Astro Blog

What to consider before a design consultation?

Posted by Caitlin Poirier on Apr 2, 2020 4:51:47 PM

Whether it be a new kitchen where your family will gather for special events, a spa-like ensuite where you can relax and rejuvenate, or your custom dream home, your project is likely something that you have been thinking about for some time now. 

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Nevertheless, you may still have a ton of questions and be a bit overwhelmed about where to start. This is totally normal, especially if this is your first big renovation! As designers, it is our job to guide you and to help you discover what works for you. Together, we will figure out what you need to make your space function optimally for your life, while also making it look aesthetically pleasing. 

But what you should expect from the first meeting with a designer? Well, basically, the designer will walk you through the design process, and you will get a sense of the options provided before diving into discussing your unique project.

This preparation can be broken down into five main categories: plans, budget, timeline, inspiration, and questions. Let’s explore each of these a bit more in depth.

Part One: The Existing Space

If you have any existing floor plans of your space, please bring them along! If not, feel free to draw out your own plan, including relevant dimensions – such as windows, doors, ceilings and plumbing – and notes regarding any structural work that may be happening. These drawings do not have to be fancy; anything is helpful at the start! 

Site photos are also a great addition at this point, especially if you are dealing with any angles or bulkheads, as these details can sometimes be tricky to communicate on paper.


Part Two: Determine Your Budget

Fact: budgets are crucial to a successful design project. If you have never done a large renovation or built a new home before, it is likely going to cost more than you expect. This is not to say that the price will be extravagant, but rather to caution that there are often fees and charges that you may be unaware of before starting.

When planning your budget, expect to spend separate, but close to equal, amounts on both design and construction. Your design costs will be for finishing materials, such as flooring, cabinets, and fixtures, while your construction costs will be for rough materials, for example, drywall, setting materials and grout, as well as the labour. 

Always be sure to include a contingency in your budget. This leaves you with resources to cover any unexpected things that may pop up during construction. Surprises can be common when renovating an older property, or one that you do not have the full history on. 

Being clear of your budget from the start can save you from the frustration of choosing products and materials that cost more than what you would like to spend on your renovation. 


Part Three: Establish a Timeline

The expectations you have regarding your timeline for your project is another thing to be clear about from the start. If you have a personal deadline you need to meet, such as a new addition to the family, or out of town guests coming to stay, make sure you communicate the timing of these events to your designer. We will be able to tell you how achievable these expectations are based on what you want to do with your space. 

Lining up a contractor early in the process is also beneficial to keep your timeline on track. Their schedules are usually determined months in advance, so if you have someone in mind, please do reach out to them before your design consultation. 


Part Four: Be Inspired

Now that we have established a good understanding of what is currently happening in your space, and what budgetary and time limits you are working within, it is time to discuss what you want to accomplish! 

Let’s be honest, descriptive words are great for communicating what you like, but people may have a different definition of what ‘contemporary’ or ‘mid-century’ styles look like. Inspiration images are crucial at this stage to clearly communicate to your designer what you are envisioning. 

Ensuring that you are on the same page from the start helps to build a trusting working relationship and will result in transforming your space into the one you have been dreaming about! 

Beyond the visual aesthetic, you will also need to relay to your designer how you and your household use the space to be renovated. No matter how pretty it is, if the room doesn’t function for the users, then it was not well designed. After explaining your goals for the space, it is important to confirm which of these are priorities. Unfortunately, not necessarily everything that you are looking for will be doable within both your budget and timeline. 

Kitchen and bath design by Astro

Designs by Astro 

Part Five: Ask Questions!

Make sure that before you even arrive for your consultation meeting, you have written down a list of questions that you have for your designer. This is a good reminder for you and eliminates the opportunity for you to leave the meeting feeling unsure about things. If you do happen to think of anything afterwards, you can certainly contact your designer at that point in time!

Now, it’s time to start planning your dream space! We hope to see you soon!

Still have questions? Contact us  or leave your comment below.


Topics: home, Home Design, design consultation, remote design consultation, astro blog

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