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Behind The Design Process: Detailed Design

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Our process is the same for each project and this allows us to provide the same exceptional service to each client who hires our firm. We believe that by creating a tried and true process, our clients will know what to expect throughout their design journey, our firm members effectively work through your project by following a system, and we increase the overall value in our industry.

We have completed the first part of our Research, Design and Presentation phase: Conceptual Design, where we determined the design direction, along with the scope work work and contractor selection. Next, we are taking a deep dive into what happens next as we continue the Research, Design, and Presentation phase and enter the Detailed Design portion of this phase.

During this time, we will make any requested refinements to the drawings or scope as requested by you during our Conceptual Design Meeting. We will then create detailed drawings and prepare a specification package with specific finish samples for you to see in person. We will also source and quote any decor product and services. This may require us to access your home for additional detailed measuring for quoting purposes.

Once we have the package completed, we will have the Detailed Design meeting. During this presentation, we will meet with you to share our entire design plan including detailed pricing so you can continue to stay informed on your investment on the project.

Depending on the scope of your project, this could be detailed drawings and elevations, 3D drawings, finish specifications, furniture and decor selections, textile samples, photos of lighting etc.

It is important that all decisions makers are at this meeting as we go over every aspect of

the design in detail. In order to move the project along at a reasonable pace, we

encourage our clients to make decisions during this presentation. However, we will

never ask you to sign off on something you are unsure of, and we are happy to provide a

refinement if need be. We can then move forward to the next phase, the Design Management Phase of ordering furniture and decor products and booking the services needed to complete your project. If your project includes construction, it will also begin during the Design Management Phase.


The first step of the Detailed Design portion of our process is scheduling selection meetings at our vendors to select the hard materials for your project. One of the major benefits of having a full-service design firm like AMR Design on your project means that you are not obligated to attend all of these meetings and you can put your trust in us to make these selections based on our years of expertise. As our team has a very clear vision of the design plan at this point we typically do the selections on our own, however, we are happy to have you join if you would like.

Regardless of your decision, we will review all the finishes together at the presentation meeting at the end of the Research, Design, and Presentation phase.

Please note that these meetings will be scheduled during our regular working hours (Monday - Thursday 8:30-4:30 and Friday 8:30-1:00).

We request that clients attend the Millwork/Cabinetry Meeting (if required for their project). During this meeting, you will meet with one of our expert cabinet makers and we will discuss all the requirements to create functional, customized cabinets for your home. This can get pretty personal, including questions about how many small appliances you have, whether you drink coffee or tea in the mornings, and what kind of storage requirements you have. It is important that our clients can attend this meeting so they can see firsthand the options that customization creates.

We book the millwork meeting first whenever possible, followers by other selection meetings as listed below:

  • Appliances (chosen early on with our preferred rep so we can design cabinetry to fit with your ideal appliances)

  • Flooring Centre (select all flooring, wall tile, backsplash, shower wall tile)

  • Countertops (stone yard)

  • Decor and Furniture (we will pre-source based on the furniture plan. We like for clients to be able to have a “sit test” on major upholstered items if possible)

  • Lighting (sourced online or in-person with a rep)

  • Plumbing (sourced online or in person with a rep)

Generally, our clients have us handle all other selection meetings on our own and then we present the fully finished plan during the Detailed Design Meeting. This phase is a very involved part of our process and it is where the majority of our hours will accumulate. We work through each detail to ensure that everything works together and we confirm that we are selecting the right materials based on your family and needs. We also create detailed specification sheets to send to the contractor that they can provide accurate pricing. We also collect quotes and specification packages, as well as a visual presentation, on all furniture and decor items required for your project. After the contractor has finished pricing the materials and finishes we have selected, we review with them one more time to ensure we are sticking to the agreed investment amount. We then pivot on any refinements if necessary. All of this is done behind the scenes before we meet for our Detailed Design Meeting.


The Research, Design, Presentation Phase is where our true value lies. As an experienced

and professional design firm, we strive to create designs that will be long-lasting and

functional. While our Principal Designer, Brenda oversees every project, you will also have a dedicated Intermediate Designer who leads your project. Both Brenda and your Intermediate Designer spend time sourcing finishes, fabrics, furniture etc. and working through the details as a team. This phase involves many necessary design hours and therefore is fee heavy, however, this will save you time and money on the overall project. Along with the design hours, we also have design coordination and procurement hours that go along with the project.

The design coordination and procurement hours during this phase include:

  • Corresponding with clients, trades, and suppliers (to keep everyone involved in the project informed)

  • Couriering samples (to ensure we are all looking at the same product and understand all specifications)

  • Quoting products and services (so we receive accurate pricing that includes all elements) Many clients are surprised by the amount of time it takes to complete quoting. For more information on the complexity of acquiring pricing, read our blog posts below)

  • Ordering, tracking, and inspecting product (so we can resolve any potential delays or issues quickly)

  • Updating specification documents (so everyone working on your project has the correct information) 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.

  • Printing documents for meeting preparation (so we can show you our design vision in person)

While this “do it right the first time” attitude may incur more hours in the design phase, this means we only execute once and we avoid costly mistakes in the long run.

For more information about the coordination and procurement side of our business, check out these blog post:

Expert Tips To Get The Most Out of Your Detailed Design Meeting

This is one of the most important meetings we will have, where we will make the bulk of the hard and soft finishes decisions regarding your project. This document outlines how to best be prepared for this meeting, what to expect at the meeting, and what will happen after the meeting

has concluded. As with the Conceptual Design Meeting, to avoid relaying information to multiple

parties, we find it most helpful when all decision makers can attend this



One of the easiest ways our clients can prepare for this meeting is to plan to be free of distractions. If possible, turn your phone on silent and give us your full attention.


Nothing pushes back the completion date more than an indecisive client. Whether it is a lack of decision making or changing the plan after the fact, the additional cost to cater to an indecisive client adds up quickly.

The Detailed Design meeting can be intense as we look over every element of the design plan. If you are positive about certain elements, tell us! If you are not so sure about others, let us know and we can discuss them further. If you enter this meeting with the plan to make decisions before the end of the appointment, we will be able to move faster towards the end goal!

We will discuss ALL the details of your project. Specifics are very dependent on the scope of work, but for instance, if you are planning a kitchen renovation, we would discuss cabinetry, hardware, countertop materials, tiles, flooring, interior cabinet storage, etc. We will go over all of the pricing as well, both for renovations and furnishings. Items you have decided to move forward with will be signed off on at this meeting. You will also sign off on the proposed floor plan and any detailed elevations so the project can move forward into the next stage.

We will bring samples and visuals to share our selections. If we are unable to bring physical

samples to our meeting (such as the case with lighting), we will bring images and manufacturing specification sheets for you to view. Everything will be labeled and have the corresponding pricing for easy decision-making.

If there are any refinements required based on the detailed review, we will get straight to work sourcing the final items as needed, After our Detailed Design Meeting, we will begin the process of Design Management.


The final part of our process is Design Management.


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