Types of design services

A design project has numerous phases to it; design, planning, management, procurement, supervision etc. Each of these has its own set of challenges. As a designer, the fee you charge would be based on the combination of service you provide to the client during the course of the project. For a majority of clients, one of these three service packages will fulfill their requirements:

  • Pure design consultancy
  • Design plus management
  • Design-build (turnkey)

The main concern here is your time. You are charging the client for your time, but if there is a misunderstanding on the amount of time the client expects versus what you are offering, things can fall apart very quickly.

In my early days of running a design studio I was often confused about which type of design service to offer my clients. Often I would ask them directly, but obviously that was a bad idea. As a professional you need to be able to gauge the level of interest, involvement and capability of the client. So in this post I’ll share my thoughts on the three common types of design services and what to keep in mind when choosing between them.

  1. Design consultancy 

Just design, the client is able to execute the project without you, he just needs design ideas and a few material options before he takes the project forward. You’ll create the concepts, spec sheet and all the supporting drawings and 3D’s. You should set a limit to the number of revisions and be extremely frugal about your time on site. None of the contractors or vendors will be appointed, negotiated or managed by you. Offer three or four site visits, just to make sure things conform to the designs, but also offer a pay per visit option in case more visits are required.

This is an efficient way to work on a project, you are able to focus on the creative part of the project and leave the tedious site work to the client and his team. Overall this works out more economical for the client as well.

Be careful about the project budget here, if your designs don’t fit into the client’s budget then they are useless to him, so start with a project estimate before getting into the design process, otherwise you’ll be stuck redesigning the entire project. Also, your drawings will have to be accurate and clear, otherwise any errors in your drawings will get executed the same way and you won’t be around to make the necessary adjustments.

This works with a very limited number of clients, usually clients who have managed construction project before with offices and assistants who can take over the project management, vendor appointment, procurement, rate analysis, negotiation etc. Be careful when assessing whether a project is suited to this model. Every client thinks they can manage their own project, but when things get rough they expect their designers to step in to handle all the on-site problems, which is fine as long as the fee is high enough or the client is willing to renegotiate.

  1. Design plus management 

This is the most common model followed. You design the project, source the products, coordinate with the contractors, and are a constant presence through-out the cycle of the project. You will help the client negotiate with all the vendors but won’t get involved in payments, all bills will be raised to the client and he will make payments directly. This type of a project will take up a lot of your time and mindspace so charge accordingly.

The main difference between this model and the previous one is that you are responsible for managing the work on site, which includes appointing the contractors and vendors. The best part about this process is that you are in control of the project and its outcome.

Site visits are still tricky so be clear about how many visits you are offering, but account for about twice those many visits. You will have to explain the difference between project management and site supervision to the client; ideally it is the client who appoints a site supervisor, but if the client expects you to have the site supervised then charge him a monthly fee, to cover the cost of a daily supervisor, over and above your design fee.

Also be very clear about who gets to pick the vendors. In this model it is always best to get your own teams involved as you are comfortable with them and know their strengths and weaknesses. If the client insists on having some or all of the vendors appointed by him then make sure you still reserve the right to refuse anyone who doesn’t follow your protocols. Contractors who are appointed by the clients directly will avoid coming to your office for planning meetings, they expect you to be on site whenever they need you.

This model works best for clients who live close to the construction site and are generally available and willing to be involved but still understand that they need professional help at every step. As mentioned earlier, this is the most successful model I have come across; it allows the client to have some level of control without having to take on the burden of project management. He is involved in every step so is less likely to feel cheated, atleast not by you.

  1. Design/Build (Turnkey)

In this model the client pays you the entire project budget and leaves the design and execution completely up to you, profits come from the difference between the estimated and actual cost. On paper this sounds easy, but in fact it can be quite challenging. You will be responsible for all aspects of the project and won’t need to run minor decisions by the client. You can buy the products from wherever you want, appoint teams as you please and organize the project schedule to your convenience. The client has agreed to pay you a certain amount and in return you have agreed to handover the project by a certain date.

These kinds of projects are inherently full of hidden costs and escalations. It’s almost impossible to forecast the contingency expenses and budget overruns that might occur on site, and one has to budget for a high profit margin just to account for this. Also, you will need to be very specific about product brands for fixtures and appliances, any changes in the agreed upon brands will be viewed with suspicion. Project delays are another big concern as a lot of delays are caused by the client themselves or by situations outside your control, such as the recent lockdowns.

Be very clear about the payment schedule. Any delay in payments will throw the project off completely, so try and setup the payment schedule accordingly and insist on being paid on time. Also it’s best to have your accountant involved from day one. There will be hundreds of bills on either side and without proper accounting you might end up paying more taxes than necessary. You will also need your accountant to explain the details to the client at the time of billing.

