
The in home consultation is a very important part of the design process. In fact, we don't ever skip this step on full service projects. It is our opportunity to see your home first hand, and start the conceptual process. It is an information filled session where we provide you with our best ideas and expert insights for your project. This is why we ask for a fee to cover the time and expertise we invest in this step. We also take this time to talk about the design process, and what to expect. All our design advice happens onsite verbally, and our obligation ends at the end of the meeting. However, you may request a written outline of our design advice at an additional fee. We also send you a Fee Proposal to initiate the process of working together on your project.
The Fee Proposal (usually 2-5 days from the consultation)
The Fee Proposal is very much like an estimate, where we provide you with an outline of the scope of work and the minimum estimated number of hours it will take to complete the work. The scope is based on what we discussed during the consultation. It is nearly impossible to accurately estimate the number of hours your project will take, but we pull from our past experience with similar projects and the pace at which we know we work to make our best guess. The number of hours we estimate within the proposal is the minimum we will bill you for. However, if we do go above these hours, we will continue to bill at our standard rate. We basically will notify you as we are nearing the end of the estimated hours, and will provide you with a new estimate of the time remaining to complete your project. That must be paid in full once we invoice you. In order for us to begin the design of your project, 50%-100% of your design fee is due.
Working With Trades People
One of the key things that we will discuss at the consultation is whether you will supply the general contractor for your project or you would like recommendations from us. We are happy to work either way. Whatever route you choose, you will be entering into agreements directly with the general contractor. While we do not provide general contracting services, we remain actively involved in the process of onboarding and will act as your advisor if you so choose. We will guide you on what to look for as you make your hiring decision and even review their bids for accuracy. We will provide drawings and design details and will plan meetings and site visits to ensure we are all on the same page.
There are certain specialty trades people that we will hire through our firm. This includes finish carpenter, finish painter, wallpaper hanger, electrician for installation of decorative lighting only, upholsterer, seamstress and art installer
The Site Measure and Planning Day (Usually 2-3 weeks after the Fee Proposal has been approved and fee advance received)
Once we receive the deposit on our design fee, that signals the start of the project. We then arrange to have all the specialty trades people that will be involved in the project meet on one day in your home. We typically stagger the time they arrive about 30-45 minutes apart. This is a first-look, brainstorming and ideas session, where we are exploring ideas and concepts and their feasibility before we begin the design process.. You don't have to be present. They typically take measurements and pictures and will provide us with their written estimates after we have provided them with drawings and design concepts.
Our specialty trades people are an integral part of our team, many of whom we have worked with for many years. We work closely with them from the beginning to ensure the best outcome. They offer our firm a reduced rate from retail (what they would normally bill a consumer), so that we can offer you the best rates possible. This is a major benefit to you, because not only are you getting the benefit of us working as a team for the best outcome of your project; you also get it at favorable rates because of our involvement. The term "Specialty Trades or Trades" refers to carpenter, painter, installer, wallpaper hanger, upholsterer, drapery workroom (seamstress). Their written estimate is included as part of the budget breakdown that we will present to you at the Presentation Meeting. Please note that it is an estimate at this time. There is typically another meeting with the trades person, you and us to review the plans and make any necessary changes you may request. Changes usually means a change in cost.
The Presentation Meeting (Usually happens 6-8 weeks after the site measure)
There is a lot of work leading up to this meeting. We carefully listen to your needs and wants to present you with what we like to call the ideal or grand vision, which represents our combined vision for your home. It is the exact design; every single item that we would like to implement in your home. This means many hours of research, drafting, sourcing, communicating with trades, trips to our design centers, ordering and waiting for samples, tweaking and perfecting.
