Katie Malik Interior designer Cambridge

Design process explained

One of the most ‘mysterious’ questions: how do interior designers work? One of the first questions I’m asked is: “How do you work?

I remember when I started my interior design business, I was trying to figure out the best way of working for both my clients and myself, of course with the best result for my clients as an ultimate goal, and guess what? There was no one who was willing to share…Something I discovered quite soon was that interior designers in the UK have a different mindset to those in the USA; what I mean by that, they were not willing to talk openly about how they work and what the best ways were.

Of course, you have BIDA (The British Institute of Interior Design) where you can ask for information and get advice, but it’s different to actually having the experience and the right tools to work.  I hence do admire people who went into their design businesses without having any prior experience of working for a studio, and I mean, some of them, did and are still doing really well.

I chose a different path, after struggling a bit with the process (I must mention here, I would have undergone the training by then), I decided to work in a studio- learn from very experienced interior designers, get to know the process well from a different, more practical angle, and this was certainly the best decision I’ve made for myself. When I felt confident, I returned to running my own business.

I like sharing what I’ve learnt, and maybe it’s because I used to be a teacher, and in the education sector, it’s all about sharing your knowledge…interior designers, I noticed, tend to be more ‘protective’, and I’m not saying I’m not like that, as I can be very protective of my clients, however, I still choose to share some things;-)

Now, back to the question of this post on the design process I have learnt and developed, or rather am still developing.

As I mentioned before, I used to work for interior design studios, so Katie Malik Interiors‘ unique way of approaching design stems from working in one of the most prestigious high-end residential studios, #1508London. This is where I acquired both the design and client presentation methods.

Every design process starts with an in-depth brief where I collect the information about the client, their needs and desires. Below is a snippet of quite a long list of questions, which help me understand what my clients would like to achieve.

Katie Malik Interior Designer Cambridge
Katie Malik Interior Designer Cambridge- Brief questions example

This is then translated into a concept design, supported by revised layouts, proposed fabrics, materials and sketches. The concept presentation is not done through a simple board with images or/and samples, but instead the client receives a carefully collated booklet, which they can keep and come back to whenever they wish to, and all fabrics and materials are carefully arranged in a box. This allows the client to take out a sample, look at it carefully, touch it, try it in a different light. All of this contributes to a holistic design experience that #katiemalikinteriors offers.

Below are some examples of this stage, taken from different projects:

Katie Malik Interior Designer Cambridge
Katie Malik Interiors Concept Design booklet
Katie Malik Interior Designer Cambridge
Inspiration Board example by Katie Malik Interiors
Katie Malik Interior designer Cambridge
Concept design Board Example by Katie Malik Interiors

The process is then repeated as the client’s comments are addressed, and design developed. In the next development stage, we offer our clients beautiful 3D interior visualisations, called CGIs, not only 3D models. These realistic renderings allow our clients to really see what their space is going to look and feel like.

Katie Malik Interior Designer Cambridge
Developed Design Board Example

You can see more of this project here.

Open plan Scandi style kitchen, dining and living designed by Katie Malik Interior Designer Cambridge
Open plan Scandi style kitchen, dining and living

This is an example of a photorealistic visualisations. Which doesn’t look too far off how the project looks right now…with the exception of dining chairs. You can see more photos of this completed project here.

Kitchen Render-2
Kitchen- after- View on the breakfast bar and bespoke shelving separating the kitchen from the hallway

Now compare these with 3D models which don’t allow to see the finishes as they actually are and are much less realistic.

3D view of a kitchen
3D view of a kitchen
3D model of a kitchen
3D model of a kitchen
Completed remodel featured in Ideal Home Magazine in February 2016- Katie Malik Interior Designer Cambridge
Completed remodel featured in Ideal Home Magazine in February 2016

Once the design is approved, we move on to technical design where we produce drawings for tender and construction.

Katie Malik Interior Designer Cambridge
Example of the electrical plan for construction 

Our clients, should they wish, can also delegate sourcing of finishes, fittings and furniture to us. We then coordinate deliveries to the site and manage installations. After the project starts we also visit the site, which is the best way to ensure the integrity of the design is achieved.

I hope this post is useful not only for my future clients, but anyone interested in the process, including my fellow interior designers 🙂





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