down2earth interior design, llc is a unique design practice that focuses on creating sustainable, low-maintenance, and beautiful interior environments for residential and commercial clients. We work together to create an interior environment that meets the needs of your family or employees and simultaneously considers the needs of the larger community and the environment.
Every client’s needs are different. If you are looking for project management services from start to finish, we are not the firm for you. Instead, we concentrate our efforts on the areas where our expertise can provide the most value, namely developing the front end of the project (otherwise known as schematic design). Our documents will be a jumping off point to communicate design intent to building professionals who can help you with implementation. Some of the services we provide are:
Brainstorming in collaboration with client
Together, we talk about your vision for the space. We want to understand what inspires you, who will be using the space, and your functional requirements. Our mission is to listen closely to your needs and come up with ideas that meet and exceed them.
Review of inspiration images
Describing your vision using words can only go so far. Creating an idea book using visual imagery helps us all get on the same page, aesthetically. An idea book is also a great tool for self-discovery.
Good design has proportions that feel right. And of course, everything must fit. We take dimensions so we can create floor plan and elevation drawings, to scale. As we move through the design process, these scaled drawings allow us to do accurate space planning, recommend appropriately sized furniture, artwork, and window treatments, and work out dimensions for built-ins.
Photographs remind us of your home’s unique features. We want to be true to your home’s character, play up its strengths, understand your lighting sources, and respond to your home’s quirky conditions. These photos serve as a reference for us throughout the design process. We also photograph existing furniture or art that may be reused in our new design.
What pieces do you already have that you’d like to reuse? At down2earth interior design, we often look for ways to repurpose what you already have. Sometimes we relocate a piece from an entirely different room or give it a brand new finish. When we make our furniture proposals, we’ll make sure the new pieces are harmonious with your existing ones.
There are often many logical ways to lay out a room. We sketch multiple floorplan options to review with you. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each layout and refine your space plan based on your feedback.
refinement of design drawings
Based on your feedback, we refine floor plans and also propose design options for your walls, ceiling, and windows. Rendered (or colored) drawings in plan, elevation, or 3D perspective are options to aid in visualization.
Concept boards are a visual representation of where we’re headed with design. Inspiration images, major furniture pieces, and color influences may all be incorporated into this board.
Some of our clients simply need some assistance choosing paint colors. We’re happy to walk through your home with you, provide color swatches and make recommendations.
finish selection and specification
Perhaps you’ve already figured out the layout of your kitchen or bath. We can provide assistance choosing cabinet doors, countertops, backsplash tile, flooring, fixtures, or hardware.
Once we have established a space plan, we do product research and make furniture recommendations that fulfill your vision and functional needs. We layer images of the proposed furniture pieces together in the form of a collage – we often call it a “mood board.” We include our recommendations for wall color, flooring, lamps, accessories, and window treatments on this mood board as well, so you can see how all the elements work together.
consultation on lighting, window treatments, art and accessories
These elements can be key to pulling a room together, whether it’s a few table lamps and accessories, or custom window treatments.
research on the lifecycle of materials to assist in making sustainable choices
In some sense, we consider green design in every project, because interior design choices that are practical, enduring in style and high quality will last you a long time and stay out of landfills. Reusing or repurposing what you have is an obvious green approach we look to employ wherever it makes sense. When purchasing new furniture or interior building materials, you may wish to go further. You may want to consider your paint’s VOC (volatile organic compound) output, whether your countertop has recycled content, whether your cabinets come from a certified forest, or whether your wood flooring had to travel half way around the world to get to you. Sometimes there are tradeoffs when sourcing materials that are eco-friendly, and if these questions are on your mind, we’ll help you get to the bottom of them so you can make choices that make the most sense for you.
Review of quotes from vendors
Don’t know how to price out custom window treatments or calculate wall covering yardage? We work with vendors to get product quotes and help calculate quantities so our clients can get a handle on costs.
You may ask us to pull together a spreadsheet for you to summarize all the items you’ll be purchasing for the project. This helps you understand your bottom line before you move ahead and purchase.
While we encourage our clients to source most product themselves, some items are only available to designers. In other instances, there may be trade discounts so large that they offset or exceed our fees. In those cases, we provide product procurement at our standard hourly rate.
Initial Design Consultation
We begin by setting up an initial consultation in your space. During this meeting, we will get to know each other, walk your through the design process, review the space along with your personal style and your goals, identifying areas that may benefit from further design exploration. There is a flat fee for this meeting.
An initial consultation may be enough for you get some confidence about your design direction, and you may be off and running. Or, you may want us to help you with specifics, like establishing your space plan, furniture selections, or cabinetry design. If you want to pursue further design work, the initial consultation allows us to determine whether a DIY package will meet your needs or whether an hourly package will give you the flexibility you need.
Because every project is different, and every client’s needs are different, an hourly fee structure is typically the best way to ensure that we are working just on the tasks where you need assistance. After our initial walk through, we give you a ballpark estimate of how many hours we think your job is going to take, and we pair you with the designer who is best able to meet your needs.
The DIY Package is an opportunity to get a proposal for your space for a flat fee and a set number of hours (DIY packages start at 10 hours). Our typical DIY package includes an additional one hour visit to take dimensions, review of inspiration images, base drawings, a space plan, a furniture proposal, and a color palette proposal. Any requested revisions or additional scope beyond these services can be added at our standard hourly fee. A DIY package is not appropriate for bathrooms, kitchens, or spaces that require custom built-ins, custom window treatments, or custom upholstery.
Paint is always best chosen in person, under the actual lighting conditions in your space. We show up with our giant sample kits and start by proposing a few leading color contenders. Then, we get you larger samples (or you purchase sample-size cans) and you put various color options up on your walls. Our perception of color changes throughout the day and under different weather conditions. We encourage you to look at your color options under many different lighting conditions. Once you do, there may be a clear winner, or you may want to have us back out to evaluate or tweak the initial selection.
Amy has a great eye and offers sage advice. She helped us to create beautiful spaces in several rooms, paying great attention to our style choices and working within our budget. She found great pieces to add to our existing furniture, and also helped us to rearrange existing furniture and art work to enhance the beauty of our home.
Amy and Ed, Melrose Park, PA