In this phase, we’re really just looking to understand what sort of furniture you want. Anything you can tell us about the project is valuable here, whether that be a type of wood you like, a color, a specific design, or even just a style. One of the best ways to expedite the process is to send us photos of furniture that you like, what are known as inspiration images. Sometimes, clients will send us a picture of a table that they want replicated more or less exactly, and sometimes they’ll send a number of pictures, telling us they like the legs from this table, the material from that one, and the color of that one. If you don’t have images along these lines, that’s fine — just tell us what you like and we’ll talk it through, and often send pictures of our own to help us home in on a design.


Another important piece of information here is the size of the piece. There are a lot of factors to consider, including the number of people you want to seat at the table, for instance, the size of the room, and the flow of traffic in the space. If we know how many people a table needs to fit, we can tell you the range of sizes that will accomplish that; if the table is going to extend, we can discuss whether one extension or two makes the most sense, and how big it or they ought to be. We have rules of thumb for clearances between  a table and walls or other furniture, which depend on how much foot traffic the area sees. Often, a floor plan will help us get a sense for the room, and allow us to make the best recommendations.


If your piece is going to be situated at a pre-existing feature, like a bench or a banquette, or if it’s a countertop, for example, we’d like to get as much information as possible about the size and layout of the area. Things like the dimensions of a banquette, the footprint of an island cabinet, or the size of a built-in bookshelf will allow us to get a feel for the project and give you an accurate ballpark estimate. We may well have to come later for a site visit and template, but in these early stages we’re mostly thinking about material allocation. Numbers don’t need to be exact or final, just a rough idea.

Our main goal when we first hear from you is to find out what you’re looking for, what you know, and what you don’t. Sometimes clients come to us with exact measurements and a whole project essentially figured out from the word “go,” but that certainly doesn’t need to be the case. Just let us know what you have in mind, and we’ll ask the questions we need to figure out where everything stands. At Cannon Hill, furniture design is a collaborative endeavor, and we set up our process to allow you to take control.

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