This is also happening in a very tight timeframe. But we love a good challenge. The aim is to address all your functional and style needs. We obviously want you to love it, so we only give you one option, but it is our absolute best option. We feel that the best approach is to spend time perfecting one brilliant option, versus 2 or 3 average options (as some firms do). We are also providing you with the initial budget breakdown. Why initial? Because sometimes we are estimating some costs because there was not adequate time or information available, or remeasures are required once you approve the design, or it is something that we cannot predict. This is especially true for freight charges, installation charges, receiving charges, delivery charges, and other miscellaneous things. We still include a line item to cover these estimated costs in the overall budget. We also will ask for a contingency budget on larger projects (usually 8-10% of the overall budget). It acts as a retainer for unforeseen expenses, and is fully refundable if it is not used. Any additional costs are applied to the contingency budget, and any balance is returned to you after installation.
We require a minimum of 90%-100% of the project budget for procuring goods and hiring trades. 100% is required if more than 25% of the furnishings will be procured through retail sources at your request. This may also mean a higher design fee.
We typically call a budget review meeting later on in the process, especially on larger projects. We find that the best way to manage a project is to not bill continuously and not returning to you for more and more money during the process. Our billing process is very simple. It is as follows:
50-100% of our fees at the signing of the Fee Proposal
The balance of our design fee at the Presentation Meeting
90-100% of the project budget at the Presentation Meeting
The balance of the project budget 3 weeks before installation (typically when we schedule drapery installation)
If we go over estimated design time - 100% of the estimated fees for remaining design time once we invoice you
Any cost adjustments to estimates happen one to three weeks after installation. This is especially true for estimates relating to logistics (freight, receiving, storage, delivery)
We typically will have samples of most of the materials we are specifying present at the Presentation Meeting. This includes wallpaper, textiles, paint, wood, tile. Samples are not always available for every product, but will do our best to present you with the best visual aides, including design boards and 3D renderings. In some cases, we will present you with a cutting of textiles for approval. This means that we have the cutting from the exact fabric roll we will be purchasing, sent to verify that the color is true to the sample you were shown.
Revisions (Usually within a week of the Presentation Meeting)
One round of revisions is included in your design fee estimate. Revisions mean a few changes to the original plan. Any major changes will add more design time and additional fees will be assessed. We will meet again to review the new plan including revisions and the new budget breakdown.
The Procurement Of Products (Usually within a week of receiving your deposit on the project budget)
The project management phase begins. This phase typically involves creating tons of purchase orders. One product can mean 3 or more purchase orders due to the components involved. For example a sofa with 4 pillows would most likely include one purchase order for the frame, one purchase order for the main fabric, and at least one purchase order for the pillows and trim. Multiply this by the hundreds of products we are ordering for you, and you will get an understanding of what is involved in getting a space from the "before" to the beautiful rooms you see in our portfolio.
In addition, each vendor sends us an acknowledgement that they received our order, then a sales order, then a shipping acknowledgement. Each one requires that we double check, pay for the product, and then track the order until it arrives. Most products go to our warehouse where they receive, unbox, inspect and note any damages or flaws, dispose of all the packaging, assemble anything that arrives unassembled, and then notify us of the arrival. Then rewrap each item and store until installation day. We have a very strict process for tracking all these products that we receive for our projects.
Products do arrive damaged more times than you would expect. They are shipped on 53' trucks that are packed to capacity and damage can happen during transit. We do notify vendors of damages and either a new item is sent out, or we make arrangements to fix minor damages locally. We have an excellent repairman that we work with. Of course, we are often ordering custom, so custom pieces arriving damaged can seriously affect our timeline. You will be notified of any change to the timeline due to goods arriving damaged, but these issues are typically resolved in the projected timeframe.
Fabrics for custom drapery, local upholstery and custom pillows arrive to us. We inspect and tag item and prepare all the necessary work order for custom work. We then deliver to our workroom for fabrication and check in on the progress every couple of weeks.
When we procure permanent finish materials for a kitchen and bath remodel, this typically means slab yard visits to choose the slab for natural stone, verifying colors together before ordering and choosing grout colors. We also make site visits to verify materials that were delivered on site and check that materials are being installed to our specifications.
