Desgining Long-distance: How I do it!
Just a couple of weeks ago I was off to CO to meet with a fabulous family. And this week I’m in MA to meeting with two of my clients. Oh yes, and attend Brimfield, too! Can you tell I’m squeezing in all the travel I can before our peanut comes mid-September? (Speaking of peanut, it's a girl!!)
Taking the design show on the road is a lot of fun. Many of you have asked how I work with clients who live so far away.
Hint: it’s not e-design. My design philosophy is very organic. I need to experience the space in person to get my creative juices flowing. That’s why strictly e-design, which is all done over the computer, doesn’t work for me. I just can’t wrap my head around it!
VISIT #1: HIT THE GROUND RUNNING
At the outset of a project, I travel to the client and work intensively with them in person for 1-2 days straight. Before my arrival we have a consultation where we talk through their likes and dislikes. To prep for the trip, I pull fabrics and build a loose design concept for their home.
When I arrive, we hit the ground running! We walk through their home and prioritize which room to design first. Usually it’s a large room that feeds into many others.
We dive right into the fabrics and talk about what they are drawn to. Based on the fabrics they’re loving, I start to put together a cohesive fabric story for that first room and then talk about how the other rooms will work off of it. I then pull fabrics that compliment that room, without it looking too matchy-matchy. The highest priority at this point is creating flow in the home. Each room should speak to the last. Remember your writing composition class, where they taught you to end paragraphs with a hook sentence, and begin the next paragraph with a related thought? It’s kind of like that, in 3-D.
Once the flow has started coming together, I measure out the space, take pictures and start building a spatial plan.
Next up are paint colors. I am all about instant gratification, so we head out to get paint samples and begin painting swatches right away!
By the end of my first visit we’ve established the rooms, paint colors, fabric stories, and spatial plans. Usually we’ve also begun talking through furniture shapes.
Between the first and second visit I’m designing like mad and finding (and often creating) the perfect pieces to furnish the home. I believe a house should have balance between the old and the new. Custom tables and upholstered pieces are fabulous. I love to design and create them, but I always incorporate some older pieces with history. It gives the home more life and prevents it from looking like a showroom.
VISIT #2: INSTALL AND BEYOND!
My next visit is usually two months after the first. By this point, all of the core pieces are finalized and the install date has been scheduled to coincide with my arrival.
This second visit is about layering. We’re able to see the core items in the home and then we work to layer on the rugs, lights, accent tables, art and accessories. This stage can take some time and should not be forced. Often times I make a third and fourth trip to complete a home. It’s important to me that all of the homes I design reflect the home owners’ tastes, lifestyle, and hobbies. I create an interior that is as unique to you as your fingerprint.
Every project is as unique as the individual client’s needs. The process I’ve described here is by no means a formula for designing with long-distance clients. I think of it more as a road map. As with any road trip, each project comes with its own scenic detours.