July 1, 2019 - No Comments!

Working with Birdhouse: Construction and Installation

After of Birdhouse Design Studio's Downtown Omaha showroom. We partnered with Marten Construction for design + build services.

Before, similar view of suite 110 at Hotel Flatiron before design by Birdhouse and construction from Marten Construction.

This article is four of four in our “Working With Birdhouse” series. Catch up on the first three posts here: Discovery + Creative, Budgeting + Procurement, and Project Coordination.

Now all the pieces are put into place and positioned according to the approved design plans. We finalize timeline, budget, design plans, and chat about scheduling work hours. For Birdhouse Design + Build projects (projects that require construction), we have a site meeting with everyone on the project team from Birdhouse and our construction partner, Marten Construction, a licensed grade B general contractor. Once construction begins, we have weekly on-site process meetings. Any questions or issues are addressed promptly so we keep the process rolling along.

For projects outside of Omaha we switch our weekly on-site meeting to video, phone, or basecamp updates.

Since finding a quality contractor is time consuming and a little overwhelming, we've already vetted our construction partner so we can provide services from beginning through completion on any project. We can't emphasize enough how important it is to work with a qualified, licensed contractor who includes transparent pricing, is our co-captain on project management, and is respectful to both our client's and their homes. After working with Marten Construction on numerous residential and commercial projects, we've developed a system that allows Birdhouse to act as the design liaison and collaborate with a construction team with twenty years experience to bring your project to life in the most efficient (and quality) way possible.

Once construction is complete, (or if you didn’t need it at all) we move to furniture and decor installation. We really go back to that Discovery phase here and analyze what you want to do in this space. Is having a cozy reading nook important? How about structure for conversations around the fireplace? We make sure your space flows and operates how you envisioned living in it. 

Styled bookshelves and living room installation from a recent project in Omaha, NE.

Process photo from styling and installation day for a recent design project in Omaha, NE.

And, finally onto styling the space. This is the phase that softens up the new finishes and layers in your personality. We hang art, bring in greenery and accessories, and even help with organization. It's the finishing touches that elevate a space from pretty to special and personalized. 

We wrap everything up with a final punch list of any outstanding items. After the list is complete, we leave our happy clients in their amazing new space!

Interested in hiring Birdhouse Design Studio for your next interior design or remodeling project? Let's get an initial consultation set up for you!



June 17, 2019 - No Comments!

Working with Birdhouse: Project Coordination

This article is three of four in our “Working With Birdhouse” series. Catch up on the first two posts here: Discovery + Creative and Budgeting + Procurement.

Project Coordination is where things get moving and shaking. There are countless to-dos during every phase of a project and believe us when we say that managing them is not for everyone. Good news is, this is where we really shine!

Example of communication with a client in Madison, WI.

Phone calls to shipping companies, coordinating contractors, and projecting schedules are time-consuming, so we we do all of the heavy lifting. The last thing we want is for one of our clients to get stuck on hold with a receiving warehouse in Kansas City for 40 minutes trying to figure out why their dining room table isn't at the project site yet.

Example of a shared project schedule.

We use multiple project management and invoicing programs that help us stay organized and provide the necessary communication to clients, vendors, and all other members of the project team. These online tools are especially useful for working with clients outside the Omaha metro area.

Think of us as your project advocate in this stage. Things happen: weather, missing parts, and vendor snafus (somehow there’s always something). But instead of having to get yet another email from a furniture vendor that Black Friday is pushing back your delivery— - we handle it. We’re skilled in the art of “how are we going to get this to work,” and have multiple partnerships with vendors across the U.S. to make sure your project goes off without a hitch.

Stay tuned to learn about the next step in our process: Construction + Installation.



April 1, 2019 - No Comments!

Working with Birdhouse: Budgeting + Procurement

Recent full-service interior design project in Omaha, NE.

This article is two of four in our Working With Birdhouse series. Read the first article on Discovery + Design here.

It’s All About That Budget

Design is always the fun part, but budgeting is really the star of the show. We create informed budget ranges and materials allowances and then respect them throughout the entire project. This involves first specifying the finishes, furniture, lighting, art, and decor. And then working with our construction partners to develop budget estimates for labor and construction materials.

But how do you know what your goal budget is? Well, that’s why you came to us!

Cropped example of a services proposal for a full-service project. A detailed construction bid would also be included for any major remodeling project.

Our first question before we even meet for an initial consult is, “What’s your budget?” Not because we’re nosy and need to know how much money you have in your bank account. Honestly, it’s always a little weird talking about someone else’s money. But we want to set up every project for success, and if we don’t start with realistic budget expectations, we’re creating a recipe for disaster.

The real design world is not an HGTV makeover where an entire house renovation seems to cost $10,000 and is completed in two weeks (or 30 minutes). After close to a decade working on everything from living room makeovers to multi-million dollar commercial projects, I can guarantee that pretty much every budget breakdown you see on TV doesn’t calculate all the actual design time, labor, and materials costs. Much of it is essentially donated for free in exchange for exposure. Obviously, 99% of real-life design projects aren’t sponsored by major appliance companies, so we work to educate potential clients on the true costs of furniture, design, and remodeling.

Example of our digital approval process for product and services.

Often our clients have never worked with a designer or contractor before and they aren’t really aware of how much quality materials and labor cost. After the initial Discovery process, we provide an itemized estimated budget based on customized project goals and the type of aesthetic a client gravitates toward.

Even the smallest projects have dozens of specifications. If you don’t line up estimates for all the pieces before you start construction, then that really beautiful bed (and quality mattress, please don’t skimp on that!) you imagined crawling into after months living in a construction zone won’t be there because you had to pay for the new furnace that nobody thought to budget for.

Cropped example of a paid invoice via our invoice management platform.

What on Earth is Procurement?

Basically, it’s buying your stuff for you. More specifically, it means we manage all vendor coordination, purchasing, shipping, and delivery as a one-stop shop for you. We put together a proposal that usually includes several phases, and once you’ve made your payment we do all the tedious (and let’s be real, annoying) work of placing a gazillion orders and figuring out ETAs for each piece. We even use an invoice management system so you can see exactly what you have and haven’t paid for throughout the course of the project. It’s super user-friendly and much easier than keeping track of all the paper copies of your receipts.

Most of our projects involve custom fabricated pieces or to-the-trade only items, but not all clients opt for full-service design with procurement. If you want to stretch your budget a bit more, we offer design only services for people who feel comfortable (and have the time) to manage all the ordering on their own.  We prefer to provide a soup-to-nuts style service, however it's important that we have options for clients at different budget levels.

Stay tuned to learn about the next step in our process: Project Management.