Posted on 05/02/2021 9:07 AM | by NaijaHouses
Online interior design, or e-design as it’s more commonly known, is a phenomenon that has grown hugely over the last year, partly out of necessity and partly, I suspect, because we have all had to adapt to a more online life and familiarise ourselves with the technology that comes with that.
“Our lives have become so ‘tech’ that we are craving human contact even more although I appreciate in lockdown that is hard. Clients want to tell us their story and we want to hear that story. We want to know where our products are made and who made them and I think the relationship between client and designer is an extension of that human touch.”
But Emilie Fournet, a designer known for her stunning use of colour – surely something that is very hard to get right online, is a convert: “When I first started as an Interior Designer, I must say I didn’t have the best opinion about remote design. but this has changed greatly over the last year. I have seen how a two hour remote consultation can pretty much solve most problems people have with their interiors providing it is planned properly with both parties,” she said.
Obviously since lockdown e-design has boomed and has allowed people to get on with fixing their home in a safe manner without having to rely on government guidance. I have worked on farmhouses in Ireland and flats in Portugal so far and I must say I am quite enjoying the variety from the comfort of my own house.”
Emilie offers the same services by remote as she does in person from colour consultations, lighting plans, spatial planning and room layouts as well as revising architects plans for extensions and advice on window treatments, fabrics and finishes and guidance for furniture and accessories.”
To get the best of the service she asks that clients provide the following: floor plans, a video tour of the space so she can see how the light flows, as well as detailed measurements. Finally, she requires a pinterest board so she can get an idea of a client’s taste as well as what they are hoping to achieve with the space.
When it comes to samples, obviously the client has to order their own, but Emilie will often also order a duplicate set so both parties can see they are looking at the same thing. If you are happy to get involved to that extent then e-design might be the solution for you.
One company that has pivoted to online design is Neptune, who were quick to start an online kitchen design service last year. They will also send you a video telling you exactly how to measure accurately, which is vital and not just for kitchens. And, while they feel a remote designer will never be the same as an in-store in-person consultation they plan to keep up the service beyond lockdowns.
Another company offering e-design is My Bespoke Room, co-founded by Laura Simpson, which has come up with tech-based solution to affordable e-design. Customers must first fill in a detailed questionnaire which is followed by a video chat so the professional designer and client can get to know each other.
“We have developed a whizzy chat function so we can fire questions and answers back and forth and we also use Google maps to work out which direction their room faces so we can see how the natural light might affect the colours.”
In addition, Laura says they have some automated tech which saves on admin for the designers. “Designers can spend 80 per cent of their time doing admin so we have stuff running in the background that makes that all easier (and helps keeps the costs down) so we have a programme that will pull in all the relevant products and brands together so you can drag and drop what you like which can help with both time and the overwhelm.”
As Emilie says: I think e-design is a great concept that makes design very accessible, and it can also answer those dilemmas that sometimes people get completely stuck on and they are unable to make a decision so they end up doing nothing. If your house isn’t working for you – if you know something needs to change but you don’t know what – it could be that just a couple of hours with a professional answers all your questions and will give you a direction to help you move forward and ultimately fix your house.”