First Impressions Remodel

How to design a new build

A neutral bathroom design created after a client learned how to design a new build.

Have you ever wondered how designers come up with their ideas? How ‘out of nothing’ do we create beautiful functional spaces that flow and work together? How do we help clients who are building a new home or remodeling and existing area? How do we assist builders in the design process to solve problems? Below is a step-by-step guide to help you understand how to design a new build.

What’s Your Budget?

The absolutely most important part of any project is the budget – there is no such thing as ‘champagne taste on a beer budget’ in the real world. An interior designer must know how many funds are available from the start of a project. Budgets often change during a project and funds shift to different areas but having a realistic starting point is paramount. Designers can help in this area by communicating with both clients and builders about a clients dream space versus realistic expectations.

What’s Your Inspiration?

At First Impressions, we never start a new project without having an idea of my client’s style. Before we even look at a floor plan we speak to my client about their likes and dislikes. We discuss goals and solutions for the space and often use this design style quiz to help clients understand and vocalize what they desire. We share photos or use Pinterest boards and create Mood Boards which illustrate ideas. Creating and sharing lists of ‘Needs’ in one column ‘Desires’ in the other column helps keep things in perspective.

What Are The Steps?

When working with clients on a Fixtures and Finishes Consultation for a new build, we accompany clients to a builder’s design center and suggest floor plan options, architectural details, lighting & plumbing fixtures, flooring, paint and appliances. Prior to that meeting, we have selected color schemes, design styles, finish details and furniture placement. We work together to understand the builder’s parameters and the needs of our clients.

When working with remodel or custom builders the process is similar. After meeting with new clients, we begin with mood boards, schematic design, drawing a floor plan and elevations while keeping budget and desires in mind. We research appliances and source fixtures and materials that will help solve their problems. We present the plans to our clients and our clients are able to take these finished plans to builders. Contractors and remodelers receive concept drawings to get a clear idea of what our clients need and want. If requested, we work with contractors and buyers to help with communication between the two parties, visit the construction site and make sure that everyone is kept in the loop.

If you are remodeling or building a new home or remodeling, contact me to discus your project. I am happy to help you create a timeless First Impression.


First Impressions by Julie Wagner, LLC

Chapel Hill, NC

(919) 578-7313

Discover your design style

Does your space really reflect who you are? 

Discover your design style
Discover your design style

Does your space really reflect who you are? 

Discover your design style