August 31, 2011

A day in the life of...

We often get asked what we 'actually do' on the day to day, since both my husband and myself work for our interior design business it means spending a lot of time together and juggling many different projects that are all at a very different stages so I thought I would give you a little bit of a run down as to what a week in the life of our interior design studio looks like.  (When I started writing this I thought it was probably going to be quite short and concise - however I have had to separate it in to several different parts as it was getting a little over whelming as one post!)


We are typically very early risers so for us the start of the day will often be around 6.30-7am - this is when we have our daily meeting where we look over what we achieved from our list the previous working day. We always have a long list of items that need to be delegated off to various suppliers, questions that need to be answered from builders, questions we need to ask clients, products we need to find to for new projects we are working on, new projects that need to be scheduled out and new project boards that need to be started, adjusted and completed within a set time-scale.  We also look at the list to see what we could have improved, it is very important for us that our service is constantly reviewed and revised so that our policies adjust to meet the needs of our clients - do we feel we could have responded to an email quicker? Would a telephone call have made a decision quicker? Was there any way of foreseeing that there was going to be a delay on an item?

We then go through 'the board' - we have a maximum number of 10 clients at any one time, that we take on at any one time so that we can afford each client the right amount of time and energy.  So at the moment we have 5 on the main board and 3 in our little "finishing up" pen... which can often mean we are awaiting for one last item to arrive (often rugs which we personally design and have made in Kathmandu so they can take up to 16 weeks - for some of our rug designs you can check them out here) or we still have photography to do.  We also have 1 project that is awaiting planning permission to be okayed before we start on the design and 1 previous client who's new house purchase just fell through so is waiting for the right property to come up - in we are almost up to capacity.

Once we have gone through the clients we look to see if there are any new press enquiries (we probably receive around 3-5 a week so we have to pick and chose which ones to go ahead with) and improvements that could be made to the website, blog and monthly newsletter.

We also have to work all these around our schedule for meetings on site with the builders.  We are usually down on each site every 2 weeks for a full site meeting with the site manager and head builder to check that all questions have been answered and to adjust plans.  This week we have on scheduled in for Wednesday at our Putney site and a new client meeting scheduled in for Thursday evening so we need to work a few things for the rest of the week around them.

So on today's list we are catching up with one of our client's who is waiting for our designs to be okayed by the management company of the building - it has been 2 weeks away for more than 2 weeks now and I can tell that we are going to have to hit the ground running as soon as the permission comes through.  Our aim is always to get projects completed within a reasonable time scale so we have the builders for this project on a constant standby.

We are also checking over designs for a bespoke piece of furniture for an interior design project in Islington (see below)  - it's looking pretty good, just needs the client's signature and it will be on site in 3 weeks.

Monday is always a quick start day and usually is one of the longest as the email enquiries have built up over the weekend, I like to try and get as close to "inbox zero" by the end of Monday or at least have every email scheduled out for a day I will be able to give it the proper amount of time  So whilst I am been emailing away, getting things off the list and adding new items on, the wonderful Charlie has been left with the unenviable task of the accounts... that should keep him busy for a few hours!  After that is will be setting up the schedule with the builders for the start date for a project in North London and re-arranging the delivery date for a project that will be finished in October.  We also have about 30 different suppliers to contact regarding orders we are about to place so that will take most of the afternoon and will most certainly roll on till tomorrow!


Daily meeting  then we are off to the races...Today we have had a new enquiry to look at a future project this evening (very exciting - we always love going to view new projects!) so we have to make sure we are finished up for around 5pm - I always like to have a snack (or coffee!) and to make sure that everything is finished for the day before going off to our evening meetings.  Most of our clients are usually extremely busy people and they value both the amount of time they work (so can't take days off for meetings) and the amount of free time they have so evening meetings are usually a given with every project.

We have just gotten some artwork back for 2 beautiful runners that we are having made up for a hallway so today we are picking the exact tones that will work for the pattern from the colours tufts (see below) these rugs are going to look amazing but because of the size of them only one weaver will be able to work on them at a time so they are going to take around 16 weeks... but they will be well worth the wait!


We have also had to make a bit of time this afternoon for a shopping trip - we have a few finishing touches to buy for one of our projects we we will be heading up to the Kings Road and the West End to see if we can find the perfect items.  Charlie has also started writing some blogs (we always have at least 10 drafts that we are working on!), we post a new blog every day so it is very important for us to be able to keep our clients (present and future) in the loop!  Charlie has spent all morning chasing up deliveries and re-check that all orders have been placed correctly.  He has also been liaising with the builders to make sure they have all the information they need and that none of the scheduled deliveries have arrived in pieces - we had to re-send over the elevations for a kitchen to show all the handle positions only yesterday so it's always better to be safe than sorry!

