Downs Design Group, Inc.


Stage 1

Programming & Discovery

This phase is the most important phase of the design process, as it lets me understand both what my client wants aesthetically and what functions must be included in the final design. This step includes an in depth interview with the members of the household, a field measure of the space to get the dimensions (essential to completing drawings or confirm any dimensions from previous drawings/plans), a survey of the space (with pictures), and a complete investigation of the site. As a designer, it’s important to spend as much time as possible at the site, in order to evaluate the natural light, the architectural details that need to be preserved and/or repeated in the space, the spatial relationship for functions being incorporated within the space, and the relationship to any outdoors areas.

Stage 2

Schematics & Design Development

During this phase, concepts are flushed out based on the programming from the previous stage. The layout is determined and the circulation and flow come together to give purpose and substance to all the functions that must be incorporated into the design plan. Color preferences for wall treatments and hard surfaces such as flooring, cabinetry, and countertops are determined. This is when furniture is specified and textiles are assigned. Window treatments are selected and coordinated with the other elements on the design plan. This process creates the overall personality of the space; combined with its required function it all starts coming together. This process is communicated to the client(s) through deliverables such as budgets, floor plans, furniture plans, reflected ceiling plans (RCPs), elevations, and material boards. Typically, this phase starts with several options and is refined to the final schematic plan based on revisions and is typically a melding of characteristics of the initial options.

Stage 3

Construction Documents

Based on the client’s approval of Phase 2, the final schematic design is documented, and final versions of drawings are done in order to figure out any construction or renovation labor costs. Clear instructions and details are documented, so that an apple to apples quote (a quote specific to your design) can be obtained in the bid process for contracted work (or "shopping for contractors"). All specifications are finalized; schedules for doors and windows (containing all of the forms, details, etc) are done as well a timeline for installation. This ensures that the client, contractors, and any trades are all on the same page with regards to what is to be done and when. All expectations are defined at the start and all tools to manage the project are produced.

Stage 4

Bid Process

Armed with completed construction documents, we solicit bids from our personal lists of preferred contractors and related installers for the design elements of the plan. We answer all questions, and adjust plans and schedules based on lead times and availability so that the implementation goals are both realistic and cost effective. Once the bids or cost estimates are received, we analyze the results and help prepare the contract between the client and the selected contractor, and we'll assist the client in the contract negotiations with the general contractor.  We can provide  coordination of trades and installers and communicate with general contractors to help make the process flow. We can also be present during key times to observe progress of the installations and keep you informed.

Stage 5

Project Coordination & Observation

This is the final phase of the design process, where all of the hours of planning and drawing come into play.  Any requirements for insurance (certificates) are obtained and submitted to HOA and architectural boards where applicable. Elevators and loading docks are scheduled and all deliveries and trades are observed and escorted to the job site. All schedules are reviewed and confirmed with the contractor and/or subcontractors. Any shop drawings for mill work or cabinetry are reviewed and approved and visits to the fabricator are done to ensure that all design drawings are being followed per designer’s specifications. A punch list is created at the time of the walk through so that any adjustments can be done. The movers are scheduled and a reveal is done on the final load-in day.