Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

frequently asked questions

THE BASICS

WHAT TYPE OF CLIENTS DO YOU WORK WITH AND WHAT TYPE OF PROJECTS DO YOU TAKE ON?

We find that we work best with clients who are ready to take action, make decisions, and trust the process. Trust is such an important factor of the designer/client relationship and we do not take that lightly. Your home is as personal as it gets, and it is important that we are able to work collaboratively. We work on decorating projects, major home renovations, new builds/infills, and commercial projects, however, our speciality is Full Service interior design.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?

Our style is based on functionality. We work within the style each individual client prefers. This is so important as they are the intended receiver. But we always stress that it must be functional!  See this  video where we explain more about our style.

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

The first step is a complimentary discovery call. You can schedule these directly on our website according to your schedule. We will call you at the time of your appointment and we can answer some questions for you so you can book the service that’s best for you and your project. We ask that clients fill out the questionnaire attached to the booking service as it allows us to get some of those initial questions out the way to make more time to answer your pressing questions.

book a complimentary discovery call
WHAT CAN I EXPECT EMOTIONALLY DURING MY PROJECT?

No project is without its ups and downs. Renovating or building a home is a stressful time (although less so when you work with professionals like us). We can help you through all the emotional ups and downs that come with these major changes and big purchases.

We put together this fun graphic to represent the typical “rollercoaster” ride that a homeowner will go through when taking on a big renovation project:

WHAT MAKES AMR DESIGN DIFFERENT?

Well for starters, we are a lot of fun to work with! While we take our jobs seriously and work very hard, we all absolutely love what we do and it shows. Our close-knit team has complementary skills and we all work both independently and as a team to achieve incredible results.

We also have worked diligently to create a process that we follow for every project so that each client gets the same great service.

We pride ourselves on our communication skills and we always want our client to be in the know when it comes to their projects.

Our Principal Designer has been in the interior design industry for nearly 20 years and has a strong background in construction knowledge and technical know-how that allows her to anticipate issues before they cost our clients extra money and headaches. Her long-standing career in this industry has allowed our firm to create strong relationships with vendors, tradespeople, contractors, and builders, which has earned her the respect of many industry leaders.

CAN YOU RECOMMEND CONTRACTORS FOR MY PROJECT?

You bet! There are so many added efficiencies when working with our preferred list of Contractors:

  • We all understand (and like) each other
  • We have done projects and business together before
  • We communicate well together
  • Decisions and issues on your project are resolved quickly, without ego

We recommend preferred Contractors that we think are the best-fit for the project and your personality. From there, it will be up to you to find out if you can work with them by meeting with them in person. You will be hiring the Contractor(s) independently, so it is important that all 3 of us work well together.

We cannot stress enough that all Contractors should be bidding with the same details and information. Providing favour to one over the other, or not sharing details, will result in disproportionate bids.

DESIGN AND PRODUCT

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR PROCESS?

All of our Full Service interior design clients follow the same three phases:

  1. Project Initiation: This step includes our discovery call, initial consultation, the signing of the agreement, and the receipt of the retainer.
  2. Research, Design and Presentation: This is where much of our time is spent when designing spaces for our clients. This is the phase where we come up with the design, gather the quotes, present the information and samples to our clients, and get all of the sign offs before the project officially starts.
  3. Design Management: This is where it starts to come together. We take care of booking applicable trades, ordering product, site visits, and communication with our clients and contractors until the final project is revealed!

For more detail on our Full Service Interior Design Process, check out Our Process page.

WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE INITIAL CONSULTATION?

After the discovery call conversation, once we have determined that we are a good fit, the next step is the initial consultation. This appointment lasts up to two hours. This is a working session where we provide you with valuable and expert guidance, ideas, and information to get you on the right track with your project.

Our Principal Designer and Project Lead will meet you in your home (or our studio  if your home isn’t built yet) and we will get to work learning all about you and your design needs. We want to know about how your home functions now, and how you hope it will function in the future. We will go over our contract with you and answer any questions you may have about the process, our fees, etc. so we can start our relationship off with transparency.

WHAT IS FULL SERVICE INTERIOR DESIGN?

Full Service Interior Design means we do it all. 

If you need assistance designing your new home, we can do that from start to finish.

If you need help planning and executing a renovation, we can take that on as well. 

Do you need full decorating services without a renovation? We’ve got you covered.

