Common Design terms


Vendors that state that they are "to the trade only" mean that they only sell to designers, architects, and sometimes contractors. We have to provide a tax number and resale license to purchase from them, and often these are brands you wouldn't find anywhere else (one of the perks of working with a designer)!


Speaking of vendors... a "vendor" is a company or person who supplies products to us. Vendors can be anyone from a manufacturer to a retail store to a local artist. You'll see this term on your contract as well as your budget breakdown, and likely in other communication as well.


COM stands for "Customer's Own Material" while COL stands for "Customer's Own Leather." These terms will be used when a vendor doesn't supply the fabric or leather for a piece (like a sofa) or when you have the option of selecting something outside of their offered materials. I would source the fabric or leather separately based on the yardages required by the furniture company, and have it shipped to them.

Before purchasing anything on your behalf, you'll receive a proposal with a breakdown of the items for consideration along with cost and photos. You'll be able to accept or decline prior to being invoiced for the items.


A purchase order is sent to every vendor for the approved items from your proposal. I'll send, track, and complete the POs on my side so you never have to deal with them. However, it's good to know this term.

Purchase Order (PO)


CFA stands for "cutting for approval". Some fabric vendors will offer this option when you purchase a COM or COL from them. You will receive a piece of the actual run of fabric/leather that would be sent to the vendor, so that you can approve the color (as dye lots can vary) and make sure it's exactly how you want it to look. This isn't always a standard service, so if this is something you want to have control over, don't be afraid to ask for a CFA for major pieces!

Some vendors will offer a "memo" on furniture and accessories, allowing you to borrow those pieces for a certain amount of time (usually 24 to 72 hours) to see if you like them before purchasing. Usually during the install, I'll bring in a selection of accessories and decor on memo, and leave you a sheet listing prices and due-back dates so that you can consider pieces in your space before approving them.


Receiving Warehouse

A receiving warehouse (or "receiver") is a company with a loading dock who we will have all of your major items sent to (as I have limited space and access at my office). Large furniture pieces come in on big freight trucks and require loading docks and workers to unload and accept the deliveries. The receiver will inspect all pieces upon delivery and update me of any damage or issues (trust me, it happens all of the time). They'll also help to facilitate any returns or exchanges, which makes everyone's life easier! On the day of the install, they'll bring it all to your home, providing a "white glove" service to insure that everything comes in looking brand new and perfect for you!

Interested in setting up a 15 minute phone call to discuss your project? Iā€™d love to connect with you!