Our Signature Process Explained

Interior design isn't just my job; it's my vocation – and my passion. Even as a child, I found inspiration in the beautiful ways that my grandmother would arrange and decorate her house. As I got older, I began studying art, and, eventually, interior design. As I see it, there are unmissable connections between the two. That's why I often say that interior design is like art that you live in.

When I design, it's like I'm painting a picture – not just of a room itself, but also of the people who will live in it, and how they'll use it. What kind of life do they want? How do they want to feel in the space? What colors speak to them, and how will they use each space?

 Office space with modern chair and traditional desk

To answer those questions and eventually develop and execute a plan that uniquely reflects each client's wishes and mission, I've developed a tried-and-true signature process that includes four phases – discovery (getting to know the client and his or her needs and desires), design (developing plans), delivery (construction and installation) and project wrap-up (identifying and resolving any issues). You can read more about the specific steps in each phase here.

As a designer, the very first step for me and my team is to learn who the client is and what they love, before I ever even put a pencil to paper or imagine a color scheme. This discovery process begins with an in-home consultation. I ask clients to collect about a dozen images for each room they want to work on to get an idea for styles, colors, and vibes that excite them. But more importantly, I want to get to know their needs and wishes, to share ideas, and to discuss how we can best move forward together. What's the best way for us to communicate? How often should we check in? All of these questions are equally as important to me as whether you like or loathe the color yellow. It's about building a relationship, and building trust, and at Dane Austin Design, we take that responsibility very seriously.

Only then will I begin to think about design concepts. Knowing what inspires my clients helps me create innovative spaces that will work for them. It also helps me create a plan of action customized to my clients' goals and lifestyles. That's why I often say that I don't have a signature look. Instead, I have a signature experience.

The second part of this signature experience is the design phase, where me and my team work on floor plans, furniture, fabrics, and finishes. This is where we conceptualize the project and present it to you for your approval. We know that luxury doesn't necessarily come from a label – true luxury comes from feeling at home in a distinctive space that was curated just for you.

Once the client approves the design plans, we continue to work and communicate with him or her throughout the entire process of implementation. I believe that good design isn't just about the final installation, but also about the journey we take together.

 Sculptures resting on a fine wooden dresser

We understand that our typical client can't drop everything to oversee a home redesign or renovation. But no client wants to be left in the dark either. That's why we offer a bespoke design experience that's specifically tailored to minimize our clients' stress. We believe communication is a key element in executing successful design. Within every phase of the design process, clients are consistently kept apprised of progress with regular check-ins. We're with our clients every step of the way.

As a full-service design firm, we deliver turnkey interiors – in other words, we sweat the small stuff so that you don't have to. We receive, unwrap, and inspect everything – and hold it all – until the time of installation. That means a client never has to worry about returning a scratched sconce or squeezing extra chairs into her dining room before a project is complete. All that anxiety is gone.

For this reason, we typically schedule a two-day installation period, during which our team of experts takes care of every last detail. (Most of our clients choose to stay at a hotel or other find other accommodations during that period.) From painting and plumbing to hanging art, we take care of it all. When every last detail is complete, we'll bring clients in for the big reveal. We'll have the candles lit, preferred room scents, and champagne ready to welcome clients into their newly transformed abode.

 Traditional living room with a candle chandelier

This is by far my favorite part of any project (don't be surprised to see a tear in my eye!) because this is when we finally put all the pieces of the design experience together. From the getting-to-know-you phase to ironing out details finally to physically transforming a space, this is where we get to pay back our clients for all that trust they've put in us. And it always feels good.

I absolutely love sharing this joy and experience with our clients. Curating a thoughtful space that's well organized is my mission. Creating a stage designed to make people's lifestyle dreams come true is so special. I love being able to give that to people.

Yian Q