Expectations and Reality
“She was interested in how I wanted to live- what my tastes and needs were. She has the quality of furnishings, the convenience, fees and accessibility I wanted. I found Stacey to be an excellent listener, interpreting my likes and dislikes into a wonderful final effect. Stacey’s fees are fair for the work received. She communicated with me every step of the the way, so I felt very much a part of the whole process.”
Ms. S. Updike, Larkspur
Stacey Lapuk, ASID
Stacey Lapuk Interiors and Indigo Interiors Inc. is a full-service design firm specializing in residential interiors for high net-worth individuals and families. Each of our projects are custom designed to meet each of our clients’ unique tastes and needs.
In order to demystify the design process, we have composed a brief explanation about who we are and what we do. Design is an art, a craft, and a business, entailing a process as well as an end product. Clients often have many questions, including the all-important: “How much time can the process be expected to take, and what factors influence the final cost?”
Towards that end, we believe this article will help you navigate your project, from the beginning, through the construction and installation process, purchasing, who’s really in charge.
We pride ourselves in being inventive yet practical designers who employ our experience, expertise, and talents to create appropriate environments for our clients. In order to work together to achieve your dream, we as the designers need certain things from you, the client.
We need you to do your homework: Verbal descriptions of likes, dislikes, needs and wants; visual examples – pictures from magazines or websites, your sketches and swatches. Information about the project: photos, plans, architect and contractor information and the like. The more thorough you can be in the earlier stages, the less time will be spent in fact-gathering and planning, and the more expediently, and cost-effectively, the project will proceed.
Secondly, in the course of the design process we will offer you several options for any particular item based on your requirements and our knowledge of the many options available – whether space, layout, style, color or fabric. There will be many decisions about things you may never have considered before: Do you like this knob or that, this faucet or that, contrasting welts on your sofa or not? You may have strong feelings about each minor detail, or care about some and not others, or not have any interest and prefer we decide based upon our overview of the project. Be assured that we are keeping an eye both on the “macro” and the “micro” so that everything will come together in the end.
In order to do our job efficiently, we need to have your decisions made in a timely manner. If you can’t decide or change your mind, then you must realize that there is a time and cost factor for us to delay, re-draw, re-select, and re-present further options. The decision–making process is critical during the planning stage of a project. If decisions aren’t made or phone calls not returned, we would have to operate on assumptions. We’d prefer not to do so, as we want to be sure to give you exactly what you want (or don’t yet know you want).
Finally, we will gently stretch your perceptions of what a warm, welcoming space can be. We bring our knowledge of color, comfort, function and style to your particular situation, and sometimes a leap of faith will be required. We have been through hundreds of projects. Our experience is that often after completion, clients look back and realize how much they have grown, how wonderful a space can be, and are very glad they have trusted us with the work. We will help you visualize the end result with artist renderings, sketches, drawings, samples, and the like.
The construction & fabrication process
Whether the project involves the start-to-finish construction of a house or pillows for a sofa, it’s best to get it right on paper before any work starts. As experienced design professionals, we can visualize the project in 3-dimensions, and with the use of 2- and 3-dimensional drawings along with finish samples, we communicate the design intent to the client. This is the best way for misunderstandings to be avoided and changes minimized.
In today’s marketplace, very little can be purchased “from stock” or “off-the-shelf”. Once you have decided on a fabric and style for a custom sofa, for example, the process begins. Quality fabrics are often imported, and if not in stock in the U.S., can take as long as 6 months to arrive at the upholsterer, though a more typical time frame is 4-6 weeks. The manufacture of the sofa frame and the upholstery work can be another 8-10 weeks or longer. Of course, shorter time frames are possible, though they typically come with a cost – of quality, “unique-ness” or price.
Custom designs executed by experienced one- or two-man shops can take weeks or months to work up, from concept to shop drawings to detailing, construction and finishing. Often the most talented artists and craftspeople are not sophisticated businesspersons, and do not always perform on time. Of course these are the most sought-after and therefore backlogged suppliers.