Full Service means that we take the lead and the stress is off your shoulders as we deal with all the day-to-day happenings of your project. The big questions we always pose to our clients help us to determine your needs– what are your goals, priorities, budget, and timeline

These core questions will help us understand how to approach your project to obtain the best results for your needs, no matter the scope of work! Even if your budget and/or timeline means that we may have to phase the work to achieve your long-term goals for your home! Some of our happiest clients are ones that phased their projects over several years to achieve the results they desired throughout their entire home, instead of compromising with a short-term fix.

modern wood and grey tile fireplace with local artwork and hidden bar
WHAT IS CONCEPTUAL DESIGN?

Conceptual Design is the first part of  the Research, Design and Presentation Phase and consists of the following design services:

  • Assess the current project space, take measurements and photos, and document any items that will be included in the final design.
  • Design the proposed floor plan to ensure the best possible layout for you and your family.
  • Gather inspiration photos for design direction
  • Create a budget estimate to capture the elements that will be needed to make the project a reality· 
  • Meet with preferred contractor to review scope of work and projected budget
WHAT IS DETAILED DESIGN?

Detailed Design is the second part of  the Research, Design and Presentation Phase and consists of the following design services:

  • Conduct trade meetings at your home to consult with our trades and vendors on site to review the project concepts, as well as take detailed measurements in order to receive accurate quotes. 
  • Selection of each design item according to design direction, investment estimate, and floor plan(s)
  • Procurement of written quotes from all trades and vendors
  • Completion of selections in accordance with approved inspiration images
  • Detailed floor plan(s), elevation(s), and relevant custom drawings
  • Detailed proposal including each design item 
  • Investment estimate updated with actual costs
  • Presentation preparation to communicate the design
  • Confirmation of the actual numbers against the approved investment estimate
  • Presentation meeting with all parties involved 
WHAT IS DESIGN MANAGEMENT?

The Design Management Phase consists of the following services:

Purchasing and Implementation

  • Placing orders & assessing initial delivery estimates
  • Complete the purchasing of goods on your behalf
  • Clarify and communicate estimated delivery times
  • Manage open orders by efficiently tracking goods
  • Inspect goods as they arrive, manage deficiencies, and coordinate replacement product if applicable
  • Prepare the installation timeline for any design related elements

Construction

  • Coordinate project logistics with contractors and vendors
  • Provide site checks for project accuracy and resolve any issues which have come up
  • Completions walk through with construction project manager

Installation

  • Coordinate ongoing deliveries and installations
  • On site presence during deliveries and installations, where applicable

Furniture Installation and Styling

  • Provide turnkey furniture installation, meaning all of the furnishings are delivered at one time, after any construction is complete
  • Plan and execute the styling process, have furniture assembled, and any packaging removed from your home.

The Reveal

  • Provide documentation that supports the care and maintenance of your newly completed project
  • Identify any completions that we’ve noted during installation in the format of a project punch list
  • Leave the styling price list for each item installed, where applicable
  • Meet to confirm (within 48 hours) the product you want to keep or return from the styling price list, where applicable. At this time we will pick up any items identified to be returned.
  • Resolve completions
  • Book photography (either professionally or AMR Firm Member)
CAN I STILL WORK WITH YOU IF I DON’T NEED FULL SERVICE INTERIOR DESIGN?

Of course! We offer other packages to suit a variety of needs. If you are looking for just a bit of advice that can be accomplished by a conversation, our Initial Consultation would be a great starting point. 

 If you need a bit more help than what a single conversation can allow, but still do not require Full Service, we also offer 5 or 10 hour Power Session packages. 

With these Power Sessions, we can accomplish more than the 2 hour Initial Consultation, but our clients can still implement as they see fit. This time can be used for:

  • Site meetings
  • E-design (we can help you plan a space anywhere in the world!)
  • Preliminary furniture layout planning
  • Review of plans and budget
  • Selection of finishes, materials, appliances, plumbing, lighting etc.
  • Sourcing of retail fabrics, furniture, artwork and accessories
  • Conceptual design and space planning
  • Design aesthetics advice
  • Technical and product knowledge advice
  • Construction stage inspections and advice
  • Lighting layout and design advice
  • Decoration and staging services
CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT POWER SESSIONS?

Power Sessions are a great option if you want some design advice, need assistance for a short time, or want to execute the project management yourself. There are a variety of ways you can use Power Sessions to your advantage. 

Have you ever wished you had a friend who was an interior designer so you could call them up and ask them for some advice regarding a small project, like where to put the couch or how to style bookshelves or even how to set up a table for a big dinner? We can help with that!

Are you selling your home or opening your space for a vacation rental? We would love to help you decide on ways to stage your property to highlight its best features! We can create a plan that will leave you feeling empowered and excited to execute the ideas we share with you. 