We typically procure items through our trusted "to-the-trade" vendors. To the trade means that they only sell to designers and architects - some to online retailers as well as local retailers. We frequently go to Markets such as High Point Market, Las Vegas Market and Dallas Market to get acquainted with these vendors and their products, so that we can confidently specify them. We try to have a wide range pf products available because we deal with a wide range of budget ranges.
These days, with the supply chain delays, we run into items that are on backorder quite frequently. In this event, we make the decision whether to wait for the item, or re-select another item. We will discuss this with you, especially when the expected receiving date is unconfirmed. Many times we will recommend waiting if it is expected within a reasonable time frame or because of the unique nature of the item. This can present an issue later if there are further delays with the back order, which is a bit more common these days. We make decisions regarding back orders that will be in the best interest of the project and the timeline we have established.
Discontinued items is also another reality of the procurement phase. In this event, we will check with our vendor to see if there is any stock available. In some cases, that is a possibility, but we typically need to re-select another item. We try our best to check stock on items before presenting them to you, but we don't always know about discontinued items, or backorders until we place the actual orders.
Initial Installations (Usually 2-5 months after initial orders)
This stage of the process was about 10-12 weeks just two or so years ago, but that has changed dramatically due to the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain. Long delays are just a reality of the industry these days. An average full service design project will run about 6-9 months or more.
In this stage, we are installing certain items that must be installed before the big installation day - wallcoverings, millwork, paint, carpeting, decorative lighting, and custom drapery. Custom drapery requires attention, and we therefore schedule installation about 3-4 weeks prior to the official installation day, where we focus only on that part of the project. We are usually onsite to check in on the installation. Our seamstress is onsite for the duration of the installation.
Installation Day (Usually two weeks after initial installations)
Installation day is the culmination of all our ideas and hard work coming together for a final, beautiful finish. We finally get to see our vision come alive!
There is a lot that leads up to installation day - coordinating our installers and warehouse personnel. Typically we receive reports from our warehouse as items arrive, which we check off our master list. Once everything is in, we send our warehouse delivery instructions, a list of the items to be delivered, and schedule a delivery date. We also visit the warehouse the day prior to installation, after all items have been pulled, to conduct our own quality check before items arrive at your home. We notify you immediately of the date. We send you an installation day checklist, as there are things you may need to do to prepare for the big day. We prefer if you are not home for installation day, because it tends to be a very overwhelming scene before the pretty happens, plus, we love for you to have that element of surprise that further enhances your experience working with us. Our warehouse personnel places all items and we then clean up and style to perfection.
Some styling items, which are the small items used to style shelves and table tops, are usually purchased a few days prior to installation day. This means that you have not seen and approved these items beforehand. We try to use any meaningful accessories that you own first, and then fill in with the small styling items. We typically include an estimate in the original budget for purchasing these styling items, but we will often spend more than we have in the budget to make sure we have enough of a selection on installation day. Because these items are smaller, we usually have to try them out in place to decide if they will work with the overall room design or not.
We will for any styling items that we installed that was above the amount that we estimated in the budget. We will provide you with details in this case on installation day.
Reveal And Walk Through (Usually happens the same day as installation)
We will call you home to see your beautiful new space following the installation. This is an exciting, and sometimes emotional moment. We will give you time to take it all in, but we will also take the time to do a room by room walk through, where we will give you information such as - how to care for your new furniture, any special features you need to know about, and for you to point out any flaws that you may notice etc.
Third Day Check-In (3 Days After Installation)
We will check in three days after installation to make sure you are still enjoying your newly designed home. We will provide you with your full product listing in a pdf document, and any warranty information available to us.
We will also discuss a good time to schedule photography.
Resolve Deficiencies (30 Days)
If any deficiencies were noted during walk through or at our 3rd day check-in, we will arrange with the trades person or vendor involved to resolve issues with 30 days. This timeframe could be more or less depending on what the issue is, but we will keep in close communications with you through to final resolution.
Photography is a very important part of the process for our firm. We get the opportunity to capture the space in all its beauty, which is a key tool in our branding and marketing efforts.
We try to get photography done within 2 weeks of installation, however these days, due to the supply chain delays, we are usually waiting for some final pieces to arrive.
