Recently we were asked to describe what our typical commercial
interior designs end up costing our customer for finishes and lighting. We
reached out to a general contractor customer asking them if our work with them
over the years resulted in any useable budget averages that we could share with
this inquiring new customer. Their response was very helpful:
“In our work with r.o.i. Design, no two projects look the same and seldom use the same finishes or details so it would be hard to quote ‘an average’ square foot cost. We have seen r.o.i. Design respond to very budget-driven projects, but they can also deliver competitive grade interior design.”
They went further to describe budgeting of an interior in a very understandable way, “When a customer asks about average square foot interior costs, we ask them what they think a typical bag of groceries cost. The response is the realization that a bag of groceries can range widely in cost depending on what is in the bag.”
And while that vague response doesn’t satisfy the question of what an interior may cost, it does help put a disclaimer to any budget number given before a qualified scope of the interior is created.
The ideal process to budgeting an interior:
Confirm the square footage being built or remodeled. Confirm the type of space and it’s intended use.
Confirm the “scope of the interior finishes”. What will be carpet, what will be resilient flooring, what will be tile flooring, what will be painted, what will be wallcovering, etc?
Determine the quality level of finish expected, ask what other spaces that are already built describe the desired outcome.
Using square footage numbers and consulting with the General Contractor, multiply typical costs (by the level of finish) by area.
This process results in scope and a budget that can be used
for the basis of design. In many cases, the first calculations require
revisions for a variety of reasons.
r.o.i. Design’s by-line is “Budget, Brand, and Beauty”. We aim to deliver them all, and in that order.
The benefit of starting with the budget and scope is that interior design decisions are less likely to need changes, creating less disappointment and fewer fees.
r.o.i. Design respects the team
approach in the design-build process where the architect, general contractor
and interior designer work together to agree on the scope of the work and
An interior design’s success is dependent on how it is lit. Identical finishes lit in two ways will appear totally different. r.o.i. Design has been asked to create initial lighting plans more frequently in the last two years than ever before. There is a growing understanding that the selection of finishes works hand in hand with the lighting.
Our design criteria for lighting is emerging as we increase our understanding of LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and the opportunities to customize decorative fixtures and interior architecture using LED.
Our success in lighting design has been based on some
Different types of spaces need different lighting effects and light levels
For people to feel comfortable in an office space, lighting should reflect nature in that 1/3 of the light is direct, 1/3 of the light is indirect and 1/3 of the light is reflective. Taking natural light (or the lack of) into account is critical.
In a retail space, it is important to direct the eye by creating a greater variety of light levels from walkways to displays and to checkouts. Retail lighting is more theatrical and uses hot-spots to direct customer attention to merchandise and wayfinding.
In a restaurant and hospitality setting, customer transaction areas need to be well lit but customers are comfortable with a more dim environment. It is common for wall art, displays, and perimeters to have brighter accents.
For a professional medical space, waiting and nonmedical spaces need to have different levels of light and different options of light levels for patients to choose what makes them comfortable, while the surgical and medical spaces tend to be more consistently “bright”.
Using decorative and custom light fixtures to enhance brand
or design scheme is well accepted
Decorative fixtures add to the décor, but also add interest and in many cases “ease” the user.
Lights need to be experienced at a variety of levels and locations within a space. Occupants aren’t comfortable with a light source that is close to their reach if it’s just a square box of emitting light. We like the light closest to us to be friendlier and have character.
LED lighting is very flexible, and almost anything can become a light fixture; an object that holds a light, expands the light or just carries the light. This could be a reception desk, a cove, a pane of glass, the reveal of a wall, a planter, or a decorative object.
Exploring the opportunities in color temperature and light levels
Behavior is impacted by light, and in the case of LED lighting the color temperature and intensity of light has specific effects on people.
Giving users options to use all or none of the lighting in an office space has been proving to create employee satisfaction.
For r.o.i. Design, furniture is integral to the design. Quite often we have the opportunity to work with our customers in selecting and designing the furniture and furnishings in their space. This is important to us because it elevates the design to a very personal level, where people are touching, sitting, and experiencing the design in visceral ways.
When we have spent the effort to help a professional service client create a welcoming, branded feel in their interior, sometimes it requires a non-typical office furniture solution.
When we have worked diligently to create a restaurant, lobby, or corporate space that wants to look like a hip restaurant, the furniture may not be able to be compiled from standard options. Thus, we have provided specialty services around furnishings for our customers.
