We are so happy you are considering working with Coddington Design! We believe clear communication and your direct involvement in the design are the cornerstones of a great working relationship. In that spirit, here are a few FAQs about the design process.
Do you offer free consultations?
Yes, for new, qualified clients within the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Palo Alto and surrounding areas.
What services do you offer?
We are a full-service interior design firm expertly managing the process from concept to installation. We specialize in both residential and commercial design projects. If you are building a new home, we can work with the architect and/or contractor. We also offer consultations paid by the hour.
How do I begin a project with Coddington Design?
Simply contact one of our offices to set up an initial consultation. During this meeting we will discuss your budget, your design needs. We will ask questions regarding yourself, your family, your preferences, household habits and hobbies, functional needs, and desired outcome for your home. All of this will lead us down the right path in defining your unique style. Our goal for every project is to realize the vision of the homeowner.
Where are you located at?
Coddington Design has two locations:
– 550 15th Street, Suite M18 San Francisco, CA 94103
– 3976 Witzel Dr Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 (by appointment only)
What are your business hours?
Our San Francisco office is open Monday – Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Our Sherman Oaks office is by appointment only
What should I bring to the initial meeting?
Reviewing any inspiration images that you have collected, such as from magazines or Pinterest, will help us further uncover your style and direction. It might also be a good idea to have some pictures of styles you do not like, so our designers know what to stay away from during your interior design project.
What areas do you serve?
We have offices in San Francisco Bay Area and Sherman Oaks, but also cover Palo Alto, Los Angeles and other surrounding areas.
Does Coddington Design have a minimum project size?
We do not have a minimum project size.
How do I keep track of my budget?
We will create and maintain an Excel spreadsheet of your budget upon request. The budget will include furnishings separated by room, and monthly design time fees.
How long will the design process take? Is there a way to speed up the process?
Most interior design projects will take anywhere from 3–6 months depending on the size.
If you are on a tight timeline, we will do everything in our power to complete your home as quickly as possible, but please let us know at the beginning of the process. Because custom furniture is often built-to-order, items can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to arrive (sometimes more, sometimes less). Our vendors appreciate knowing in advance that this will be a rush job and can sometimes accommodate our schedule, but please note that rush charges will apply. By scheduling frequent meetings with your designer and making decisions quickly, you can also speed the process along.
I have never worked with an interior design firm before, what is the process?
Each project is unique. The first step is to setup the initial consultation, so we can discuss exactly what you are looking for and see if we can help. We will gather all necessary information to be able to define your style.
Over a series of meetings, we will take what we’ve learned about you and your style and turn it into a thoughtful design for your home. We will present you with furniture plans and color palettes to ponder, fabrics and materials to touch and see in your space, and images of furniture and lighting we’ve thoughtfully selected specifically for your home. If desired, we will create photo-realistic renderings with our selections so that you can truly visualize your space before making any final decisions. We generally present one or two rooms at each meeting, if the construction schedule allows, and we will always discuss pricing of items along the way. We take your budget seriously and work hard to balance special, splurge-worthy pieces with every day, cost-conscious items.
Depending on the scope of your project and the timeliness of your decision-making, this phase can take a couple of weeks (for one or two rooms) to a few months or more (for a full-scale design or remodel). Your feedback is vital during this phase so that we can be sure we are expertly translating your style into the perfectly designed home of your dreams.
During the remodeling process, what is expected of me? What will I have to do?
Sit back, relax and let us handle this phase of your project! We will manage all of the orders for your furniture, rugs, lighting, and window treatments, and make sure everything arrives on schedule, in the correct finish and size, and undamaged. We keep track of everything going into your new space with a project binder organized by room, which includes: floor plans and drawings; images and renderings; paint, lighting, finish and plumbing schedules (i.e. spreadsheets listing the specifications of permanent elements in your home); copies of all proposals and fabric samples; and anything else pertinent to your project. We can prepare a binder for your own reference if you desire.
If your interior design project has a remodeling or new build component, we stay in constant contact with the contractors and frequently visit the job site to ensure work is progressing on schedule and that our designs are being built as intended. We share all of our paint, lighting, finish and plumbing schedules with the contractors, so they know exactly what is going where. To make sure that our design intent is clearly communicated, we provide the contractors with detailed construction drawings such as cabinetry layouts, lighting plans, bathroom layouts, and fireplace design. If desired, we can assist you in reviewing contractor bids to ensure accuracy and fair pricing. Throughout this phase of the project, we will check-in with you often to address any questions or concerns.
What happens once the project is complete? When do I get to see it?
This is our favorite part of any project. We aim to provide a special “reveal” of a newly designed home to our clients.
Ideally, you will spend the day with your feet up at an off-site location while we manage the delivery and installation of all of your items into your home. We will style your shelves, hang art, bring flowers and accessories, and have your home photo-ready when you walk in your front door.
