A Client can initially present some pretty firm ideas on their preferred design concept coupled with a very defined budget. The challenge for a designer is to meet or exceed their design expectations whilst defining a realistic and achievable budget.
Tip #1 – Define a realistic budget – discuss with your Builder/Designer at an early stage to identify if your ideas are realistic to your budget.
Firstly broadly defining design expectations involves a bit of detective work. Beyond the initial meeting and a list of broad parameters, you need to understand their values, their current lifestyle, and then the “must-have” expectations. This can involve can involve visiting or seeing photos of what they would like in their new home. This is where encouraging a Pinterest board – or similar like Houzz – with their preferences is invaluable. Share these ideas with your Builder/Designer & collaborate together to understand possibilities.
Tip #2 – Create a Pinterest or Houzz account and begin exploring ideas for inspiration.
Whilst still defining building expectations, at this initial meeting a serious discussion is required regarding a realistic budget. Starting with defining an expected all inclusive square meter of floor area, this can be matched to a cost per square meter given the type of building they are expecting. If the size and the limiting cost per square meter don’t match, an agreeable compromise of either area or type of building cost needs to be agreed.
Tip #3 – Create a list of “must have’s” and another list of “negotiables”
Floor area, of course, can easily be adjusted, however, it is the cost per square meter that is not as easily revised. This element, at this stage, is an estimate of the type of building preferred dictated by the site, number of levels, choice of materials, specific features and quality of finishes.
Tip #4 – Be prepared to compromise, and be open to alternatives – a good Builder/Designer will be able to identify ways in which to save costs without compromising the overall aesthetics.
Once a balance is established and at this early stage, then the progression of the design evolution can really commence.