Understanding the Interior Design Process

If it's your first time working with a designer for a home or commercial space, you might not understand everything that goes into the process. Understanding the project as a whole and each phase of design can ultimately save you time and money. Once you know your role and the roles of others involved in your interior design project, it will make the process much more enjoyable for you.

The first step is to find a design firm you feel comfortable with and that you trust has an experienced and respected team of architects, artisans and contractors. Each design firm works differently, and every project is varies with regards to how many phases you'll go through. If your project is on a smaller scale, you might not have all the phases outlined in this article, but in general, the major phases of a design project are:

1. Schematic Design
2. Design Development
3. Construction Documents
4. Bidding Phase
5. Construction Administration

Stages of Interior Design – Explained

1. Schematic Design: This is first stage of the design process when the scope of the project is defined. As the client, you'll be very engaged in this part of the process with the designer and sometimes the architect, if necessary. The designer (and architect) will provide rough sketches and show materials to ensure the concept is headed in the direction you envision. This phase can take anywhere from weeks to months, depending on the firm you work with and the extent of the project. It can take longer if you don't have any idea what type of design you're looking for. In that case, the design firm can help steer you in the right direction.

2. Design Development: The next stage aims to turn concepts into concrete action items. This stage will help to identify any problem areas that may not have been apparent upfront. In design development, the architect and interior design firm creates initial architectural drawings and material specifications. You will be involved throughout this process as the design firm will need your feedback to zero in on the details and discuss solutions to any problems. Once the direction of the design project is approved by you, the next step is construction documents.

3. Construction Documents: In this phase, the preliminary drawings that were created in the design development phase of the project are now turned into working documents, refined for accuracy and code requirements. All the materials to be used in the project are finalized and the specifications are prepared. Once this is complete, the documents serve as a tool to build out the project. You won't be involved much in this phase due to the technicality of it, and the timeline depends on the scope of the project.

4. Bidding Phase: In the bidding phase, the construction documents are sent to potential building contractors so they can prepare bids. The bid is an estimate of the cost and time it will take to complete your design project. You …

Understanding Garden Terms

Do you find yourself confused by terms like: hybrid, genetically modified, heirloom, open-pollinated, heritage and microsystem? In this article we will go over some basics that will help clear up some of the confusion.

First, let's look at the difference between a microsystem and an ecosystem. To gardeners an ecosystem would be used to describe the region's average high and low temperatures, sea level, rainfall and moisture and the zone. A microsystem could be your entire property or sections of the property. For instance, if you have one corner that tends to remain moist, and another that gets mostly shade, while a different area has full sun … those are all examples of different microsystems. Each microsystem will have plants and wildlife that will thrive in those particular conditions.

Hybrid seeds are created when two unique parents are mechanically or purposely cross-pollinated. Introducing foreign genetic material on a molecular scale produces genetically modified (GM) crops.

Open-pollinated means the plants produced naturally with nature doing all the work.
Heritage has come to mean open-pollinated seeds known to have been grown for at least one, and often several, generations.

Heirloom refers to seeds varieties that go back much farther than just a few generations.
Did you know that in some cases, it is illegal to save GM seeds? A registered trademark indicates genetic manipulation and that is the legal property of the labs that designed it.
Bio-piracy and bio-prospecting, involves patent rights over the development of certain gene combinations. They have even found a way to incorporate terminator genes (aka suicide seeds) – this means that while the plant may produce quality food with seeds, those seeds will not germinate. Hybrid plant produce, too, will not produce true to form. Instead, it will begin to revert to one or another of its parents and its seeds will be different and quite possibly weakened every year thereafter. While open-pollinated seed will always produce true to form as long as proper seed-saving procedures are followed.

Large commercial agriculture uses monoculture methods (fields of one crop), often with little to no pollinator and windbreak or water runoff planning. There are no-till (not turning the earth with machinery), organic (grown without chemicals) and biodynamic (considering the relationship, cycles and needs of all forms of life) methods.

Permaculture involves the scientific evaluation of the land, mapping, working with nature, using what is available on site or nearby, eliminating waste through reuse).
Succession planting involves the gardener having transplants or seeds ready to plant as soon as one crop is harvested.

Interplanting (planting closely together), bio-intensive (using the soil surface more efficiently) and companion (working with plants that benefit each other while avoiding those that are direct competition with one-another) are other terms you are likely to come across.

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