Your Business

Almost all procedures in interior design are based on proportions and measurements – aka spatial relationships. Putting the relationships into perspective requires a plan and these plans are traditionally produced to communicate visually.

The design process may begin with freehand concept sketching to enable the designer to relay onto paper what he envisions and see what needs to be added or modified.

Presentation plans are the initial schematics showing the overall concepts: site placement, the exterior and interior architecture, the mechanical plan the electrical plan, plumbing plan and fire protection plan (which today often includes a sprinkler system).The color schemes and how they are transitioned with fabrics, paints and textures.  How the spaces relate to each other sometimes with the ideas of traffic flow, and what furniture and fixtures could be included are part of the floor plan, the major part of the presentation.  They include architectural notations for placement of electrical, doors, and major components.
 These are drawn with greater detail to allow clients to clearly see what the designer has in mind. The views drawn are also done so the client would view them as a picture – horizontally in an elevation view:
and in one or more of the perspective views: One point perspective

Two point perspective

space plan is often a more visual concept of the rooms looking down on them.  It shows arrangement of furnishings within the walls and how traffic will flow from room to room.

From there, construction drawings are put together. The details here vary greatly from the details the client is presented. The drawings are scaled with exact measurements based on the ratios of an architects scale.

Methods of how the building, cabinetry, furniture or whatever is to be built are shown in a visual detail. Construction drawings also known as working drawings or blueprints, will show the materials to be used with a key symbol and an accompanying legend for each material.

The building is viewed as multiple cross-sections  – a cutaway view of the building viewed vertically from roof to foundation. Detail sheets are included for each section of a building’s construction: Foundation, Roof, Framing, Gutter system, Windows, Doors, built-in cabinetry etc. The specific section will have its own detail sheets that zoom in to the pertinent parts and illustrate how they are constructed. The sections sheets will be numbered in a sequence to illustrate the flow of the project and the details to be constructed within each section.  
The sections are labeled also to reflect back to the floor plan to show where the cutaway view comes from.  The floor plan will have an arrow and letter that matches the section drawing.

Only with great accuracy and attention to detail can a building be constructed according to plan.  Each stage will have to be examined by a city or county inspector who will make sure all is being built to code before building for the next stage can resume.

Drawing is obviously an essential part of interior design. Thankfully although the knowledge has to be part of the curriculum, there are now computer programs and out sourced services you can hire to do whatever is required.  While a designer may be responsible for a version of the floor plan – especially space planning, most of the work falls to the architect and the construction company.  What is required is the knowledge or how it all flows together, how to read a blueprint, whether the building is to code and how to pick up on discrepancies or mistakes in the drawings.


red door

            I know, I know – no one wants to hear how to take a business apart and close the door behind them. It seems the opposite of all those “Just Do It” mottos urging us toward our successful goals. But that’s where I am at the moment and have found there’s value in knowing how to go about this phase of business. So in the spirit of transparency and knowledge, I thought I would do a series of my experience.


            You know that Stevie Nicks’ song “Landslide”? That is exactly what I’ve been feeling. We build our lives around people and projects. Then as it all gets older, changes that we don’t anticipate fall down like a landslide forcing a new direction. The question then becomes: can I take care of the details required, keep an attitude that is positive and move on to the next phase of life with enthusiasm?

We all are proponents of the “Great Idea” and it is often where businesses begin. “We can do this..” we tell ourselves. But when push comes to shove, there are a few fundamentals that come along with that great idea and can’t be avoided. Here is the first ( and I’ll go over more in future blogs):

alarm clock

Time and timing:

You have to be at the right time in your life to devote the time it takes to build your business. If you don’t have the time, then you have to have the resources to take care of all those time eaters that will interfere. You don’t want to think of your children as time eaters or interferences. They are your life and blood. But they require LOTS of time. They are at least a 21 year investment. They can’t be relegated to slots of your otherwise non-scheduled availability. Just realize they will see to it they get the attention they need and want (and it won’t be necessarily be in a good way). If you arrange for great care-givers to fill in when you can’t, you also have to prepare for feelings of guilt that will wash over you in your weaker moments and another investment in time for the caregiver and money. When a lot of factors in your day get tangled and head south, those feelings of guilt for not being the super woman or man you so want to be will sneak in demoralizing your mind.

