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.

The Napier Mail - - CONVERSATIONS -

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.

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