About

Thanks to our diverse background we can take on just about any kind of creative project. When needed, we can assemble and coordinate ad-hoc teams of contractors, landscape architects, graphic and product designers, engineers, specialized architects and other consultants to best suit your needs.


We are designers with experience in both residential and commercial design.

We approach each project with enthusiasm and personal attention. Our goal is always to create environments that make us proud, but more importantly to make our clients happy.

We are keen on all things beautiful and well designed, but we also value the importance of knowledge of materials, the construction process, codes and of course budgets.

We would love to spend your money on posh materials, décor and details, but the reality is that we have budgets to work with. We do whatever we can to achieve a great look without breaking the bank. Therefore, we do not mark-up nor resell any material we specify and we extend our trade discounts to you whenever possible.

Our small operation allows us to be creative, but also very organized so there is no waste of time or money.

We cater our services to meet your needs. If we can't do something we will dig in our pool of consultants and will bring into the team the best people to achieve the desired results.

We provide a level of drawings (both technical and artistic), expertise and thoroughness that is on par with any large design firm. However, thanks to our size, we can take on any interesting project, big or small.

We bridge the gap between the decorator with no technical expertise and the architect with only technical expertise!

Douglas Esparza

Principal

douglas@dlfstudio.com | 310.544.3001


Prior to co-founding DLFstudio in 2006, Douglas spent over 10 years as a Lead Designer, Job Captain and Project Manager in high-end residential architecture firms working on contemporary, transitional and traditional custom homes.

While working at Don W. Thursby, AIA and later at Dean Larkin Design, Douglas was responsible for several challenging hillside construction projects and major remodels of celebrity homes. He also collaborated on a variety of hospitality and office projects including the Farmer's Daughter Hotel. Over the years, his mix of conceptual and hands-on experience has allowed him to gain an excellent understanding of all aspects of design, city permitting, client relations and construction administration.

Moreover, he has collaborated on a Habitat for Humanity project and has freelanced as a set designer on the independent movies such as Miracle Mile and Clear Blue Skies. Since 2004 Douglas taught an upper division Design Presentation course at California State University, Long Beach and also taught the Professional Practice of Design course at Santa Monica College.

Douglas received a BFA in Interior Architectural Design from California State University at Long Beach and is the recipient of numerous awards for academic excellence. He is currently a candidate for the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) licensing examination.

Process

At DLFstudio we offer you comprehensive services that span the life of your project: from concept design, to construction documents (including mechanical, lighting, space planning and city permitting), all the way to decorating, procurement and construction administration.


PHASE 1
Schematic (Concept) Design

In our initial phase we meet with you and determine the scope of your project, your requirements, budget and goals.  After this meeting we will:

  • • Document and measure the existing building(s) to provide 'As-built' drawings (if not already available)
  • • Determine code and permit requirements
  • • Present conceptual design and /or space plan
  • • Present inspiration images to illustrate design direction
  • • Provide you with an 'Estimated Project Cost' with ranges of costs from similar previous jobs for your evaluation [optional]

PHASE 2
Design Development

In the design development phase we bring more definition to your design, After several design development meetings we will:

  • • Provide 3-dimensional renderings to study space and confirm design direction
  • • Refine goals and needs and provide updated space plan for review
  • • Create a preliminary construction set for city and engineering review (if needed) and contractor bidding
  • • Refine material and furniture palette then provide samples for approval and pricing

Process





PHASE 3
Construction Documents

In this phase we iron out the final details of your project and prepare the drawings that will be used for obtaining permits and for construction:

  • • Create a set of construction documents for city planning, permitting and construction
  • • Prepare material, window, lighting, furniture schedules
  • • Assist in contractor selection and bid negotiation
  • • Prepare preliminary budgets for items we can control such as finish materials (tile/stone), plumbing & decorative light fixtures

PHASE 4
Construction Observation

In this phase we follow the progress of construction and material installation to insure the final project is true to the original intent:

  • • Visit the job site regularly to keep track of progress of construction
  • • Address any questions/concerns by contractor, subs, consultants or the client
  • • Coordinate fixture, furniture and equipment installations
  • • We do not supervise nor manage the builders, but rather verify that the finish product looks just as we had presented it to the client. The schedule, means and methods of construction are the contractor's responsibility

Services

Thanks to our diverse background we can take on just about any kind of creative project. When needed, we can assemble and coordinate ad-hoc teams of contractors, landscape architects, graphic, product designers, engineers, specialized architects and other consultants to best suit your needs.

