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From Start To Furnish

Please enjoy my musings on all things interior design!

How Long Does An Interior Design Project Take

When you finally decide to make the leap and begin that new home or remodeling project that you've been dreaming of for years, you naturally want to know how long it will take.  Now, you and I both know that nothing good comes overnight.  (Referring back to last week’s blog post, certainly not wishing the time of a typical HGTV episode.)  Once in a lifetime projects like these take time.  

So how long does it actually take to remodel your home?  Short answer - it depends.  Long (and more correct) answer?  Read on to find out what goes into the process.  


This is the stage in the process when we are getting to know each other.  We will have an initial meeting where I will learn about your project.  We're going to delve into the delicate topic of budget.  Afterword, I'll send you an Agreement Letter detailing all the scope of work and my fee.  After your agreement and payment of a retainer fee, I'm at work for you.  I want to learn about you and your lifestyle.  If it's a new construction project, you will bring your blueprints or floor plans, we take a look at them together and discuss your wants and dreams for your new home.  If it's a remodel, during this stage, I'll make a visit to your home where you and I will talk about what you want to do and what are your priorities.

Regardless of the type of project yours is, always during this time, I'm going to be learning more about you and what you hope to achieve.  Your homework during this time has often already been done by clients before we meet - that's creating an idea file of your vision of the end result.  I used to tell people to tear pictures out of magazines, but in the digital age in which we now live, a Pinterest board or HOUZZ Ideabook is helpful.

This stage is going to take around three hours from our initial consultation to a site visit or sit down with your plans and studying your lifestyle and tastes.

Design Development

The first thing I'm going to be doing during this phase is to make the floor plan and maybe elevation drawings of your home or room noting all of the elements needed.  I'll also be making finish (paint, wallcovering, flooring etc.) and furnishing (furniture, lighting, plumbing, art, etc.) selections to make your dream a reality.    This is a critical stage and shouldn't be rushed. It requires a great deal of research and planning and experience to develop the design that completes your dream and that works for your lifestyle.  You and I will meet to go over my design.   If phase one went according to plan and you and I are in sync (as I usually am with most clients), we'll breeze right on through this stage.


During this phase, you and I will probably make a couple of field trips.  We may need to make a trip to a stone yard to select countertops or go sit on sofas and chairs.  We'll visit the plumbing and lighting showrooms to involve the salespeople there into the process.  

Of course, the time necessary for this phase depends on the size of your project, but you can estimate three to four hours per room.  So, let's allow at least a month for the design development phase.  


Construction Documents and Administration

During this phase, I'll do any of the drawings and specifications to assist in conveying our plans to the contractor or tradespeople.  

For whatever I'm responsible for procuring for your project, I'm going to give you quotes and once approved by you, orders will be placed.

Allow a couple of hours per room, depending again on the project, to my time schedule.  So a couple of weeks for this.



This is when all of the magic and all of the planning begins to become a reality.  You'll be in the company of contractors while they do the work that I've outlined for them.  (Here's a tip - feed them! No lie!  Take them a cake or cookies occasionally.  They'll love you and that's what you want.)  Window treatments and upholstery and other custom work will be happening off-site.  When these items are completed they'll be installed at the appropriate time in your home. 

It's nearly impossible to tell you how long this is going to take. Building a new home from planning to move-in usually takes at least 18 months.  A remodeling project can sometimes take that long, depending on many factors.  It's as difficult to determine the time as it is the cost. There are so many factors that play into this process; scheduling of sub-contractors, weather, back-orders, changes...  Whatever you think your dollar budget or time frame is, count on adding to it. Neither are rarely right on the mark.


Finally, all the workers are gone and you are left with your dream home.  I'm going to come in and dress it out.  I'll hang art and place accessories and then get my photographer to come in and take the final pictures.  Once again - size of the project, but at least a couple of hours per room.  So give me another month.

We'll say goodbye and leave you with your completed dream...until you decide to do it again. Gorgeous rooms are like cats - you can't have just one!  (Check out my portfolio where you can see some of these completed projects.)

So now you have a pretty good estimate of how long your project can take from our first meeting to photography.  So if you're thinking of a new dream home or remodeling a room or two of the one you have now, go ahead and contact me.  As you can see from reviewing this list, the process can take a good bit of time, so the sooner I get it onto my schedule the sooner we can make the dream a reality.  

Jill OrnelasAmbiance