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    The Interior Experience OUR SERVICES
    interior designers in Portland Oregon, interior design, new construction, home remodeling, kitchen & bath design, custom furnishings.

    Wendy O’Brien Interior Planning & Design offers high-end residential interior design services throughout the Northwest, the West Coast areas and beyond. We specialize in creating interior experiences that are reflective of our client’s individual or family tastes, lifestyle and every-day living.

    The beginning of our process starts with the creation of a detailed roadmap of exactly how homeowners are going to live, entertain, relax or even work in the new or remodeled home and then we define a clear path and creative vision for the new space or spaces, all custom tailored for each and every one of our clients—A beautiful and functional living experience to enjoy for many years to come.

    One of the things we excel at after many years of providing interior design services, is the process, and the attention to detail and management that is designed to take the uncertainty, worry and concern of interior design and turn all of that into an enjoyable, fun experience for our clients. We work hard to manage within budgets, find cost reductions wherever possible, and offer a variety of options in materials, fabrics, furnishings, fixtures and lighting.

    If you start working with us, please rest assured that your existing or new home is in very good hands. We can’t wait to start this amazing journey together.

    Our Services

    New Construction

    • Architectural plan review
    • Lighting and electrical design
    • Custom cabinetry and built-in design
    • Space planning with furniture layouts
    • Materials and surfaces specification
    • Technical drawings of cabinetry, tile patterns, flooring layouts
    • Paint color schemes – interior and exterior
    • Construction documentation
    • Design implementation

    Remodeling

    • Heavy and light remodels
    • Kitchen and bathroom design
    • Space planning (layout, architectural)
    • Lighting and electrical design
    • Materials and surfaces specification
    • Technical drawings of cabinetry, tile patterns, flooring layouts
    • Paint color schemes – interior and exterior
    • Exterior living spaces and outdoor living

    Furnishings

    • Space planning with furniture layouts
    • Furniture and lighting research, shop, select
    • Art consultation
    • Paint color schemes
    • Lighting design
    • Window treatments
    • Budgeting and purchasing
    • Overseeing delivery, inspection, installation

    WE-DESIGN PROGRAM

    • For the DIYer in you
    • We design, and you implement!
    • Less costly
    • Shop yourself
    • Do it on your own schedule
    • Work with your own contractors
    • Do some or all of the construction yourself

    DESIGNER Q&A

    WORKING WITH A PROFESSIONAL INTERIOR DESIGNER

    You might be surprised how often we discover how little people understand about the true importance of having an interior designer assigned to your new construction or remodel project. Or how often interior designers are mistaken as “Decorators” who a homeowner should use later as an afterthought. The two are NOT interchangeable and there are important differences between the two. And while interior decoration is part of almost every project we do, we are first and foremost, interior designers.

    WHY SHOULD I HIRE WENDY O'BRIEN INTERIOR PLANNING & DESIGN?

    Investing in an interior designer can be a significant but a necessary financial commitment when planning project costs, and understanding what goes into a typical design project is an important part of evaluating the value of your investment. In fact, most people don’t know that an interior designer should be the first call you make when remodeling or building your home – even before the builder! This is because a good interior designer is really an interior architect and is the person who makes sure your home works for you – in every room, ceiling to floor and everything in between!

    However, not all designers offer the same services, so you’ll also want to make sure you are aware of what value your designer adds to your project relative to what you invest. So what is the value of hiring us?

    Professional insight and expertise

    Wendy O’Brien Interior Planning & Design is an award-winning design firm known for producing some of the most dazzling luxury interior projects in the Pacific Northwest. Some notable recognitions include:

    • Street of Dreams 2018: Best of Show, Best Interior Design, Best Kitchen, Best Master Suite, Best Outdoor Living.
    • Street of Dreams 2017: Judge’s Choice Awards for Best Interior Design, Master Suite
    • Wolf Kitchen Design Contest winner (International competition)
    • Best of Houzz 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014
    • Serving Up Style: 2011 Judge’s Choice Award, People’s Choice Award

    When you work with Wendy O’Brien, you benefit from this award-winning expertise and insight, with thoughtful design recommendations throughout the process. A UCLA design graduate, Wendy continues to stay current on design influences as member of the Homebuilder’s Association, and by attending the Las Vegas market each year to learn about new products, appliances, fixtures, and more. As a result, our clients aren’t just benefitting from billable hours spent on their projects, but also hundreds of additional hours spent on professional education, expertise and actually laying hands and eyes on new and upcoming products we can confidently recommend to them.

    Comprehensive design documentation

    Good design doesn’t just happen. It has to be thought out in advance. One of the ways we make that happen is by investing in putting together a good, solid set of comprehensive drawings and design documentation – making sure everything fits well in your space and functions as needed. For example, in a bathroom renovation that includes lighting, plumbing, cabinetry, flooring, shower tile, and backsplash, you might have four or five different contractors working on different parts of the project over different days. Solid drawings indicating exact placement of fixtures, tile layouts, etc. communicate the same vision to each contractor, minimizing confusion and on-the-spot decisions.