This model works best for NRI’s or outstation clients who basically aren’t around to interfere. If the client lives in the same city and seems like they will be on site often, avoid making any hard commitments on time and budgets.

 

So that’s it from me, hope this was helpful. We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments below.

 

 

 

Vaastu tips for your apartment projects

As an apartment owner there’s not much you can control in terms of room orientations, plumbing, entrance direction etc. Still it’s important to bring as much positive energy into your home as possible. With this in mind we’ve curated some Vaastu tips that are relevant for all types of apartments.

1] Never have exposed beams visible in your home, in case you do, consider a false ceiling with recessed lights.

2] Recommended vaastu colors are blue, green and yellow.

So find ways to incorporate these into your interior palette. Avoid painting any wall black.

3] Wooden furniture in regular shapes are good for harmony, avoid round or oval shaped furniture. Sheesham, Chandan, Sagawan, Sal or neem wood are auspicious types of wood for homes. Keep furniture atleast three inches away from walls.

4] Place mirrors on north and east walls only, as positive energy comes in from these directions and you don’t want to reflect those away. Use square or rectangular shaped mirrors and place them 4-5 feet above the floor. Don’t place mirrors opposite your bed.

5] Cleanliness is important. Make sure wall paint, flooring, appliances etc. are fresh and well maintained. Dirt and faulty electrical appliances attract negative energy.

6] In the kitchen, place the cooking hob in the south east, cooking should be done facing east. North east direction is best for kitchen sink

Hope these help you create a positive home that brings prosperity and good health for you and your family.

Picking the right color palette

Picking the right color palette and style is key for a good renovation project. But most of us are confused about how to go about this, It’s hard to know where to begin; here is our advice on how to get started.

Inspiration piece

This is a great way to begin. Think about an artifact, a piece of furniture, a rug, lamp, clock, anything that you already own or plan to get for this room, once you have this in mind use it as a jumping off point and pick a color that either compliments this piece or contrasts with it. Your room style should also be in line with the style of the selected inspiration piece.

 

References

In case you don’t have an inspiration piece in mind, you can browse reference images and identify a primary room color that you would like to incorporate into the design.

Complete the mood board

Mood boards are made up of colors, textures and patterns that define the style and design of the room. Once you have a picked a primary color you’ll need to create the entire mood board to complete the design, the color palette will be a set of colors that are either monochromatic (shades of the same color), analogous (corresponding colors) or contrasting the primary color selected.  The patterns and textures are derived from your preferences of style (contemporary, minimalist, classical etc.) and habits.

Hope this gets you inspired and helps you get started on designing your dream home.

12 Balcony Design Ideas your clients will Love

Here are some balcony design ideas which we have curated from various online sources. We hope you like them!

Balcony design with a bamboo wall, swing sofa, wooden and pebble flooring (source: Cuded)

 

Rustic balcony design with some plants, wooden flooring, and raw wood furniture (source: Cuded)

 

European balcony design with some plants, magazine rack and basic furniture (source: DecHQ)

 

Balcony design with a wooden feature wall, log wood table, and bench seating (source: DecHQ)

 

Balcony designed centered around colorful furniture and decor (source: DesignRulz)

 

Balcony design with plant beds and artificial grass (source: DesignRulz)

 

Balcony design with metallic orange furniture and a colorful rug (source: DigDig)

 

Balcony design with simplistic modern furniture and plants to liven the space (source: DigDig)

 

Balcony design with a metallic mesh screen, outdoor rug, kitchen herb garden, and simple furniture (source: MigDesign)

 

Balcony design for the golfing enthusiast (source: Orvis Grand)

 

Chic, modern balcony design with glass windows, and a metal-wood fusion rack and black patterned tiles (source: Slideco)

 

Modern Balcony design with a wooden feature wall, plant racks, full glass windows (source: Urban Ladder)

 

Checklist when Starting your Interior Design Project

If you’re starting to plan your renovation, here’s a starting checklist which will help you get off the ground and also help you plan the early phases of getting your project off the ground.

General

  • List out your scope of work so you don’t forget when talking to a designer/contractor
  • Meet 2 contractors and get quotes
  • Think about where you will store all your stuff (if any) in the rooms/apartment you plan to renovate
  • Think about where you will stay during the renovation

Budgeting

  • Pick a tentative budget, keeping something aside for décor and furniture, after you have a rough estimate of what things cost (for which you can use the BuildingBlox estimator)
  • Identify what you want to retain in the existing home, this could be furniture, flooring, woodwork, doors, windows, electrical wiring etc. this will help you remove these items from the budget and get a more reasonable quote.
  • Determine the goals of the project (e.g. increase storage, modernize space). This will allow for a meaningful discussion with your team, as well as prioritize decisions

Design

  • Browse the internet for room design ideas; this will help in creating the final look and feel of your space
  • Think of a color palette; pick a primary color for the room and some complimentary colors to match

Balcony Design Ideas for Home

The balconies in our homes are often significantly under-utilized, mostly because we don’t know what to do with them. If you live in a city like New Delhi where the heat can be extreme and the winters quite chilly, that problem is compounded because your window to use the balcony is not very long. Yet a nice balcony design can accentuate your adjoining room and bring a cozy feel to the apartment. Here are some of the major components of balcony designs that help define that look.

