What happens during a Design Work Session

What happens during a Design Work Session

Ever wonder what goes into a Design Work Session with an Interior Design Professional?   I was recently called to a past client’s home to help with figuring out how to set up an area for homework while still having an area to play (one daughter starting grade three in the fall and the son starting kindergarten).  Here is the process I used for this project (and how I work with in my Design Work Sessions).  If you’d like the shortened version, click here for the video!

Design Work Session

Discovery Stage

When I arrived at my clients’ home, I had the opportunity to see their newly painted walls (as I had specified their interior wall colours last year).  It has been a while since I was in their home so Mrs. Client took me on a tour of the home again to show me the areas that were available for me to consider.  In their home there is a main floor ‘office’ with doors that close (just off the kitchen), there is a bonus room above the garage on the second floor and there is a great area open area in the fully developed basement.  The current situation was what I walked into:

  • The main floor office was being used as a play/toy room.  This room was packed full of toys and was in the process of going through a purge. Mrs. Client mentioned that when her daughter was doing homework on the kitchen table it was way too noisy for her to work.
  • The bonus room had a TV, a large sectional and a few toys.  This room was used to watch TV and had a few toys in the room.
  • The basement area had one wall unit to store puzzles, games and toys.  It was also an area where the toys could be spread out and played with (an open area). There were many, many toys in this area.

Design Work Session

After a tour of the home, I sat down with Mrs. Client and talked about what she wanted to see in her home.  Other than ‘less toys’ and being ‘more organized’, the priority was to create a space for homework and a space for play.  The need to have a homework area was essential for my clients as their daughter, who would be going into third grade, would need a quiet place to do homework.  With her son starting kindergarten, they also wanted a space for him to do homework as he got older.   Both kids also needed a space for their toys and a space to play.  They did not want the homework area and the play area to be close to each other.

After assessing the entire home, talked about some options, I came up with the following plan:

  • Main floor office: this was going to become the new area for the kids to do their homework.  This area was going to more like a ‘quiet zone’.  Although it is located right off the kitchen, it’s in a great spot to ask for help (if someone is making dinner).  With having doors on this room, it gives the flexibility to have the doors open or closed.  By having this room designed for ‘work’, when guests come over, this room would not look like a bomb went off (with all the toys laying around).  I talked about having the ‘rule’ of no toys in this area.  This area could be used for small crafts, reading and homework, but no playing.  We were going to dedicate a different spot for that.
  • ALL the toys were going to be moved to the developed basement (where a lot of the toys are already).  One spot for toys and for play.

During the planning of all of this, I was specifying and creating a floor plan on the spot so Mr. and Mrs. Client could work off of.  Here is the floor plan for the main floor office.

design work session


As with any project, there is certainly a budget to work with.  Knowing that the kids were going to be using this space and growing into the space, we went with mostly items that I sourced from IKEA.  Here is the breakdown for this new homework area:

  • Shelf to go on the back wall: $229.00
  • Boxes/Bins for the book shelf: $7.00 each
  • Desk for the kids (need 2): $99.00 each
    Chairs for the desk (one blue and one pink): $40.00 each
    Message boards over the desk: (2 pink and 2 blue): $28.00 each
    Desk lamp: $24.99 each


TOTAL for the homework room: $752.98 for all of the above.
Additional shelving for the toys: $181.00 each (possibly may need 2).
Clear bins: Variety of price (and only to be bought after the purge).

Design Work Session: Was it Worth It?

While I worked with my client, I compiled the shopping list in conjunction with the floor plan.  I included all of the prices so they knew exactly where to shop and exactly what to get.  By having a floor plan as well as a shopping list, it has made things extremely easy for my clients to go and purchase what is needed to set the room up for success. Here is a little video of the process we went through as well as a 3D rendering of what it should look like:

The words from Mrs. Client, “Just tell me what to buy, where to buy it and how to set it up.”  I’m hoping my client got exactly this with the plan for their spaces!

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