The Design Process: From First Date to Your Forever Home

Have you ever wondered what the interior design process actually looks like? And if you’re thinking, “LeAnne, of course, I know — I watch TV!” you might be in for a surprise, my friend.

The process you see in reality shows is like watching a 10-second time lapse of a sunrise: it’s mesmerizing to watch, but much faster and missing a lot of little details.

As I mentioned in 16 Business & Life Lessons I Learned in 16 Years as CEO, I am all about setting realistic expectations for our mutual happiness and success. Which is why I want to take you step by step through the design process today!

Although every designer’s approach will differ in ways, the general structure is similar. At LBI, we segment our design process into 4 phases.

Got a glass of Pinot handy? Ready to see how it works? Then let’s go!

from our Contemporary Parisian Remodel


Great design is about fab spaces, but it is firmly built upon relationships. (Cue another life lesson.) If you work with us, we’ll end up knowing your needs, your routine, and even the location of your underwear drawer — that takes some trust!

Our process builds that trust, from the “dating phase” to the “proposal,” from building expectations to having systems and procedures that deliver for you on time. After all, you wouldn’t say “I do” to a lifetime of bliss without knowing the other person, right? Right.

Our process helps us get acquainted, opens the doors to communication, and is your assurance that we’ve got your back every step of the way. Which is why we won’t start your project without a plan in place.


Our discovery phase is where we find out more about you, your design project, and whether we are a good fit for each other. I like to call this the “dating phase.” You deserve to work with someone who gets you, and we do our best work for people who trust and appreciate our talents, skills, and process, too.

Brief overview of what’s included in this phase:

• First Date: Discovery phone call with me, Principal Designer LeAnne Bunnell

• Second Date: On-site consultation, Design Development Agreement + retainer received

• Third Date: Creation of the initial design concept, including trades and suppliers consultations

• Proposal: High-level concept presentation, agreement signed, retainer submitted, and…

Project Launch! (“She said yes!!”)

Don’t worry, the dating metaphors stop here.

from our Vacation Reno Redesign


During the Design Development Phase (my favorite phase), we take what we discovered in Phase I and complete the deep dive into the design research, trade inquiries, sourcing, and hammering out details with trades and suppliers. We get pricing, quotes, and…

…present the entire design concept to you on Presentation Day!

I have to admit, for us, Presentation Day is nerve-racking and thrilling all at once. We show you the results of what is sometimes 6-8 weeks (yes, you read that right) of hard work.

Every last detail has been thought through; all options have been explored. Pricing and quotes have been balanced to fit your budget and give you quality products/labor that we can stand behind. We review everything with you, take deposits, and then hit the ground running!

Brief overview of what’s included in this phase:

• Trade Day: On-site measurements and final meetings with trades and suppliers

• Design Development: Execution of floor plans, elevations + sourcing

• Presentation Day: Present the design concept, review it, receive retainer and GO!

from our 80s Vista Remodel


During the Design Implementation Phase, we communicate with trades, oversee the project on-site and off, place orders/receive/manage goods, supervise installations, and basically juggle all the balls, all the time.

It might sound short and simple, but this phase consists of the real heavy lifting that brings your project to life. It’s also where you’ll find a designer to be a HUGE asset to your project, budget, personal freedom, and peace of mind.

At the end of this phase, you get your TA-DA-WELCOME-HOME moment!!

Brief overview of what’s included in this phase:

• Orders: Placement of orders, delivery timeline advisement, review of budget

• Construction: Construction and renovation begins

• Installation: As orders are received and construction completed

• Styling Day: Final furniture and styling wraps up

• Reveal Day: TA-DA!!! We get to show you your new, beautiful home

from our Calgary Home Reno


Yes, although we must say our bittersweet goodbyes, we do have an exit strategy that will leave everyone happy as can be.

We identify any deficiencies and resolve any final home and financial details. In other words, we ensure everything’s tied-up nicely and you are completely, over-the-moon with your home.

Next is some portfolio photography FUN (think sexy photoshoot for your home), pop some bubbly, and give you a Thank You gift to show our appreciation. Then we send you off into the sunset…

…where you’ll live happily ever after! (Okay, turns out I can’t resist another cheesy metaphor.)

In all seriousness, we see how our clients’ lives change when their homes finally support their lifestyles, bring them joy and comfort, and even inspire them to live more fully. We might not be brain surgeons here, but helping you live your best life is pretty darn important to us!

So, are you ready to enjoy a first date with us?