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Virtual Design in Real Time

     A new world has brought about creative thinking for everyone in business, especially designers. Since the pandemic, I have provided design advice and completed projects via Zoom, FaceTime and good old phone conversations. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when people connect, even if it’s only face to face remotely!
     The “encyclopedic” internet makes my source’s materials readily available to me as long as I know where to look. Additionally, design firms like mine are able to create “to scale” floor plans with a computer program that can print the room sizes we enter along with furniture sizes we select. Sounds like we could eliminate the design professional entirely and make DIY (Do It Yourself) universal. Not quite yet – because it’s the designer who creates the layout and finds the furniture!
     Once all clients are assured we don’t have to sit at their kitchen table to provide floor plans, product selections and budgeting, we cut down home and in-store visits to few or none. (I still like to send or accompany my clients to a pre-selected store or showroom, by appointment, to sit on upholstered seating). Additionally, we have also become quite adept at creating “lookbooks” to enable even those with very little powers of visualization to see their spaces. We include floor plans, pictures of plumbing fixtures, tile, kitchen and bath cabinet elevations, light fixtures, furniture, area rugs, paint colors, window treatment fabrics and designs, etc., all with a budget breakdown. It’s a lot of work and time to get it right for the client, but it really helps people make good choices.
     Interestingly, since we are a full service design firm that does renovation as well as design, we have been able to accomplish these projects, even during these difficult times. Our project supervisor visits the site with our general contractor and prepares the estimate. Then, once the project is approved and the schedule is set, one trade works there at a time (masked, of course and socially distanced from the client).
     Yes, it’s a different world – a world where things take more time, (even though we may want to set the deadlines) because renovation is slower and design products take longer to produce and be delivered. It is a good time, however, because many more in stock items are on sale to enable suppliers to generate revenue. Take advantage of this time to do your design project. It’s always smart to plan, get ideas and advice, and set your budget parameters so that you will be happy with the end result. Working with a designer to get you to the finish line will surely save you time and money. Yes, designers save you money and help you avoid costly mistakes. They will be with you through the two hardest parts of the project: the beginning, which involves creating the best floor plan selections, and the end, which requires choosing accessories, (along with all the steps in between). If there is an open and clear-cut dialogue between client and designer, this process will help complete a project on time and within budget.
     Our home should always be our safe haven. Now, more than ever, with parents and kids working remotely, everyone needs to have their space and families need more places in which to gather and have fun. These wants and needs will still apply long after the pandemic is over. So value your home, treat it well, and include the professionals to make your life easier and less stressful.
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