Depending on how many spaces, we completed for you, it could last 2-6 hours.
Photography does involve some re-styling, just for the purpose of our branding, and it can be as active as installation day. For that reason, we ask our clients to take the day away if possible. You can be assured that we will return your home to the beautiful space we left you with on installation day.
The timelines we provide in the beginning of the project are estimates. We try to account for any potential delays, but we cannot be sure what delays will occur and for how long. We will communicate with you along the way, especially when there are delays
The normal timeframe on each project varies depending on the amount of construction, and custom work involved. Here is a breakdown of a typical timeline not including construction
THE INITIAL CONTACT
2-3 weeks later - THE CONSULTATION
2-5 days later - THE FEE PROPOSAL SENT
2-3 weeks later - THE SITE MEASURE
6-8 weeks later - THE DESIGN PRESENTATION
1-3 weeks later - THE REVISION AND NEW PRESENTATION -
1-2 weeks later - PROCUREMENT
2-8 months later - INITIAL INSTALLATION
6 -8months later - FINAL INSTALLATION
1 month later - RESOLVE DEFICIENCIES
2 weeks later PROJECT CLOSURE AND PHOTOGRAPHY
This is roughly a total of 6-8 months or so from the initial contact
Communication Between Us
This best way to communicate with us is through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This way, we have a written record and can track all conversations in one place. Of course if text messages is your preferred way to communicate, you are welcomed to send us text messages, which we will respond to, but we will follow up via email. We however, do discourage text messages, as they are often received while we are away from the office and can create delays.
We will respond to messages during business hours only M-F 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Please do not hesitate to call if you an emergency arises.
We will send you twice monthly status emails about the progress of your project. We may call other meetings as needed to review or go over certain items in person. Because we value the fact that you have entrusted the project into our capable hands, we will not overwhelm you, or bombard you with minor details that we can simply make the right decisions on, unless you specifically prefer for us to get you involved.
Main Contact For Communications
During the onboarding process, we will want to know if all communications will go through all parties involved, or one main contact person. We do encourage all decision-makers to be present during the initial phase of defining your style and functional needs, and during the presentation and budget meetings, but we do understand that your schedule may not permit.
We are flexible and will work with you in the way that is most convenient for you.
A Note About The Supply Chain Delays
The supply chain disruptions continue to keep us on our toes. It continues to be a topic of discussion in the design communities online that I am a part of.
We designers want nothing more than to create beautiful spaces for our clients to enjoy for years to come. And we want to accomplish that in a reasonable timeframe because we know that our clients are excited to get to that gorgeous reveal day!
But a lot has changed in the last 24 months.
In our 16 years of running a design business, we have never quite seen anything like this. But when you are passionate and run your business with heart and service to your clients, nothing catches you off-guard. We, here at Casa Vilora Interiors, are working hard behind the scenes to keep things moving as best as we can through the project life cycle.
Our goal of getting you to a final, gorgeous finish that represents your dream, lifestyle and taste, has never changed. And we are more diligent than ever to get you there without stress and headaches.
We won't pretend that there aren't some rough days, and may be even more coming, but you are still in the best position working with our team with the resources, connections, knowledge, expertise and the strong desire to make it so you don't have to lift a finger.
As we continue to see delays - some as far out as 9 months, we have tightened up our already very air-tight processes.
Very selective about the vendors and brands that we work with. They must share the same vision we have for our clients and their needs.
We keep in constant communication with our vendors and track our open orders more regularly and diligently.
We adapt quickly as needed.
We keep in constant communication with our clients.
We set expectations from the beginning so there are no surprises during the processes.
We provide concierge level service - planning installations carefully and bringing in "loaner" pieces as needed from our inventory.
Regardless of the delays and matters out of our control, we are solutions people at heart, and we will continue to work hard for our clients and show up for them daily.
It is still a great time to move forward with your dream of a beautiful home, so don't let these challenges scare you. You can leave your design dreams in our capable hands.