Residential
Commercial

Residential Services

Our residential services are catered to meet your specific needs, lifestyle and budget. We can help you navigate through the complexities of the building process and completely redesign or update your property to make it more beautiful, functional and valuable.


  • Partial or complete interior remodels
  • Partial or complete exterior/facade renovations
  • Additions and ground-up home designs
  • Kitchen and bathroom remodels
  • Italian cabinetry specification and procurement
  • Hourly design consultation
  • Landscape and hardscape design consultation
  • Apartment/Condo conversions and complete renovations (exterior/interior)
  • Decoration and/or staging

Commercial Services

Whether the scope of your project is small or large we will customize our services to meet your specific business needs. We will work collaboratively to maximize your work environment and reposition your image to make your business current and functional.


  • Test fits - (space planning exercises to make sure your business 'fits' in a new space)  
  • Office renovations/tenant improvements
  • Retail design (custom and off-the-shelf design solutions, store planning, branded interior design)
  • Restaurant and Cafe design (permits, design, conversions)
  • Custom graphics (signage, business cards, letterheads, name tags etc.)
  • Boutique Hotels/Motels

Frequently Asked Questions

To help you shed some light on the design and construction process, here are the most commonly asked questions by clients.


Q. How much will my project cost?

A. Your project cost can vary according to its size, scope, type of project, finish materials, contractor chosen, cost of building materials (eg. lumber, steel etc.) at the time of estimating and purchasing. The total cost of a project is roughly the sum of:

• Design and consultant fees (designers, engineers, lighting consultants etc.). This will vary according to size and complexity
• Permit fees (if required)
• Construction cost (must submit drawings to contractors to get accurate bids)
• Finish materials (cost of flooring material, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, railings etc.)

As designers we can only project the cost of our fees plus strategize on the design complexity and finish materials so we can keep the cost within your budget. Labor and construction costs are however beyond our control.

Q. How much is your fee?

A. Our initial consultation (or interview) is always free. We typically meet with you to understand the scope of work, then we estimate the amount of work involved, provide a lump sum and we bill on an hourly basis towards that cap. However, to get more detailed information on our billing rates or other options you can contact us at your convenience.

Q. How long will it take to build my project?

A. There is no standard time frame for any construction project; it can take anywhere from a few weeks onward depending on the size & complexity of the design. Complete remodels can sometimes take as much time as ground-up construction because the condition of the structure may require retrofitting and a lot of remedial work prior to beginning the actual 'remodeling'.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Are you licensed Architects?

A. No, we are not Architects. We are Designers with over 15 years of experience in Interior Design and Architecture firms. When submitting our drawings for building permitting, we collaborate with our Structural Engineer or other Architects depending on the scope of the project and have them stamp plans if needed. Additionally, Douglas is currently taking his National Council of Architectural Registration Boards' (NCARB) exams for the State of California in order to obtain his professional licensure.

Q. Do you have contractors you work with?

A. When asked, we provide our clients with a list of contractors we have worked with in the past. We typically suggest getting bids from at least three contractors to establish a median price then we interview each to negotiate. The final decision on which contractor to hire rests with the clients.

Q. Is an Interior Designer or Designer the same as a Decorator?

A. No. Interior Designers are professionals qualified by education (a 4 or 5 year accredited Bachelor degree) and are also trained in both commercial and residential design, universal (ADA) design, conceptual design, space planning, contract documentation, construction documents, specification and selection of materials, electrical and lighting design, and construction administration. Interior designers typically need to have a strong aesthetic sensibility to be able to create environments that are both pleasing and functional, however, while interior designers also decorate spaces, decorators typically only select furnishings, accessories and finishes.