Often, we have been engaged to work with one of many of our local office furniture providers to advocate for our customer, consulting on furniture styles and finishes.
We design custom furniture and work with our customers to find the best resource to create those pieces.
Recently we have been working with fabricators experienced with integrating technology into furniture, creating medical and professional desks.
We have created many custom conference table designs, exploring finishes and details to create an ideal meeting and conference environments.
There is also the need for furnishings that look residential but need to be contract-grade. Providing contract quality guarantees for wear and maintenance.
We have also designed procurement programs for developers, working directly with manufacturers to be able to design, select, purchase, and deliver common area furnishings for multi-family facilities.
Furniture has a functional and aesthetic responsibility in
commercial interiors and planning for appropriate furnishings take intention
We are celebrating a great 2018 with a healthy list of new customers and suppliers. The ten-year recovery from the 2007-2008 recession was a challenge, but we are proud to have weathered that crisis and are starting year two of a three-year strategic plan to grow and create a sustainable interior design business.
Last year we added Megan Hoekzema, Interior Designer, and Stacey Udell, Office Administrator to the team. We joined Local First, volunteered at Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary and donated our design time to Living Stones Academy helping them improve their multipurpose room and staff lounge.
We reference The Right Place’s 2019 Economic Outlook report to get a sense of what our community might experience ahead. As a tiny company, we would like to think we can be resilient to most economic shifts, and we describe ourselves as “small but mighty”. But along with that, we want to add “smart” so we have our heads up regarding our economy.
While the West Michigan marketplace needs to pay attention to the impact of tariffs, trade agreements, interest rate hikes, and changes in leadership in Lansing, the ongoing issues of talent shortage and the reality that every company needs to do more with fewer people.
Grand Rapids continues to lead the state (and the nation) in post-recession recovery.
The president of The Right Place, Birgit Klohs, is our customer and when asked, she summarized about the future, “2018 was a banner year, 2019 isn’t going to be quite as good. Read more here.
Rapid Growth Media’s article “Michigan’s Corporate Construction Continues to Grow into 2019” reports that West Michigan contractors have the largest backlog of business since 2000. “If the world stopped today, construction employers would have 9.8 months of work left to do.” And since contractors are r.o.i. Design’s #1 customer, we are pleased to hear this news.
For us 2019 will mean:
New staff, we are currently looking to hire a design lead. This person will help develop new business, lead the design direction of projects they develop and add perspective and energy to our group as we look to grow.
A year ago, we thought we needed to add staff to be able to provide us with rendering and illustration talent, but our Creative Executive Ryan Bright has risen to the challenge, growing in skills and managing out-sourced talent to meet our needs. We see adding more rendering services as part of the tool kit.
Our work in medical and dental offices continues to look strong. We have multi-family projects scheduled through 2020. Our window covering and solar shade business is growing. We have installed two projects with more than 100 windows within a few months of each other. Congratulations to Purchasing and Procurement Manager, Ronda Geyer.
We will be looking at our technology needs this year and anticipate making an investment in software and hardware.
Our physical sample library needs to shrink, as more and more resources are “online”. We rely on our sales representatives to help us with “just in time sampling”. Megan continues to manage our library and representatives in the effort to stay on top of the newest and best materials.
Our strategic plan has us revising processes and procedures, focusing on marketing and sales, and company culture.
We continue to be driven to “making a difference” in the lives of our customers and in our community.
It’s no secret that most people do not look forward to going to the dentist – an important thing to keep in mind when designing dental offices. A pleasant, warm and soothing environment is key when selecting interior finishes for lobbies and patient areas. “The goal is to make the patient feel comfortable and welcome”, says r.o.i. Design’s Stacey Udell.
With more and more dentists retiring and new graduates taking over practices, r.o.i. has been busy working with local docs to update and refresh their spaces. Functional work areas allowing for ease of patient flow are top on the list, along with coffee bars and cozy and low-maintenance furnishings in lobbies. Creative and fun areas where kids feel safe are also a high priority. To help reduce sounds, some offices have “clouds” of acoustical panels, lighting or architectural elements that are hung from high ceilings to alleviate unwanted noise and are also visually appealing.
r.o.i. Design collaborates with dental equipment and supply companies to give dentists a wide range of options. We also offer lobby furniture, décor and wall art to “dress up” the space, and window covering options (along with installation) with practical solutions for dealing with sunlight while allowing for patient comfort.
Whether it’s remodeling an existing practice or a new build, our methods and problem-solving skills produce outcomes that are based on budget, brand, and beauty.