When to Work with an Interior Designer for Your Office

Kaitlyn Payne Basicspace Commercial Interior Design

At Managed by Q, we work with hundreds of partner service companies to help our clients realize just about any project in their office. Basicspace, a commercial and residential interior design firm based in Brooklyn, is one of our interior design partners. The owner and Principal Designer, Kaitlyn Payne,  trained as a interior designer at Wentworth Institute of Technology, where she learned about everything from interior decor to construction management.

Kaitlyn works with offices on projects ranging from re-organizing a supply closet to a full-scale office renovation. We spoke with Kaitlyn about when companies should hire an interior designer and what to expect when working with one.

Why and when should companies work with an interior designer?

Companies appreciate their work environment more now than 10 or 20 years ago because it contributes to employee happiness, satisfaction and retention. An interior designer can guide the process of thinking deeply about the space, materials, and how people work in that space.

Thanks to blogs and social media, design inspiration is more accessible than ever, but application is hard. There are a lot of details that you don’t necessarily think of when planning a space: dimension, placement, materials, and how the space itself will be constructed. An interior designer can help you not only select and manage these aspects, but ensure they can be applied to a space correctly.

What are some of the different types of commercial projects you’ve worked on, whether small or large?

I’ve worked on multiple commercial projects––ranging from a few days of work to several months. For one content marketing business, I worked on smaller tasks like sourcing, sizing, choosing locations for, and installing whiteboards in their conference rooms.

I worked with a fellowship program when they were moving into a smaller office space, but with the same amount of staff. I studied the floor plan of the new office and measured all the furniture to choose what to move. From there, I produced  a comprehensive list for the movers, which created a seamless process for all involved.

At OrderGroove, I designed a complete office renovation. I managed the project from start to finish, and oversaw every aspect of the renovation including construction, materials , and furniture. We knocked down three walls and did electrical and lighting work. We worked with a contractor who is also a partner with Managed by Q.

Commercial interior design and renovation


If a client is taking on an office renovation, what can they expect from the process?

When I receive a renovation project request from Managed by Q, my first step is to understand the scope of work and set up a walkthrough of the space. This ensures the client and I are on the same page so I can provide an accurate estimate. From the beginning of any project, successful design relies on clear communication and managing expectations. Once a scope of work is determined, the project generally unfolds into five phases.  

Phase 1: Schematic Design: Information gathering and idea iteration

To start, I work collaboratively with my client to understand their business, culture, and how employees need to use the space. From our brainstorming and sketching I put together several conceptual schematic designs to explore different options.

Phase 2: Design Development: Solidify concept

We narrow down the layout options and choose a final concept with the client. Then I focus on choosing materials, defining details of the space, and sourcing specific products.

Phase 3: Contract Documents: Create construction documents

I produce a full set of architectural drawings that outline the design decisions for the contractor and provide all the information they need for the build out including specifications and locations for all design elements.  

Phase 4: Project Management: Construction

In this phase I focus on construction administration and oversight. I serve as an advocate for the client and make sure the design decisions are being applied and its intention is put into place.

Phase 5: Punch List: Finalize details and follow up

After construction is complete I conduct a walkthrough with the contractor and client to make a list of any details that may have been overlooked, such as paint touch ups. About a month after, I check in with the client to find out how they are settling in and what is and isn't working.  

 

What should office teams keep in mind when considering working with interior designers?

No matter the size of the project, design work is all about teamwork. For example, my projects are a collaboration between myself, my design assistant Cristina, and my clients. We are designing for them, not for ourselves, so everything is in their best interest, and I take into account their budget and scheduling constraints. This should always be the case, regardless of the designer you’re working with.

Overall, interior design is very personal and office space should be created specifically for the people using it. Working with Q has been fantastic because as an interior designer, it’s hard to find contractors and other trades people to come in an do small jobs and Managed by Q has been there to help.

 

Whether you are planning a major renovation, or just need help organizing or sprucing up a space, Managed by Q can help you find the service professionals you need to create a great workspace for your team.

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Photography by Basicspace and Jeff Mertz