Synthesize the Body of Information
This step involves organizing and analyzing your goals, the functional needs of the space, how you behave in the space, the budget, the existing structure, codes and other factors.
We may explore activity mapping to try to improve the flow of traffic or circulation within a space. In a restaurant, we will create a map of all the competing uses for the same space and analyze how traffic paths cross and interact.
Image Credit: Interior Alchemy – during the DEFINE phase of The Libertine restaurant project. Copyright 2019
In a residential project, we may be exploring how the space is used when everyone in the household is getting ready for school and work, preparing lunches for later, cooking and eating breakfast, as well as gathering belongings and outerwear for the day. We may be looking at ways to improve the layout in order to minimize congestion in certain areas.
First and foremost, it is our objective to give you everything you desire. However, sometimes, due to budget, code or conflicting client goals, we will have to begin making decisions together about which goals are most important to achieve for your project.
Unless you have an unlimited budget, this is typically where we find out that certain items on the wish list list may not be possible to grant. For example, it is common for a client to come to us with inspiring photos of indoor/outdoor spaces with a wall of doors that accordion fold out of the way to extend the usable living space. While these doors are breathtaking, increase the size of your functional space, and add value to a home, they typically come with a hefty price tag, starting at about $15,000, not including the engineering required to make the necessary structural changes to support the doors and the labor and installation costs.
This step is about defining exactly what you want. It may be clear that the client has not budgeted for these doors, but what it says is that the client has a desire to create an indoor/outdoor living space, and to bring more light into the interior of the home, or that they want unobstructed access to the exterior views on the other side of the wall. It is important that we, as your designer, ask the right questions. Just because something is out of your budget does not necessarily mean that we cannot try to deliver what you need in a different way.