Are you buying a home and wondering what renovations may be possible or necessary? Curious how you should plan your furniture layout?  We can help with that! Bringing a professional interior designer to your prospective property can help determine if the property can be renovated the way you imagine and within your budget, or help you determine the best way to layout your new dream home. 

During these Power Sessions, we can discuss floor plans, the kitchen, bathrooms, furniture layouts and selections, window treatments, flooring, stairs and railing, light fixtures, appliances, basement, and the exterior. Power Sessions are available in 5 or 10-hour increments and can be purchased after an Initial Consultation is complete.

Please note that it is your responsibility to take notes throughout our consultation because this service does not provide any follow-up or administration.

CAN I COMBINE POWER SESSIONS TOGETHER?

Absolutely, you can combine multiple Power Sessions together to take the best advantage of our time and expertise.

A great example of this is if you are building a new home and want to manage all the finishes, layouts, and materials on your own but would really benefit from our expert advice and recommendations. We are happy to help you by booking back-to-back Power Sessions in one sitting.

CAN I DO BOTH FULL-SERVICE AND POWER SESSIONS WITH YOU?

Definitely! Most clients are happy with completing a Full Service interior design project with us that is focused on a new build or renovation, but then may hire us for some additional time to provide more design expertise and/or finish off the interior styling and furnishings.

DO YOU OFFER CUSTOM PRODUCT AND DO I HAVE TO GO FULLY CUSTOM?

We do offer many options that are customized to the individual needs of each client and the space we are designing. This could include upholstery, drapery, bedding, and finishes on case goods. Custom touches help give a space the uniqueness most clients desire. Of course, not everything has to be custom. We find the right balance of custom and stock merchandise can make a project stand out, while keeping budget in mind. However, custom does not automatically mean expensive. Regardless of whatever route you choose, we guarantee that the finished design will be personalized to suit your lifestyle and your taste.

CAN I CHANGE MY MIND IF I HAVE ORDERED A CUSTOM PIECE?

Once an order is placed and we have received acknowledgement from our vendor it cannot be cancelled. This is especially true for custom orders. These require extra time, special handling, and skilled artisans to create a unique piece just for you, and for that reason manufacturers will not cancel custom orders. Stocked items can be cancelled but typically a restocking fee applies. These fees range from 15% to 35% depending on the vendor.

PAYMENT AND FEES

WILL YOU WORK WITHIN MY BUDGET?

For the most part yes, but our job is to ensure you understand what is realistic within your budget. We will make sure you know what can be accomplished and guide you on where to best spend your money based on your goals and timelines.

The professional photos in our portfolio are the result of Full Service design and realistic budgets.  One of the key discussion points in our initial meeting is if you want us to design more to your budget or to your wish list as they often aren’t compatible.

WHY DO YOU CHARGE FOR AN INITIAL CONSULTATION?

Our services and experience come at a cost and a part of that is gathering information, performing analysis, determining needs, and developing the criteria for a design project. We like to be as open as we can during an initial consultation and by charging for our services, we are able to offer specific design advice as we see fit. We also spend time prior to your initial consultation on administrative duties to get your set up in our system so we are prepared to meet you.

WHAT ARE THE PAYMENT METHODS FOR FULL SERVICE PROJECTS?

We accept cheques, bank drafts, and Interac e-transfers for all Full Service projects. Invoices are sent electronically on a monthly basis.

WHAT ARE THE PAYMENT METHODS FOR POWER SESSIONS?

We accept major credit cards, e-transfers, and cheques. Power sessions are due at the time of booking and can be booked online. 

WHY IS A RETAINER TAKEN?

Retainers are collected at project initiation and are held by AMR Design until project completion when they are applied to final invoices. They are used to ensure we have the funds to cover accrued design fees in the case of delayed invoice payment, as well as for any cash flow required for the project.

DO YOU PROVIDE DISCOUNTS ON PRODUCTS?

Trade discounts are hard won by being a repeat and loyal customer to various vendors. The more we purchase from our favorite vendors, the greater our company discounts grow.

Our corporate policy is that we share any substantial discounts 40/60 to allow clients to benefit from our many years’ experience working with these suppliers, and allow our company to be profitable while still providing clients a savings on quality products. As we share these savings with our clients, the savings frequently underwrite a substantial portion of project management fees.

WHY DO YOU TAKE DEPOSITS?

When you direct us to purchase products on your behalf, we ask for a 75% deposit (or 100% for products totalling less than $1000 to minimize administration time) to initiate the order. This is because our trades and suppliers request a 50%-100% deposit to begin the work or place the order. From there, regardless of any extenuating circumstances, AMR Design owns the product on order until full payment is received. The deposit is our insurance that we have sufficient funds to pay for the work or items we’ve ordered on your behalf.