Plants

Balcony plants are one of the best ways to make your space come alive and break the monotony of bricks and concrete. Depending on the season, flower pots can add a lovely burst of freshness. You can also buy colorful pots to give that pop of color. Get creative and hang planters on the wall or from the ceiling instead of putting them on the floor. Depending on how far you’d like to go, you could even construct a green wall.

Source: digsdigs.com

Balcony Furniture

Instinctively you might think of putting a couple of chairs and a small table in your balcony, but you can vary it up with a Chaise lounger or a small foldable table for your laptop. You have plenty of options to play with in terms of colors and materials of furniture; there’s the cane furniture look, or the eclectic color look, or ethnic Indian look, or the modern straight line feel.

Source: onekindesign.com

 

Flooring

The balconies of your house probably come with standard tile flooring but you could modernize it with the wooden look, or even consider putting a rug. Though the latter may be tedious to maintain and keep clean. Artificial grass also a popular option these days if you’re going for a garden theme.

Source: home-designing.com

Décor

Like with every room, the décor is one of the final elements which help your room really come together. Balcony décor elements to play with include cushion covers, pots, lamps, and even rocks/stones.

Source: decorating-hq.com

Wardrobe Design for a man’s closet

Designing the perfect wardrobe in a limited amount of space is the key to keeping your clothes well organised and always looking your best. These tips should help you plan the perfect closet.

Modular Wardrobe

As a general rule a man’s closet should be modular and divided into 2 sections, the larger area should be dedicated to hanging space and a smaller section should be given to shelves and drawers. The main hanging space can be divided in two halves (top and bottom) as nothing in a man’s closet is longer than a shirt, at the bottom of the hanging space one can plan a shoe drawer which does not need to extend beyond the height of a running shoe. The open shelves are used for casual wear like t-shirts, shorts etc. and drawers for underwear, socks etc.

Reach-in8

Maximise Hanging Space in your Closet

For men it’s all about hanging, provide the most amount of hanging space for jackets, shirts, pants, suits etc.

Organizing Accessories in the Cupboard

Belts, socks, ties etc. tend to get lost easily in unorganised closets. The key is to keep them visible and easily accessible. For ties and belts use efficient slide out racks. For socks and briefs use compartmentalised drawers to make sure they are all in pairs and easy to find.

ec_666

ec_550

Shoe Storage

Men’s shoes tend to be simple and don’t usually extend beyond the height of your average padded running shoe, so build a show drawer across the whole closet to maximise shoe space.

Packing Away Seasonal Clothes

If your closet height is more than 7 feet add a loft area on top for seasonal clothes like sweaters and jackets.

IMG_3376

These basic principles can be achieved in a number of configurations, so browse through options online and find the one that suits your requirements. If you have more space some of these concepts can be extended to a walk-in-closet.

 

Interior design to match your personality

Interior design matters. After all, the environment you create for yourself ends up shaping you. So be mindful of what your preferences are. To help with this we have some suggestions on what interior design style will match your personality.

For the creative extrovert
The creative extrovert loves being around people. They relish change and use their imagination to solve problems. They don’t believe in To Do lists, and want everyone around them to get along. They also tend to avoid commitment.
Your interior design style
Your home should reflect your infectious enthusiasm. You are a risk taker, so use bold colors and forms to decorate, your space should excite you! Infuse your home with personal memories, photos, objects and maps that reflect your journey. Make sure to secure a command center to keep yourself organized, weather a desk or a room, have a space that’s just for you. Create multiple sitting areas around the house as you will most likely always have company.

vardo-farrow-and-ball

Check out this blog on Boho-Chic design style that is sure to match this personality type.

For the introvert who is in control
You love your ‘me’ time, have fact driven conversations and live in the present. Overall you tend to be task oriented and are obsessed with getting things done.
Your interior design style
You strive for tranquility, so choose peaceful colors and decor. Use heavy doors that make you feel secure. You appreciate structure and logic so arrange your furniture symmetrically and create a uniform theme for your apartment. Display pictures of loved ones to stay reminded of their presence. You crave for order so keep your interiors minimal and de cluttered.

transitional-bedroom

 

For the relaxed introvert If you think a lot before every move, prefer one on one chats to large groups, are creative, sensitive and don’t get things done till the last minute.
Your interior design style
You like to decorate with unique pieces that reflect your socially conscious personality. You like to reflect on things by writing or sketching (or some other creative but quiet hobby) so make sure you have the right space for this. Your interiors need to be restful, so use neutral and subtle colors. You like uncluttered spaces and tend to prefer beauty over function, so go ahead and get that marble counter you love even if it’s more expensive and harder to maintain.

