Interior design done over a long distance
A Napier firm is showing that designers don’t have to be based in Auckland to land international contracts. reports.
Interior design as a service conducted in person could one day be a thing of the past. Thanks to smartphones and the internet, homeowners can receive the design advice they want no matter where they live (or how much privacy they prefer). That means many interior design firms work on projects across geographic distances.
Interior designers Bibby and Brady are based in Napier but work with clients from Auckland to Christchurch, and even as far as Australia.
‘‘Sometimes we could do a whole house and only visit it once or twice,’’ said Dael Brady of Bibby and Brady. ‘‘Generally, depending on the scope, we do a lot of work where we don’t have to necessarily visit the client.’’
What the degree of remoteness depends on, is the scale of the project.
Big jobs such as renovations, need site visits. Redesigns of anything more than two rooms could be done remotely if the client so required. But a small job of one or two rooms is definitely doable without stepping foot in the building.
‘‘If it was just a lounge or just a bedroom, we can certainly do that remotely,’’ said Brady. ‘‘Sometimes if it’s a bigger job we’ll travel to it. But we don’t necessarily have to do that straight away, we can just get the ball rolling.’’
The act of styling, redecorating or renovating a space is undeniably visual. So fittingly for a remote project, the interior design process usually begins with photos snapped on a smartphone.
‘‘Sometimes people do us a little video and walk through their house,’’ said Brady.
Throughout the process, communication is key. ‘‘We work a lot with Pinterest and I often talk to them. We get a really good understanding with them of what they’re wanting to achieve, the scope of what they’re wanting to achieve, their budget, that type of thing.’’
The next must-have is a floor plan.
‘‘We always get a floor plan off a client and then we do our own,’’ Brady said. ‘‘What the client gets is a floor plan with: furniture goes here, art goes here, this size art on this wall.’’
‘‘So they can get a really good idea of where everything goes, right down to the plants. Everything is placed on the floor plan.’’
Next, they provide design boards as a complete look for each room which are delivered to the client’s home. A design board will illustrate things like fabric swatches, paint colours, and their recommended furniture and accessories.
‘‘These cushions, that rug, this piece of art,’’ said Brady.
Finally, the board is presented over the phone to explain their design thinking and answer any questions. If the prescription is successful, Bibby and Brady source the items on the client’s behalf.
Vic Bibby and Dael Brady have found that though technology helps them to work remotely, a successful project comes down to building strong relationships with clients and suppliers.
‘‘Generally, depending on the scope, we do a lot of work where we don't have to necessarily visit the client.’’
Dael Brady A chair from Bibby and Brady paired with an antique table. Below, Pinterest can help with the design process.