    Avoid costly mistakes

    The reality of a design project is that is can be chaotic, with lots of moving parts and lots of different people involved. A professional designer can help you avoid costly mistakes by identifying potential problems ahead of time and communicating a clear vision to everyone involved. When you’re already investing a significant amount in your home, the last thing you want is to have to rip out work that has already been done – incorrectly – because it was overlooked.

    Product knowledge

    Having specified thousands of products from tile to furniture, the Wendy O’Brien team has a deep knowledge of products and product lines available to you, and we help you navigate the sometimes overwhelming array of choices when designing your home. As a certified dealer of many product lines, Wendy also receives trade discounts, which she is often able to pass along to clients – saving thousands off of retail prices over the course of a project.

    Space planning expertise

    When you work with Wendy O’Brien Interior Planning and Design, you’re not only going to get a result that looks amazing, but that also functions seamlessly with the way you live. We work with our clients to identify their unique needs, then integrate those needs into your floor plan, materials, etc.

    Time and care

    If you’ve ever tried to manage a design project on your own, you know how time consuming it is. The time and care that goes into the perfect space is significant, and it’s usually more than people realize.  It isn’t as easy as picking out paint colors. On the contrary, there is a lot of work that is put in behind the scenes to create a space that inspires you, relaxes you, and brings joy to your life and the lives of those you love.

    WHY DO I NEED YOU? DOESN'T AN ARCHITECT OR BUILDER DO IT ALL?

    This is a very common misconception! While your architect will provide you with a basic framework for an interior space, they will mostly serve as the exterior and structural designer. But the interior designer can be looked at as the “architect of the entire interior living experience.” Every part of your new home or remodel that you interact directly with every single day and night, has been carefully imagined and brought to life based on how you want or need to live, and your personal tastes. The visioning and expertise for this work is unique to experienced interior designers, and builders and contractors very rarely possess these talents as part of their construction process. The designer is essentially the driving force for exactly what gets built and how.

    So when should you hire a professional level interior designer? For new construction which requires an Architect, the Interior Designer should be hired as early as possible either at the same time as the Architect so that they are able to add valuable input into the proposed concept for the new home or commercial space, or at least during the architecture design work so they can begin their design concepts, and work in sync with the Architect.

    In the case of a remodel, it’s very important to speak to the Interior Designer first before anyone else. The interior Designer should lead the concept and design process from the very beginning because they have the unique ability to not only create an interior experience tailored to the exact lifestyle desired by the client, but they are able to incorporate the new design into the existing home or commercial space in a cohesive, and consistent manner. This is a much different skill set than an Architect or Contractor.

    I'M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BUDGET EVERYTHING. WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

    When you are planning for either the construction of your new home, or the remodeling of your existing home, it’s extremely important to make sure you understand that the construction budget allocated by a builder or remodeling contractor is going to be separate from the interior design services as well as furnishings budgets! It’s important to make sure you will have enough budget to complete all parts of your project.

    And if you have priced your construction work first with a contractor BEFORE you have had the interior designer do their design work for you, the construction quote may not be realistic at all and may increase later because most builders and contractors price based on standard items or based on materials and building techniques that may not match the level of the eventual design.

    WHY DOES INTERIOR DESIGN SEEM TO COST SO MUCH? WHAT'S INVOLVED?

    When you hire an interior designer, a skilled professional will spend a significant amount of time and energy on your project. Starting with an initial consultation, your designer will evaluate your needs, tastes, and preferences to create a solid design concept that will serve as the framework for your entire project. And this could include an extremely detailed profile/analysis of how you and your family live and use your entire home, including any special needs or disability requirements. This is the start of a number of steps involving a very deliberate process in a certain order that the WO team will take you through.

    Next, your designer will work to produce various detailed drawings of your new space or whole home. Depending on the scope of the project, your designer may then produce additional drawings with proposed floor plans, furniture plans, elevations, tile layouts, lighting plans, and/or 3-D perspective drawings to help you visualize their recommendations.

    Some of the items we typically provide design documentation for might include:

    • cabinet layout and design (incorporating cabinet accessories for maximum efficiency and use)
    • fireplace design
    • tile, grout and surface material layouts and design
    • doors, crown and base moulding selections, wainscoting
    • cabinet hardware
    • plumbing fixtures
    • lighting fixtures (chandeliers, sconces, pendants, recessed, etc)
    • stair railings
    • mirrors
    • shower doors

    If there are surface materials, plumbing, cabinetry, hardware, or lighting fixtures involved, design documents will need to be more detailed to communicate exact placement of all of these to a builder or remodeling contractor. This stage of the process is an important investment and is crucial for the bidding and construction process.

    There will be several meetings, calls, emails and texts throughout the process to communicate with you, the client, in order to secure necessary approvals. There will also be research, shopping, selections, documentation, updates to specifications and drawings, as well as back and forth communications with multiple vendors. Throughout the life of the project, your designer is also usually the main point of contact for your contractors, and will typically conduct several site visits, making on-site decisions and answering questions.

