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Gravel Lane Design Studio - custom project wishlist - Eureka, IL

Preparing a Project Wishlist

During the holiday season, an anniversary, or a birthday, have you ever found yourself not knowing how to answer the question, “What do you want?” We’ve all been there, trying to come up with a gift on the spot that we would enjoy receiving, but somehow, the mind goes blank. While this scenario might be solved with a simple “I’ll get back to you on that,” there are certain circumstances when it’s extremely valuable to already have an idea of what you want.

Picture this: you’ve been dreaming of creating your dream home for years and the stars have finally aligned, the time is right, and you’re ready to start. You go to meet with a designer and you’re surrounded by a showroom full of materials and color options and they ask you the same question- “What do you want?”

Now, maybe you thought you knew, but now you see all the other options and you’re second guessing. Maybe you have a vision in your head, but you don’t know how to communicate that vision to another person. Maybe you were so excited that you forgot altogether to come up with answers to that question- it happens! With many industries still feeling the effects of labor and supply shortages, you really don’t want to have to put your project on hold right off the bat. We are here to help you prepare for that first design meeting so that you can get your project up and running right away!

How To Create a Project Wishlist

Our Gravel Lane team has created a list of steps to get you thinking about what your design style is, how you want your space to function, and how to communicate that to the people helping you with your project!

Step 1: Gather Project Inspiration

Gathering inspiration is arguably the first step to any creative project. Whether you consider yourself a creative person or not, designing a home will definitely challenge you to flex some creative muscles. The best way to start answering the question of “what do I want” is simply by compiling photos of spaces that interest you. The importance of gathering inspiration photos is both the process of figuring out what you like, as well as having a visual collection of those likes to be able to show others, like your designer. You can narrow down what your interior design style is without even having to know how to explain it to a designer, you can simply show them!

There are a few ways to gather project inspiration. First, platforms like Pinterest allow you to search for images related to your project (“kitchen design” for example) and see tons of different ideas that you can start to filter through. As you search through different images, you can save the ones you like and pay attention to if you are drawn to a specific style, material, color scheme, etc. If you notice any patterns, like you seem to be pinning kitchens with white cabinetry the most, then you can even start to pinpoint your search for “white kitchens.” If Pinterest isn’t your thing, you can look up images on google, follow some interior design studios on Instagram, or search a few websites for past project photos. Make sure to keep your favorite photos handy to show your designer the look you are going for!

Step 2: Consider Functionality

Now that you have some visuals prepared for the style of your space, it’s time to think about functionality. This step might be a little more complicated than gathering photos, but it’s important to ensure that your space is just as functional as it is beautiful. After all, a stunning laundry room isn’t worth much if you can’t really do laundry in it effectively.

To begin thinking about how you need your space to function, picture the current space you’re living in and ask yourself these questions: How do I use this space? What is working in this space? What is NOT working in this space? What do I wish this space had?

As you brainstorm answers to these questions, feel free to make note of any specifics that you might want to make your designer aware of. For example, if you’re wanting to redesign your bathroom and you notice that you’re always wanting to use the sink at the same time as your partner, maybe there’s a way to reconfigure the layout to make room for a double vanity. If you’re redoing your kitchen cabinets and find that you always pull your trash can around while cooking to dispose of extra waste, a trash rollout that fits right into your kitchen island might perfect for you!

Step 3: Assemble Your Team

You’ve gathered your design inspiration and identified functional needs, now it’s time to get your project rolling. It’s totally okay if you’re not 100% sure on every detail, but having a good idea ensures that you can choose a team that is able to help you meet all of your project goals. Make sure that whoever you work with shares your vision and can provide the service or product that you’re looking for. For instance, if you know you want the ability to customize your kitchen storage, it’s best to work with a designer that is experienced with designing custom cabinetry layouts and a vendor that is able to provide that product. When it comes to hiring your team, cheaper is not always better, as a good team is worth the investment to ensure the best results from your project!

Once you’ve completed these three steps, you can walk into that first meeting confident that you came prepared! Being able to efficiently communicate your vision to your designer saves time (and occasionally money!) and allows you to enjoy your finished project that much sooner. This does not mean that you have to have all the answers at that first meeting, but enough to give your designer an idea of what you’re looking for and how they can help you achieve it.

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