Fuchsia Design: What to Expect on New Construction


Not sure what to expect when hiring an interior designer? Today I’m going to be discussing the behind-the-scenes journey my client’s take when hiring Fuchsia for their new construction projects(renovation clients? Your post is here!).

Typically, when Fuchsia Design is hired for a new construction project, our team is brought in during the architectural phase. By having an interior designer review the plans while the architect is drawing them, he/she can review spaces from a design perspective –

Will this room accommodate furniture in a functional way?

Will this kitchen layout accommodate large groups during holiday gatherings?

Will this large open living room have floor outlets for lamps on side tables and for using computers and phones while sitting on the couch?

Does the master bathroom have a wall large enough for a king bed and nightstands?

Does the master shower layout accommodate the components you would like to have? Built in shampoo niches? A bench? Euro glass doors? 2 shower heads?            

One of our favorite parts of the job is really getting to know who are clients are and reflecting their personalities into their homes. Learning exactly how you will use a space, the types of things you love, and which aspects of the design to best invest your budget in will help your home be more than you ever imagined.

After our initial consultation, we put together a design proposal for our clients to review. This itemizes each part of the project (also known as the project scope) and estimates how many design hours it will take to complete. It’s important to recognize that the estimate is based on previous experience and an average from client to client. Some clients make decisions very quickly. Some projects run into unanticipated hiccups during various stages of the project. There are always variables, but a design proposal gives our clients a pretty close idea to what they can expect cost wise when working with Fuchsia Design on their project.

After a client approves the design proposal, they are sent a formal design contract. This protects both parties and outlines the terms of working together. Once the design contract is signed, we are ready to get rolling!

Depending on the particular project, usually the design process goes as follows:

1.     EXTERIOR: One of the first things we should discuss for your home are the exterior selections – stone, siding, windows, shingles, fascia, soffit, deck finishes, etc – These will be the first things that need to be installed during the building process so making these selections early will ensure the builder has plenty of time to order before the materials are needed.

2.     CABINETRY: The second item thing we should start working on are cabinet layouts and built-ins. During the framing process, the framers will need to know if there are built-in bookshelves, items such as lockers, shampoo niches in the shower, and other components that need to be framed. Cabinets have long lead times so finalizing layouts, finishes, and door styles sooner rather than later is helpful to keeping a project moving.


3.     PLUMBING: Shortly after framing finishes, the MEPs will start (mechanical, plumbing, and electrical). Knowing where the sinks will be in the cabinetry layouts will help ensure components get places in the correct spot. Its also important to know if there will be wall mount faucets, if under-cabinet plumbing needs to come out of the floor or wall,  or other plumbing features that will affect the layout during initial stages.

4.     ELECTRICAL: For the electrical layouts, its important to know what types of light you will be using in the different areas of the home. Specific lights are not needed at this time, but lighting types will be necessary. Are bedrooms going to have ceiling fans with lights? Are you doing surface mount lights or can lights in the hallway? Will your powder bath have a wall mount sconce or a pendant hanging over the sink? Fuchsia Design will work with you to determine an electrical layout that is functional and attractive. 

5.     TRIM: The next thing needed is going to be specific drawings for all built-ins, trim details, railing details, fireplace design, and other items built during the trim stage.

6.     FINISHES: Its usually easiest to work through finishes while doing trim, to keep wood species in mind when designing various wood components. Will the fireplace be knotty pine or painted MDF? Its hard to know unless other design features have been decided. The following are items that are needed at this point – tile, wood flooring, carpet, paint colors, and countertops.

7.     FURNISHINGS: Custom upholstery will usually have a lead time between 6-10 weeks. So 3-4 months prior to construction being completed is an appropriate time to select furniture for your space. Its helpful to know fabrics that will be used and overall color palette when selecting paint colors, so this can be a busy time during the project to work on all finishes and furnishings at the same time.

8.     FINAL MEP: Final selections for plumbing, lighting, and mechanical are needed at this point. Sometimes lighting fixtures can have long lead times, but they are one of the last items installed, so this is an appropriate time to finalize those selections.

By getting a designer involved a few months prior to when you would like to begin construction, it allows you to a head start on selecting finishes before construction begins. This not only helps you determine the total cost of your project prior to beginning, but it also helps ensure that your project will run smoother and more efficiently. It also allows the builder and trades to order everything necessary for your project ahead of time leaving less concern for backorders, out-of-stock items, and long lead times.

Building a new house? You deserve a home that’s extraordinary, so let’s get started!