The 6-Step Interior Design Process




Your space matters. But exceptional interior design doesn’t begin with a space at all—it starts with the unique people who will use and enjoy it.

People sometimes think we just make places look good. Although that’s a big part of what we do, we also are experts at the design analytics, foundations, schematics, and building partnerships! From carriage houses to custom homes, and commercial spaces we work with you to take dreams and designs through to concept and completion.

At MATERIA we take a holistic approach so we can create a unique space that reflects the perfect intersection between your personal needs, the best design principles, and the environment.

We love doing custom residential design because we know an excellent design that honours your personal needs will have a significant impact on your life. In working with a variety of people and spaces, we use an efficient (and effective!) design flow.

If you’ve never worked with a professional designer, here’s a short summary of the general process. Of course, the flow will be customized to your needs—depending on the project, you’ll need more or less support. Every phase ensures design integrity, budget and timeline efficiencies, and a great experience.

Design phases:







Interior Design - Programming Phase

Interior Design - Programming Phase


Needs & dreams!

In our initial meeting, we’ll work together and create a detailed design brief to determine your needs and wants, plus the overarching style for your new home. If you have inspiration images, a Houzz Account or a Pinterest board, we’ll go over them and discuss how we can incorporate the things you love. This is also the time to start analyzing the site location to discover views, sun angles, and grades—plus talk about timelines and budgets.

Schematic Design

Foundations & flows!

During this phase we begin preliminary discussions with the municipality as well ensure your home’s design meets standard building code practices. We’ll start preparing floor plan options for your review and look at room types, room sizes, window placement, and determine your home’s flow.


Interior Design - Design Development Phase

Interior Design - Design Development Phase

Design Development

Decisions & details!

Once the floor plan is approved, we’ll start to provide exterior elevations, decide on interior and exterior finishes, and decide on window/door placement, roof lines etc. As well, the interior details start to get solidified. This is the time we’ll go into kitchen layout, bathrooms, millwork, stair location etc. as well as prepare basic interior elevations to show cabinetry design, lighting locations and tile install details.

Exterior Finishes

  • Siding, stucco, stone

  • Roofing material

  • Gutters, soffits, downspouts

  • Decking, railing etc.

  • Garage doors

  • Exterior entry & side doors

Interior Finishes:

  • Walls (tile, paint, wall coverings)

  • Flooring (hardwood, vinyl, tile, carpet)

  • Plumbing fixtures

  • Lighting fixtures    

  • Fireplace design

  • Interior doors & hardware

  • Base, case & ceiling details


Interior Design - Contract Documents Phase

Interior Design - Contract Documents Phase

Contract Documents

Specs & drawings

During the contract document phase, architectural and design drawing specs are completed to ensure the design integrity over the life of your project. The package you get may include building elevations and sections, floor plans, the site plan, window schedule, millwork plan, finishes plan, reflected ceiling plan with lighting locations, interior elevations, and other sections as required. There will also be an interior and exterior specifications document that outlines all the materials, finishes, and installation methods. These documents are critical to make sure builders and trades can give fair bids. If you’re dealing with a bank, they often ask for these documents for lending.


Interior Design - Construction Permit Phase

Interior Design - Construction Permit Phase

Permit/Tendering Phase

Bids & builders

We have established relationships with a variety of contractors and builders in the Okanagan who can participate in the project tender. We’ll help you through this exciting process by meeting the contractors on site and being available to answer questions. During this phase we will be available to do the following:

  • Provide the necessary drawings required to submit for building permits

  • Prepare a tender package that outlines key dates and deadlines, the project description, and a formal document that outlines the major categories in construction to be priced.

  • Recommend and invite 3-4 contractors/builders to bid on the project

  • Arrange site visits and introductory meetings between yourselves and the contractor/builder

  • Communicate to all bidders during the tender phase

  • Issue clarifications and addendums throughout the tender phase to all bidders

  • Review bids and provide an analysis of each bid in order for you to make a confident decision when selecting a contractor/builder


Project Administration


Interior Design - Project Administration Phase

Interior Design - Project Administration Phase

Questions & answers

During a project there are often small (or big!) changes that you might make. We’ll work with you during the entire process and stay involved until the bitter end to make sure everything is going according to your plan. During this phase, we:

  • Are available to answer any questions the contractor may have during construction

  • Take care of change management if you make changes

  • Conduct shop drawing reviews of cabinetry and millwork drawings

  • Provide site visits to ensure the construction is being built as per design drawings

  • Will conduct and issue site changes and change orders as required

From start to finish, this design process is in place to make sure you get the space you need, want, and have dreamed about!