In between all of this we have gone through a few blog posts and had quite a few phone calls, including a very exciting phone interview and a proposition for a very large project starting next year with an architect on a new build property.


Daily meeting and then... The main item on today's list that will need to be worked around is a meeting on site with the builders, measuring up with the carpet people and having a pre-run through with the delivery company so that we are all on the same page for the big delivery day. So this is what the site looks like at the moment... check out that 'mural' that we discovered! (no it will not be staying)


And here is the beautiful kitchen/dining area... gorgeous right?!


Also I thought you might be interested to see what these two rooms looked like before we let the builders lose on them!  The top room is going to be part of a guest suite which was actually in a previous life the kitchen below...yes behind those kitchen cabinet's is that wonderful mural!


And so the kitchen/dining area actually used to be another room altogether! We had a structural engineer come in and okay the demolition of the walls and so we now have a gorgeous open plan kitchen/dining/living area.

You will unfortunately have to wait quite a few months for the after shots as it takes a lot longer for the builders to fix the mess then it does to create it!

Charlie is re-looking through the website today and making quite a few tweaks.  He is also putting together the contract for a new project,  we have also had the okay on a table that we are ordering for the project above so that will be going in to the warehouse in 4 weeks - so he is putting together a delivery schedule. I was going to stop by Chelsea Harbour on my way back up north however due to the general rottenness of the site (when will I ever learn not to wear nice shoes on site?) and the builders meeting over running (builder: "just one more question...) I didn't manage it so I will have to pop down there tomorrow after I see the people regarding the bespoke cornicing.


Daily meeting as usual.  Today we are back on site at Putney as we have "the people for the bespoke cornicing" - basically the apartment has a beautifully long hallway (that the rug we were showing you on Tuesday's to-do is for.  However the previous client's had put in a drop down ceiling in part of it and the biggest spot lights you have ever seen in your life (see below!)


So we decided that this wasn't going to work for our design and I hate the idea of losing head space... so we got the builders to pull in all down hoping that the original cornicing would be nicely preserved behind the fake such luck!  So we are having quotes done to have the two new sections of ceiling corniced with the exact matching cornicing so that we have a beautiful seamless looking design that looks like it was when the building was first built.  That's the theory anyway - we will see what the quotes look like and the lead time for them.  Below is the beautiful cornicing that we will be re-instating in the rest of the hallway (and no we will not be keeping the 'interesting' light fitting!)

We are also ordering some extra tiles for a project in Islington as the builders have found a manhole that are need to cut around which means the orginal tiles pattern didn't work so we are 3 tiles short... however it will all be worth it as the tiles pattern is beautiful. (you will have to take my word for it that it is going to be wonderful as this picture probably isn't selling it)

But it does help that the shower area is going to have these amazing tiles to really give the room some 'wow' factor!

Charlie is also re-arranging the delivery of a fireplace thanks to this piece of taken by the builder when he refused delivery of a gorgeous fireplace going in to the Putney project.  That looks like a chip to me!!

Also today we are finishing off some very important drawings for a very important and currently secret mission that will be revealed very soon.  Here's a clue it is something I am completely passionate about....


Today after our daily meeting  we arrange our weekly updates for clients.  Basically we go through all of the invoices for every client, check up that everything is on target and check off what has been delivered in to the site and what has been delivered in to the warehouse - if anything is running late or needed to be re-ordered we make sure that the delivery time scale isn't going to affect the builders work or the overall finish date.  We then send all of the gorgeous pdfs for every 'open' invoice through to the clients so that they can see what's going on and we also give a rough update of the main interesting points in the email.  That tends to take up most of the day as we have lots of invoices and lots of clients at the moment.  So if we can we try and go through all the paperwork that has amounted during the week - brochures from current suppliers, from prospective suppliers and everything that needs to go in to each clients folder.  Then we answer any email questions or phone calls that clients have arising from the update email... by then most of the day is gone but I often sit down to write blog posts and we have our end of week meeting.

Here is one of my favourite products from a brochure that has just dropped through our mail box this morning.  This gorgeous bed is from Robert Langford and I am just dying to use it in an upcoming project.


So there we have our week, I am also cooking a gorgeous 3 course meal for the amazing Divine Decadent one so I am off to start the meal with a large bay breeze cocktail...


This week has been a wonderful bank holiday so we only have a 4 day week - which will make it extremely busy with all the meetings we have scheduled (its been hectic so far) but it also looks like it will be fantastically productive!

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