    WHY DO ESTIMATES FROM DESIGNERS VARY SO MUCH?

    Not every designer is a true professional interior architect, and no two designers have the same talent or the same expertise, which is why you may see a wide range in quotes from various designers. It’s important that you take the time to really discover what your designer is bringing to the table relative to what you are investing. Will they provide you with elevation drawings? Can they create 3D visualizations? Do they have the expertise to provide design documents? Will they conduct site visits? Do they have a strong portfolio of experience?

    Most professional level interior designers have similar hourly rates, so if you suddenly get an hourly rate that is much lower, then it is most likely from a designer who is less experienced or just starting out.  If you get a quote or estimate of hours that is lower, this can be from many factors including the “apples to oranges” effect where the same set of services are not being quoted by each designer.

    One example of this is that many designers do not do the work of producing CAD floorplans, elevations and construction schematics that the contractor will need and all of that work is not included in their estimate, so you might be in for a big surprise down the line when all of that important work is needed and you have to pay even more. It’s important to know exactly what services and activities are being quoted by each designer.

    It’s important to assess the designer’s education and experience as many designers are only partially educated by quick courses, or even self-taught. Some of those designers including those just starting out will also usually be priced less, but for your important investment, your home, you most certainly will get what you pay for! So be sure to ask questions, read reviews from past clients, and do your research!

    WHY CAN'T YOU GIVE ME A FIRM QUOTE FOR MY HOME PROJECT?

    The interior design and building process is not a commodity such as a product which would come with a set predictable price. It’s a complicated living, breathing process which can get impacted by many factors including changes to scope of work, amount of revisions to the design work or even changes from the builder or remodeling contractor. Therefore, in many cases, the designer is unable to provide anything more than a reasonably accurate rough estimate from past experience as a guide, or a target if you will.

    There are many unknowns to every project which make it very difficult to predict an exact cost up front.  We will provide an estimate and approximate square foot price where applicable, but for projects that are going to be too complicated or large, all work is billed at hourly rates as our contract will show.

    WE LOVE DOING SOME OF THE WORK OURSELVES. CAN'T THE DESIGNER JUST CONSULT US?

    We don’t typically “team up” with and consult a client through leading their own interior design project as this diminishes our ability to provide well thought through and consistent detailed design recommendations. And things just aren’t that simple anyway. We prefer, with the many years of experience and training, to be the ones who lead our clients through the interior design process which results in much more successful projects.

    However, if you are the type of person who is just more naturally a “hands on” DIYer, or you are too restricted by your budget for full service interior design, no problem! We also have a unique program called “We Design” where we use our design imagination and skills to come up with initial design or furnishings recommendations for you and then you take it from there and do all of your own project management and shopping! To learn more about the We Design program visit: https://wendyobrienid.com/we-design

    CAN I HIRE YOU JUST FOR THE INTERIOR DESIGN BUT SHOP FOR MY OWN FURNISHINGS?

    Of course! But please be aware of something. Throughout the process of designing your new home or remodel, if furnishings are going to be involved down the line, your designer will already be considering at a high level, the type or style of furnishings, lighting and accessories that they would envision for the completion of your home, and interior design choices involving surface materials, flooring, cabinetry design and other aspects of the interiors are all affected by this as everything in the end should reflect a cohesive and consistent interior living experience. So, it’s always best to have your interior designer lead the effort of furnishing your beautiful new home or remodel or you could end up with a disjointed or unsatisfying end result.

    IF I HIRE YOU FOR MY FURNISHINGS, DO YOU HANDLE EVERYTHING? WHAT'S INVOLVED?

    For furnishings projects the designer spends an extensive amount of time and effort imagining, researching and shopping for beautiful furnishings on your behalf that will fit the new design as well as your total lifestyle. And for us we have spent years building relationships with “to the trade only” vendors so we can offer our clients exceptional furnishings and accessories at prices the client could never get on their own, so one of the requirements when using our vendors is that furnishings are ordered through our design studio. The other important and tedious part of furnishings projects is the tracking and delivery of all items as well as inspection and returns if needed. We handle all of this work so you don’t have to!

    But if you are the type of person who is more hands on and want to shop for your own furnishings on your own, no problem! We also have a unique program called “We Design” where we use our design imagination to come up with recommendations for you and then you take it from there and do all of your own shopping! To learn more about the We Design program visit: https://wendyobrienid.com/we-design

    GOT QUESTIONS? SHOOT US A NOTE

    OUR STUDIO

    Address: 2800 Northwest Thurman Street, Portland Oregon 97210

    Phone: (503) 908-5671

    We work in the Portland metro area, including Lake Oswego, West Linn, Dunthorpe, Forest Heights and Beaverton. We also help clients in Central Oregon and the Coast, including Bend, Canon Beach and Manzanita. Beyond the Pacific Northwest we have worked with clients in Los Angeles and Dallas, and will happily consider your project wherever you need us.


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