Experience: Since 2009, our company has built experience in hospitality and residential design in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Certified Interior Designer (CID) designation, LEED AP designation, and post-bacc distinguished education credentials from UC Berkeley extension. A number of our collaborative projects have been published. Our high-touch and personable design service keeps you informed about your project, next steps, and the feedback we need to make things personalized to you.
Transparency: Our company makes money through billable design hours and sales of furnishings to clients. With few exceptions, we do not shop common retailers, such as PB or RH, as design clients are looking for something more. We work with local, domestic and global manufacturers and artisans, and handle purchasing and installation. Furniture budgets (including window treatments, reproduction art, pillows and accessories) to complete a project, realistically begin around 100K (even at common retailers), and up to over 1M for larger high-end projects, depending on the scope and size of the project. Once the scope and layout design is determined, the budget is fine-tuned to meet your needs to avoid major costing surprises down the road.
Art of the mix: We specialize in unique architectural finishes and non-structural planning, space planning and custom furniture, custom window treatments and decor. We work with hundreds of manufacturers globally, as well as domestic craftsmen and artisans to create unique, beautiful, functional, and durable interiors with character. We'd love the opportunity to get to know you and your project.
We LOVE design, the challenge of both right-brain real-world constraints (time, money, space, function and performance) meets left-brain creativity (artistry, beauty, comfort, texture, and color). Our goal is to give you, our owners, the very best in liveable luxury that your budget can offer. We are a socially oriented group- delighting our owners brings intrinsic value to our work and to those we work with. We'd like to get to know you and your property.
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After initial consultation and a signed Design Services Agreement and retainer, our design process begin:
Programming- Learning the owners' needs, vision, and project constraints. Review existing architectural drawings, where available. Conduct site measure/photography and initial furniture planning, create a draft budget if needed.
Concepting- Based on owner feedback and constraints, develop a design concept, look and feel, which may include some initial selections inspiration or ideas. Refined space plan drawings and renderings as needed.
Design Development- Once agreed on the direction and initial plans, implement the design with final selections of furnishings and finishes, design any custom pieces where required. Specify details / items for production
Construction Administration: On projects involving construction/renovations, designer will communicate with General Contractor/installers and visit the jobsite as needed to see that the design is being implemented as intended.
Purchasing: Based on final specifications, furnishings and finishes are priced for client review and approval to purchase. A deposit initiates the purchase and production, and final payment is due at the time of delivery, including tax, freight/receiving and installation charges.
Installation and delivery: As items are purchased, they are received, inspected, and stored at a local warehouse facility, until there are enough items ready for a complete, or partial installation by third-party movers.
Design review: The owners and designer review the installed design, and assess any additional needs, such as additional decor, furnishings, or any additional scope of work.
On successful completion of a project, we often enjoy a well-deserved glass of champagne together and follow up with professional photography.
Our principal, Jeremy Bitter holds a 4-year post-bacc certificate in Interior Design and Interior Architecture from UC Berkeley extension, is a qualified CID (Certified Interior Designer, the only legal ID designation in California), a LEED AP certification, as well as NEWH and other professional affiliations. The firm was first created in 2009, and has enjoyed solo and collaboration projects on luxury hotels and resorts as well as private residences with many years of experience.
We bill hourly for our services, and also make money through the sale of furnishings, lighting, etc. The client only pays for what is needed to complete the project successfully, and can add to the scope at-will. Hourly rates vary based on task and level of expertise of the team member. Monthly invoicing is typically largest at the beginning of the project, and tapers throughout the project after selections and purchasing are completed. This works best for most clients.
Some clients prefer an estimated fixed-fee, which we create based on the size and complexity of the project. The fee is determined by estimated time needed, and is limited to those hours. Should additional selections, changes, or increase in scope of work occur, these would be charged at the typical hourly rate. Owners who would like to see many options, or make changes to the design along the way are best served with our hourly service agreement.
Jeremy Bitter is an avid world traveler and in a previous career worked in HR for a few fortune 500 companies. On observing how the working environment interiors affected employees so strongly, for better or for worse- decided it was time to return to creative roots to try to change them. Post-bacc design training, and working with top designers in San Francisco and hoteliers nationwide gave opportunities to create such environments, and gain great experience.
We have worked with all types of owners, from those purchasing their first home, to those renovating multiple properties, to 4 and 5 star hotels, resorts and spas. Each owner and project is uniquely challenging and rewarding.
In addition to design work, Jeremy Bitter has served on the board of NEWH for several years now. This professional group raises funds to offer scholarships for students entering hospitality and design. This year our typical black-tie gala was transformed into an entertaining online event where 6 students were awarded scholarships to help them stay in school and help build the future of design. Jeremy currently serves as Director of Scholarship and has found the cause particularly meaningful during the COVID pandemic.
We would recommend beginning with your wishlist: What do you need out of your space, and what might that look like. Bringing inspiration photos and a few of your favorite things to the table will help your designer tailor your project to you.
Consider what kind of help you need, given your scope: Are you building a new structure or doing structural work to your building: your designer may need help from an architect or structural engineer. Doing extensive landscaping: your designer may want to work with a landscape architect to create an interplay of furnishings, foliage and sky.
Qualify the professional that you are hiring: Many owners may not know this, but anyone can legally call themselves a designer, even if they have no education, experience, or training in design.
The CID (Certified Interior Designer, a legal designation) requires an extensive combination of education, work experience, and competency testing to qualify, and continuing education to maintain. Less qualified designers may serve as personal shoppers, while others have the knowledge and training of how things are built/made, and how to actually design them. This can make the difference of getting from A-C vs. A-Z, and save you from expensive mistakes along the way.
What kind of experience do they have? How many years? Do you see something you like from their portfolio? How do they charge for their work- keep in mind that an experienced designer may charge more per hour, but get the work done in less hours, and save you from expensive mistakes on your project. Ask questions, get to know them and see if you click.
All design projects are constrained by time, money, and personal taste. Ask questions and share information with your designer about these.
Time- Is there a finite date that your renovation or design must be completed by for move-in or opening? Consider that contractors are busy these days, permits take time, and even upholstering your sofa may take 10-16 weeks to complete once decided. While a good designer will help you anticipate surprises, some things cannot be controlled (like COVID factory closures).
Money- Most clients have a budget in mind, even at the very high-end. Walking into a project with a clear idea of what you are able to spend, and work with your designer to help you plan where to spend and where to save. It is true that you typically get what you pay for in terms of quality and style. A good designer can help educate you on the differences in quality, and navigate the details. Being transparent with your designer about what you are willing to spend in the big picture, can save you both a lot of grief. It prevents the designer from showing you options that are double or more of your budget, or presenting undesireable options because they felt you were not open to something nicer. Furnishings may cost more than expected; if you are unsure where to start, have your designer create a budget to discuss. Better to do your project in planned phases, rather than have an unrealistic budget that might lead to an incomplete project or failure. Remember, you are hiring a designer because you wanted to do things well, not because it was cheaper than going it alone.
Taste- We've worked with clients with a well-developed vision and personal style, and others that need more help in this department. Chances are, you are hiring a designer not only for their technical skills, but for their style and artistry. Find someone who understands your style, or can help you develop it, and don't be afraid to explore options you may not have thought of. At the end of the day, remember you are not only buying furniture for function, but because it makes you happy. As we like to say, "If you don't love it, don't buy it!" We can always do better or design custom when needed.