b116ff9ad3e890d29b3a09c95cb76a51

For the extrovert who loves their to-do lists
You draw energy from larger groups, use common sense to get to practical solutions, base all decisions on facts and accept conflict as part of relationships and life. Generally you get things done on time.
Your interior design style
Your home should reflect strength, so keep things neat and organized. You love entertaining big groups so plan a large dining/ gathering area. A guest bedroom is key to maintaining your status as a great host. You aren’t an out of the box kind of person, so avoid crazy decorating choices as you won’t appreciate it. Stay on top of things with calendars, clocks and mirrors. Display your achievements for all to see.

dining-room-wall-decor-ideas-hanging-lamp-large-round-table-bedroom-mirror-standing-lamp-pub-chair-ceramic-floor-flower-vase-blue-wall-storage-cabinet

Hope you are able to find the right tips to suit your personality. Of course these are generalized assumptions that might not always hold true, but if nothing else this will get you thinking about design in a much more personalized way.

 

Maximize your bathroom storage

While bathrooms are usually the smallest room in the house, they tend to have a lot of stuff in them and usually this leads to clutter, everyone would love a little more space in the bathroom, but most of us don’t have the luxury of a large apartments with ample square feet available. Here are some ideas on how to maximize storage space in smaller bathrooms and make them feel more functional and spacious.

Use narrow cabinets to fit into wasted spaces, maximize every square inch.

930332caa435807c62e3a21b419d15a1

Add a shelf above your sink, this can be used for placing items that are needed often.

d8f82361b2f5924ea272a65bab002025--bathroom-organization-bathroom-shelves

Use spice racks for makeup and toiletries.

8b0567912a86d0f5728801ff11ae0c4a--bathroom-counter-organization-organization-hacks

Hang your towels behind the door, why waste wall space when you can use the door.

c71b9c567ed9159194e082d465458350

Increase the hanging rod space.

1358ec96f8b40b9e792d4d8d06c0b49c

Stick shelving above your door, another space that is usually wasted.

d442536db1e3291d7a8dd988785419e3

Maximize the area above your toilet, don’t neglect this space.

b98b1925f94617d8ad5840198754f519

Medicine cabinets are a classic space saving item, there are quite a few designs available in the market.

7481444cbad2d93751e58dfb83829458

 

Add a long cabinet to your bathroom vanity, if you have a little space after your sink dont waste it.

43f783bffc724c882432802ab30ae9c6

 

We hope these tips will help make your bathroom experience more pleasant! Let us know if you have some innovative ideas to maximise bathroom storage in the comments section.

Bathroom standards to keep in mind

Bathrooms are important to get right, a badly designed bathroom can get you off on the wrong foot each and every day. Keeping this in mind here are a few things you must incorporate into your next bathroom remodelling project.
Bathroom Colors

3dfe66ac98b0b93343bfef9273b499a8--honeycomb-tile-hexagon-tiles
Pick the right colors to reflect your personality. Weather you go for a contemporary charcoal and white palette or a Mediterranean blue theme take the time out to research your color choice and if possible find the right reference image to start with.
Bathroom Clearances
Make sure basic standards are met. Here is a list of things that you must make sure of:
WC location – Minimum 20 inches is recommended from the center of the toilet to the nearest wall or obstruction.  This means a span of 40 inches is recommended for the toilet.  The recommended clearance in front of the toilet is 30 inches.
Toilet paper holder – The standard placement is 8-12 inches from the front of the toilet seat to the center line of the toilet paper holder, at a height of 26 – 30 inches.
Standard washbasin height – Standard vanity height or washbasin height starts at about 30 inches high and goes up to say 43 inches.  At the lower heights most people will have to stoop to use the sink. Standard vanity cabinet depth is 2 ft.
Standard Shower dimensions – The minimum recommended size is 32 x 32 inches. If you can fit in a rectangular shower of 36 inches by 48 inches or larger you’ll be more comfortable.
Note: Shower enclosure door should open outwards (for unobstructed entry and exit into the wet area)
Bathroom Lighting

gallery_4
Good bathroom lighting needs to be a combination of overhead and task lighting. Use a mounted or recessed light overhead for general illumination. You’ll also want to light the vanity area with some excellent task lighting, which can be a fixture above the mirror or sconces on either side. Additionally, you need to light the shower area with a dedicated overhead light.
You also should avoid light pointing directly down on your head because it will be harsh and unflattering. Instead, position your ceiling light over the walkway area so you’re lit from behind rather than directly in front of the vanity.

We hope these tips will help you with your next project. If you have any suggestions or opinions on this please do share your comments with us, we would love to hear your renovation stories.