couple on bench

            A mate who doesn’t see what you are trying to accomplish and is not supportive also is a telltale sign that your timing is off. It’s not that your idea isn’t great or you’re not SOOO ready. It’s that that person you have invested yourself in needs something from you – security, information or their own support from you first. You can’t skip over this. They are part of your team and need to be nurtured along. If you feel your mate did their own thing in the past, or fell for an investment that failed and now you should have your turn, that is also a weak foundation from which to launch. A relationship is an entity in itself and requires two people to invest in it and build it before one of the members in it rushes off to do their own thing.

woman reaching for money

            Of course the timing and availability of money is also essential. It can’t be avoided – it takes money to make money. We can justify in our minds how we can start out… so small… in a closet… in our bedroom and build it on a shoestring. After all, isn’t that just the greatest American story of how someone did just that and is now a billionaire? But for every billionaire, there are millions of dreams of launching the next great idea littering the sidewalks.

Why start out with a handicap and limp along making everyone you have on your team also suffer? Going into debt by using credit cards and then not being able to meet all your bills is just plain depressing and debilitating. Turning to a business loan even if attainable is still debt and becomes another load on your shoulders that seems to grow heavier as payments are made years later. Time to build some savings and learn more will go a long way with a commitment you probably already have. If you’re jeopardizing your children’s college savings, your retirement, your nest egg set aside for emergencies, it may be something you heavily regret later.

work desk

            Then there is just plain old timing. This is where cutting edge business acumen really steps in. Launching a business just as 2008 or 2009 dawned was almost suicidal. We’re still feeling the repercussions of that era. Mind shifts due to a recession are ongoing. People don’t want to be financially jeopardized like that again and will scrutinize everything someone tries to sell them. The internet also has taken us to a new way of conducting business. No one gets very far today without a face online. The public tests the waters of who you are and what you do through websites and social media. You need time to develop your essence – your message and you have to understand the ins and outs of how all the various forms of social media vary and interact.

Timing for your brand involves knowing trends. Is your look, your taste, your brand ahead of the trends or behind – or perhaps in the middle with the rest of the crowd? Be objective. Follow the tastemakers, see what is being written about at the forefront of the markets. I have always had a philosophy that if you have an idea ( of course it would be new and awesome…) and you even just breathe it to another, you will see it out there presently. I’m not sure how it works, but it does. It assures you that your eye is right on – but also shows how fast trends pop up and fade. And then how do you sell that past trend you invested in or reinvent it? The most successful entrepreneurs simply were at the right place at the right time with the right knowledge and products and consistency. It’s not complicated but it is elusive. When tastemakers and influencers pick up on these qualities, businesses are given more opportunities and careers are launched.

All efforts we make during our lifespan have a positive and negative side to them. However, if we fortify ourselves before we launch into the next “thing”, it can only be like money in the bank – more bricks in the building we call our life.

Girl in sun


Workbench with screws

A designer, whether residential or commercial, holds a very complex position in the world of business. They must come equipped with an innate sense of beauty, balance, proportion and a driving force powered by creativity. They must be willing to yield to the powers that be – the employer, the client, the building itself – and yet maintain an ability to find the positive in the negatives. Todays designer needs to know the ways to turn a profit and still be transparent and above board to the client.


Sewing supplies


The basics of space planning, materials and methods of construction, furniture styles and finishes, color theory and application, codes, drafting and presentation techniques, all must be tools that are in a toolbelt. The sheer quantity of knowledge that has to be assimilated coupled with the lightening fast changes to technology today is what sets apart those equipped with the right attitude and ability of getting a job done well.

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