5 min

How to Establish a Focused and Accurate Timeline For Your Project


Determining an accurate timeline for my client design projects differs vastly depending on the scope of work, materials used, decision-making abilities, and so much more. However, it is important to remember that good design takes time.

At Laura Mitchell Interior Design, we would rather your project end up done right rather than done quickly. However, we value your time spent working with us and do everything in our power to keep your project timeline on track.

Today I'll be sharing with you the 5 steps that you need to take in order to accurately establish and understand an estimated timeline for your design project…

1. Consult the Pros

The first step is communication, communication, communication. Getting things right from the get-go ensures the project goes off without a hitch! (Fewer revisions, less back and forth, etc.). I have a very thorough questionnaire that I ask my clients to fill out prior to their in-home consultation with me. This gets the ball rolling even before we start your project!

Once you hire me, we hit the ground running. Every project starts with a "Project Kickoff" meeting. We spend 1-2 hours together (depending on the size of your project) in your home diving deep into your style likes, dislikes, and functionality needs.

We review your Pinterest board as well as dissect 5-7 images that I will bring. I am leading the discussion the entire time, so absolutely no pressure if you feel lost on what you are looking for. I'll help you get there! The main thing that I ask of you during this time is to be open, honest, and trusting of my team’s expertise.

2. Determine the Scope

The scope of work highly impacts the timeline for your project. Are we taking on a full remodel or furnishing your entire home or are we just refreshing your living room space or adding some custom window treatments? Will we be adding custom furniture or a project that requires a tradesperson? All of these factors contribute to your project timeline.

After our project kickoff meeting, many things are happening on my end, behind the scenes.  

Not only am I coming up with complete design plans for your spaces and sourcing those perfectly curated furniture/styling pieces, but I am also getting in touch with the tradespeople that we may be bringing on board to obtain quotes as well as timelines from them.

Since I source furniture directly from the manufacturer (skipping the middleman retailers) I am able to get an estimated stock and lead time on each piece. This helps contribute valuable information to your initial estimated timeline.

3. Factor in Lead Times

Unfortunately, I can't control everything (as much as I would like to). After giving you the initial estimated timeline, there are circumstances beyond my control that can extend that time frame.

The biggest contributor to this - lead times! I hate to even say the dreaded word that is #2020 out loud...but it has made a significant impact on the design industry and the supply chain. A custom sofa from a vendor that typically had a lead time of 8 weeks can now be anywhere up to 22 weeks!

Even with the global pandemic aside, lead times are always variable and can change with a blink of an eye.

Don't worry though, I always have some tricks up my sleeve. If an item that was originally sourced is discontinued or the lead time is extended beyond what you are willing to wait, I can source a similar alternative for you to move forward with. We can also plan a few different install days so we can get most of your furniture installed as soon as it is ready.

4. Understand All Schedules

If we are bringing in various tradespeople, we are at the mercy of their schedules as well. In the beginning stages of your project when I am estimating a timeline for your project, I ensure that any tradespeople we are bringing on-board align within a certain timeline.  

For example, if we are ready to place orders on furnishings but the contractor you hired is booking 8 months out for their start date - Houston, we have a problem!

Again, not to worry! I have trusted tradespeople and contractors that I work with and I am given a rough idea of their calendars prior to bringing them on. Even if you have a tradesperson that you know and trust, I collaborate with them directly to ensure your project runs smoothly and on time, as best as possible.

No need for that undue stress on you when you have hired me!

5. Prepare to be Flexible

The 2nd most exciting day of your entire project (second to installation day, of course) is design presentation day.

Design presentation day takes place approximately 4-6 weeks after your "Project Kickoff" meeting. This is where I meet with you to go over the details of your custom design plan. This includes all drawings, color scheme, mood board, fabric samples, furniture selections, and budget breakdown including estimated costs for any work done by our trades and artisans, as well as an estimated timeline for your project.

As a disclaimer, the timeline is always subject to change.

I recently shared project details and photography for Project Rustic Modern. If you missed it - you can check that blog post out HERE. A big part of this design plan was a gorgeous rustic wood coffee table that my clients absolutely fell in love with (for good reason).

Between the time of the design presentation and actually placing the purchase order for this piece, it went out of stock and was backordered for 4 months. Ugh! I notified my client of this change and offered an alternative coffee table, or the option to wait to install until the coffee table arrived (making for 2 separate installs).

My clients decided to install without the coffee table. Well, fast forward 3 months (which, per the estimated project timeline, was when install was tentatively scheduled to happen), and their custom sofa was now delayed in transit. For weeks.

While waiting for the sofa to arrive safely at our receiving warehouse, the coffee table was delivered (only to have been damaged in transit). I was able to quickly get a replacement coffee table and it was delivered to the warehouse within days of the client's sofa. Despite the drama, the end result in this case (and in yours too - I promise!) is always worth it. Take a look…

As you can see, there are several circumstances that can happen throughout the phases of your project that can effect your project timeline. Many of these circumstances are out of my control as a designer (as much as I wish I could make your custom sofa - I just can't).

However, as your designer, what I can promise is communication with you from start to finish, impeccable customer service, and the hard work and dedication to handle all of these things for you. I can also promise a beautiful home that you will love when your project is complete! All will be worth it in the end. Rest assured.

If you haven’t booked us just yet, what are you waiting for?
  BOOK YOUR DISCOVERY CALL HERE, and let’s get to know each other. 
Choose boldly, style fearlessly, and most of all live beautifully!

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