We have established relationships with many kinds of suppliers, vendors, artists and craftspeople. Part of the service you receive from Stacey Lapuk Interiors and Indigo Interiors, Inc. is our knowledge of the most reasonably priced and most timely workshops, and our ability to be the squeaky wheel. Even so, expect custom items to take months. It is always worth the wait. There is no mass-manufactured substitute for a custom-designed, handcrafted piece of furniture, carpet or light fixture that was made specifically for you.
Our ultimate goal is to develop a cohesive, functional design plan that can be implemented in a timeframe, budget and style consistent with our clients’ desires. Based on the project, Stacey Lapuk Interiors and Indigo Interiors, Inc. typically bills with a hybrid of a fixed design fee, then on an hourly basis for production and management, as well as for the design of completely custom pieces. Fixed fees for your project are also available whenever possible. Fees are thoroughly described in our agreement. Many clients appreciate setting up an “escrow” account, a separate checking account for your project alone, to keep track of your project and make the best use of your time. Your specific Project Scope and budget will determine which system is best for you.
We offer a completely transparent disclosure of costs and fees. Furnishings, fabrics and other purchases are provided on a cost plus basis. This typically furnishes clients with “discounts” off of a retail price. Additional costs such as packaging, freight and installations will be disclosed in the initial invoice as available. Overall, our fees are commensurate with other design professionals: architects, lighting designers, landscape architects and the like.
Usually, the bulk of fees are incurred during the initial design development and working drawing/specification phases. As your design and options are being created, your investment is at work. When construction and/or fabrication actually starts, if all goes well there will be minimal revisions or addenda to the drawings and materials specifications. This results with substantially less time required for the project as we “measured twice to cut once” in the initial creative phase of your design.
During construction or fabrication, our job is to be your advocate, protecting you and your valuable time by overseeing the work, checking on orders, cuttings and strike-offs, answering detail questions, purchasing products, coordinating contractors, subcontractors, artisans and deliveries.
Stacey Lapuk Interiors and Indigo Interiors, Inc. places product orders for clients after receipt of deposits (or full payments due). Nothing is ordered without your express consent and approval of a product proposal. Also, your payment is, in effect, a confirmation of the order. Most orders are non-cancelable.
We try to make the purchasing process as painless as we can for our clients. There are hundreds of details of an order that need to be double-checked, coordinated, tracked and /or inspected through the manufacturing and shipping process. Our familiarity with the manufacturers and your needs almost always allows problem-free deliveries for you.
Who’s in charge?
Stacey Lapuk Interiors and Indigo Interiors, Inc. role in a project is to work with you, the owner, to realize your ideal environment. It is an interactive process and we either share control with the client, or if preferred, control the entire project seamlessly for the client. The people who assist us are many, but the owner is always the final decision-maker. The owner hires and pays contractors and subcontractors such as electricians and painters. We observe and expedite the progress of the work, to make sure it is proceeding according to schedule and conforms to plans and instructions. The contractors and subcontractors are responsible for proper building practices. All final decisions are deferred to the owner. Stacey Lapuk Interiors and Indigo Interiors, Inc. will act as purchasing agent for tangible products such as lighting fixtures, furniture and custom cabinetry, unless specified otherwise during the initial project scope development phase of your design.
This summary of the process is intended to start us out on the same page so that we can be comfortable in our working relationship, from inception through the successful, beautiful conclusion of your project. We welcome your questions about anything that might be confusing, on any aspect of the work.
Stacey Lapuk, ASID is celebrating her 30th year with her firm. Named “One of America’s Ten Designers To Watch” by Design Times Magazine, one of the “Top 100 Interior Designer in North America” by Blink Art Resources, and the winner of multiple national design awards. Her goal is simple: To co-create with her clients the home of their dreams with responsive and comprehensive solutions, and timeless, beautiful results.
Her full service firm attracts clients desiring the finest workmanship, materials and custom design. Facets of work include partnering with architects on new construction, remodels, kitchen design and bath design, color consultation, custom furniture, flooring, area carpets, wall and window treatments, lighting design, art procurement and antique acquisition. Service areas include but are not limited to Marin County, San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Ross, Kentfield, Belvedere, Tiburon, San Rafael, and Pacific Heights.
415-493-6469 www.staceylapukinteriors.com firstname.lastname@example.org