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Chronicles of a Home Renovation Project: Meeting an Interior Designer

Last modified: 2020-12-08 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Léa Plourde-Archer

After months of preparing for our big renovation project, we finally got down to business and met with an interior designer. We chose to work with Vivre Autrement, a company led by designer Valérie Bourget.

In this column, we will discuss the different stages of the process when you decide to hire an interior designer. I will also show you examples of plans from which we were able to choose as well as a few photos from our meetings.

If you haven't read the other articles in this series, click here.

Why do business with an interior designer?

First of all, it is important to establish a few elements. No, "interior designer" is not a synonym for a decorator. They are two very different jobs. We have also devoted a full article to this subject if you are interested.

A designer will think about the logistical aspects of the layout, while also working to create a cohesive decor.

There are several benefits associated with working with an interior designer on a large or medium-sized renovation project.

Here are the main advantages:

  • They have lots of experience in creating logical, practical and attractive layouts.
  • They can create specific plans that will be followed by the contractors.
  • Even if you pay for their services, you could save a lot of money overall because they will help you make better decisions for your project.

To illustrate this last advantage, it is interesting to compare the plan that we had first considered, before seeing those presented by the designer (see the first article in the series). 

We planned to remove several walls, including load-bearing walls in order to create an open layout in certain parts of the house. However, the new plan requires a lot less major work, so the final amount we will shell out will likely be reduced to the order of tens of thousands of dollars.

Here is another article posted on our blog that may help you decide if you want to work with an interior designer:

Interior designer plans

Why did we choose this designer? 

I have always been interested in decor and interior design, to the point of thinking of becoming an interior designer myself when I was a teenager. However, once I understood that I would have to improve my maths skills, I quickly became disillusioned.

Despite this change of professional direction, I always had fun decorating and rearranging the environments in which I lived, so I was afraid to entrust this task to another person. I absolutely had to find someone whose designs matched my tastes and who would understand my style.

As soon as I looked at the Vivre Autrement portfolio, I knew we could work together. Her calm and open personality convinced me even more.

When it comes to selecting the expert with whom you will collaborate, whether it is a contractor, an architect or a designer, it is important to find a person you trust and with whom you feel that you can communicate.

This is all the more important given that they will design the place where you'll be living! 

What type of service is offered?

Most designers will offer several levels of service, adapting to your needs. There are usually package options and individual services that can be added or paid for separately.

Here are some examples of services offered by most interior designers, including the one we did business with:

  • Feasibility study
  • Creation of plans (2D and 3D layouts)
  • Furniture design
  • Consulting service
  • Decoration and choice of colours
  • On-site management
  • Choice of materials

We opted for a package including the feasibility study, a consulting service and the creation of plans.

Examples of materials presented by interior designer 01

Did we already have an idea of ​​the design we wanted before we met her?

Since interior design is a hobby for me, I had already concocted plans for our renovation project. Some ideas were important to me, but I was still open to hearing other ideas and perspectives, so it wasn't too difficult to let another person take the reins of the design aspect of the project.

During the first meetings, we sent her all the documents we'd already prepared, the sketches, the links to our Pinterest account and so on. Soon afterwards, she visited our condo in its current state to create her plans, but also to get an idea of ​​our taste in terms of home decor.

Are we going to follow the plans?

Valérie presented 5 plans, some of which were similar and others that were rather different from what we had initially considered. Without even consulting each other, my husband and I fell in love with the first plan on the list, even though it was the one that was furthest from our initial idea! We knew then that this was the plan that would work best for us. 

We did not opt ​​for the package where the designer will manage the work on-site, so from the moment the concrete aspect of carrying out the project is launched, our contractor will be tasked with following the plans. If you prefer your designer to be present throughout the process, most of these experts offer this kind of service, so be sure to ask!

However, we plan to follow the design created by Valérie and her colleague Mathilde. Of course, it could be that during the course of the work, we have to change some elements according to the obstacles that we encounter or the suggestions of the contractors who will work on the project. That said, we will always want to respect the plan provided by Vivre Autrement as much as possible.

Examples of materials presented by interior designer 02

How did we find the experience?

This is the first time that we have worked with an interior designer for a home renovation project. Having collaborated with this type of expert on a commercial project, we already had some idea of ​​how the process would unfold, but since this time, we're renovating the place where we live, the stakes were somewhat different.

First, I must say that we are really happy to have entrusted the task to Valérie and Mathilde. While listening to our needs and preferences, they demonstrated their experience by presenting us with intelligent layout plans and materials that we would not necessarily have thought of, but which we really liked!

Get 3 renovation quotes for your home renovation project and to find an interior designer

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