What we offer

BGDB Interior Design is a full service design company specializing in custom interior design for residences, offices and boutiques.  We pride ourselves in providing beautiful, personally tailored and practical environments that are unique to each client’s budget and needs. We provide guidance through the entire design process whether you are simply purchasing furniture or completely gutting and remodeling an entire building. We help make a clear path to your envisioned goal, saving you time by providing appropriate product selections and master plans that fit your budget.

How it works

We begin the design process by having an initial meeting with you at the project site.  This first meeting is very important as we are there to listen to your ideas and desires for your project.  We need a lot of information from you; verbal descriptions of your likes and dislikes.  We also like for you to provide us with images that express your style and vision of what you would like your space to look & feel like; magazine pictures, web-sites, photographs, sketches etc. as well as neighborhood information and/or HOA rules.  The more thorough you can be the better we will be able to provide a design contract that best suits your project.

After the design services contract has been agreed upon the actual design parameters are developed. The existing conditions of the space or spaces to be changed are measured and recorded and “as -built” drawing plans are made. From these plans and the initial meeting preliminary schematic design drawings are made. We typically provide three schematic designs that will be discussed at length with you.  We then further modify your selection to address any physical or aesthetic or budgetary issues raised. Once you approve the design, specific merchandise will then be discussed (i.e. cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, appliances, furniture, color schemes, etc.).  A “master plan” is then completed and a submittal drawing set will be finished and given to the contractor and you for all permits necessary (if required). You will then have us order for you all necessary new merchandise specified for the new plan. When you receive your permits the contractor will schedule with you to begin the installation. We will stay involved and liaison with you and your contractor to assist in the solution to any problems or on site changes that may occur.

If you live too far away from the DC Area for full design services or are not wanting an extensive remodel or working with a modest budget for one or two rooms in your home you may be interested in our online services.

Recommendation: Budget properly

We have had the experience over the years with people telling us they don’t need a budget because if they like something they’ll just buy it, they don’t want to be limited. Others are not comfortable sharing their financial information. Your designer has absolutely no judgment regarding the amount of money you have and/or are working with.

Your budget is a tool that allows your designer to propose solutions that meet your value system, understanding you better to guide the project appropriately. Without a budget it will be impossible for your designer to recommend design parameters or merchandise effectively. Knowing the tools they have to work with,  designers can then meet their obligations and complete the project smoothly with fewer time delays.

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Budgets are important not only for décor; remodels often result in disappointment because clients did not research the costs for their project; e.g. they get a home equity loan but will it be enough? How can you be sure?

The cost for a good quality remodel in the DC area is approximately $400.00 – $550.00 per square foot. To calculate what you should expect to pay a contractor and cost of building materials measure wall to wall on both sides of the room. Multiply these two numbers together to get your square footage and then multiply that sum by the dollar amounts. As an example let’s do a 12’ X 14’ kitchen;

12×14= 168 sq.ft.

168×400= 67,200;  168×550= 92,400

The range you should therefore expect to pay is between $67,200 and $92,400 for a decent remodel of a kitchen this size. Of course if you want to purchase higher end appliances and cabinetry you will be spending a greater amount of money, however this formula will give you a realistic base to make decisions from. If you are doing a larger project, measure each room in the same manner and add each room footage together to get the total. Again multiply by the same dollar amounts – this will be your cost range. Keep in mind as well that your range could go over due to what is known as “unforeseeables”: dry rot, foundation damage, water damage, old/poor electrical wiring etc. No one has the ability to see through walls and the hired professionals may well discover these types of problemsafter demolition has begun. The caution here is to be able to have some financial wiggle-room, having only the exact amount with no reserve for potential issues will create panic. Take your time to research and plan your finances accordingly.

Design services are never part of this formula. Your designer and/or architect will give you a bid for her/his services apart from your specified construction budget.

Time is a perception not reality

Many people decide to remodel their homes at some point in their lives. They look at magazines, search the web, talk to their friends & relatives, regularly watch HGTV, visit home centers and spend years thinking about and saving for their remodel and/or new decor. When the time comes to hire a designer/architect, when the design process or construction begins people suddenly perceive that nothing is being done fast enough, none of the elements are arriving soon enough, it’s never going to be finished, etc. The examples of published media are for entertainment only and not at all a realistic view of either what a design process is or how long it takes from concept to complete installation.

Fact: Most simple kitchen remodels require 5-8 months to complete from the date of demolition. This does not include the time necessary for design development, purchase and arrival of merchandise or permit drawing production prior to installation which can take from 4-10 months. The larger the project (square footage) the longer it takes.

Many people can become overwhelmed from their perception of time and make spot decisions settling for less just to “get it over with” only to then live with the result not being to their satisfaction or taste. This is an unnecessary experience and will only make you unhappy. The design process takes time. You want to be sure that whatever you agree to have happen to your home is exactly what you want to live with when it is finished. Remember, hurry and haste makes worry and waste.

Hire the right contractor

When you and your designer have come to the point of having a working master plan it’s time to hire a general contractor (this pertains to extensive remodels). Designers/architects will most likely have a few that they can recommend and it is our very experienced advice that you work only with whom they recommend. You are assembling a team to work together and if they have history of working well together it will make the whole process much smoother with fewer upsets.

If however, you are just dead set on working with someone a friend recommended then you need to do the following:

Get more than one bid, three is best to compare how contractors price out their tasks. Never ever go with the cheapest bid even if it’s the person your friend/relative recommended. If one bid stands out as much less than the others then it is too good to be true and you will be a victim of the “change order”. This practice is to bid very low, get the client to sign on then come back to the client every week or so with some sort of “problem or issue” claiming it was not on the original agreement so now they have to charge more. We have seen it happen to every one of our clients who took the lowest bid and the job never ended well in this situation, in fact always ended up costing more than the contractor we recommended. Have your design professional look over the contractor’s bid with you. If she/he tells you it looks unrealistic then it is, don’t hire that person no matter how much your friend raves about that contractor. Instead go with the person whose bid is in the middle, a range between the lowest and highest bid. That contractor is giving a more honest price range and will offer little if any cost surprises.

One of the most important things to do when interviewing your prospective contractors is to ask if they have worked with a designer before. Watch their reaction and pay attention to how they answer. If they are evasive, roll their eyes or say anything negative then they are not the right contractor for this particular project. Remember what we said above, you are assembling a team and all have to work well together. Some contractors might be amazing but if they don’t like to work with designers/architects or only have bad experiences of doing so then they will be disruptive and not communicate well with the team thus sabotaging the hard work and sincerity of the other professionals and your remodel will end up with great disappointments for you. In short, do not hire anyone who does not have respect or positive things to say about working with designers/architects.