Before we conclude our time together, we do a final walk-through and prepare a list of any remaining items needing attention, and we will discuss the care and maintenance of your new finishes and furnishings. While we expect you will be thrilled with your new space, if anything is not what you had expected, we will fix it to the best of our ability.
What is the difference between custom furniture and in-stock or retail furniture?
Custom furniture is built-to-order, which means it can often be sized to our specific needs, and we can choose our own finishes and fabrics.
When we build a color scheme for your home, we usually start with the fabric, with emphasis on the upholstery pieces. Your designer will bring you lots of great fabric swatches to choose from, as well as photos of the upholstery pieces we are suggesting. Once furniture and fabrics are selected and ordered, the fabric is shipped directly to the furniture manufacturer and applied to the selected item. With retail or in-stock furniture, the fabric has already been chosen by the store and applied to the frame, and size and finish options are limited. As a result, retail doesn’t offer the same unique look or personal feel we might be trying to achieve.
What if I don’t like what you design for me?
We promise not to take it personally! Please just tell us what you don’t like and why, and we will fix it at no charge whenever possible. It does take a little extra time at the beginning of the design process to get to know your taste. If you are having trouble visualizing the final outcome of your home, we can do photorealistic 3-D renderings. These really let you “try before you buy.” We aim to make our clients in San Francisco, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, Palo Alto and surrounding areas very happy.
Where do you shop? Can I come with you?
We utilize a wide and varied group of antiques dealers, to-the-trade-only showrooms, local workrooms, and retail stores around the San Francisco, Los Angeles and surrounding areas. It is entirely up to you whether you would like to see items in person. Many of our clients never see the furniture until it shows up in their home. Just let your designer know your preference.
What is the difference between shipping and delivery?
“Shipping” (or freight) charges are incurred when an item travels from the manufacturer to our receiving warehouse. Under the umbrella of “shipping” fees are “crating” fees that are sometimes incurred for items that must be packed into wooden crates to be shipped safely. “Delivery” charges are incurred when the delivery team brings the completed items from our receiving warehouse and places them in your home.
Why is it important to have all of my furniture delivered on the same day? Can’t items be delivered as they are finished? Can they be shipped directly to my home?
We prefer to have all of our items shipped to our commercial receiving warehouses in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They are trusted professionals who unpack and inspect every item, note damage or turn away broken items, and safely store until installation day. If you accept the shipment yourself and something was damaged in transit, is it very difficult to get the vendor to refund us. For larger items, you must also be available during certain hours to accept, unpack, and inspect the item, and often the shipping company will not place the item in your home where it needs to go. For these reasons, many vendors require that their pieces are shipped to a receiving warehouse rather than to a private residence. Note that when your items are sent to our receiver, you may incur storage costs after 30 days. These are typically $100 per month.
We also strive to have all of your items delivered and installed together to give you that “Wow!” reveal moment. Seeing your space as a finished and cohesive design is preferable to seeing individual items arrive over time.
Shipping and delivery costs seem high. Why?
Generally, you can anticipate about 10-15% of your total budget allocated to freight, shipping, crating, and delivery costs.
What is the difference between a proposal and an invoice?
We submit proposals to you once all the details on an item have been decided. We ask for an 80% deposit of the total amount, paid for by check or credit card, along with the signed proposal. We do not order the item until we have received the signed proposal and the requested deposit amount. The stated lead time (i.e. 10-12 weeks) starts counting from the time we receive the deposit payment, not from the date of the proposal. Invoices are created for the final 20% of the item, plus shipping fees (if not included on the proposal) when the item nears completion and before it is shipped. We request payment on the invoice before the item is delivered to your home.
Why doesn’t the amount on my invoice match the amount on my proposal?
It is not always possible to accurately quote freight or shipping costs before an item is ordered. Most likely we had not charged you for freight or shipping yet. If there is a new charge related to the item, the invoice will say “upcharge” with an explanation.
My time bill seems high. What should I do?
We make every effort to focus our time on activities that are mission-critical to getting your home completed on schedule and to your desired outcome. On monthly time billing invoices, we clearly detail by date what room and what item within that room we are working on, but if it seems we’ve gotten off course, your designer will be happy to discuss options with you. The hours spent on your project will be higher in the very beginning (during the design and ordering phases) and at the very end (during the shipping and installation phases). You can keep hours down by making decisions quickly and avoiding making changes to items already selected. Please speak to your designer or Melanie if you have any concerns.
How much will my project cost?
While every project is different, after over a decade in business, we can give you an accurate estimate of what you will need to spend to achieve your desired outcome. We will also work with you to create and stick to a budget based on your project’s scope of work. Some things to consider when creating a budget include how involved in the design process you want to be, how quickly you can make decisions, and if pursuing a remodel, how involved in project management you would like us to be.
What is your mark-up?
We do not have a standard mark-up. Instead, we make sure that our prices are never above the retail cost, that they are fair to you as our client, and that they fit your budget.