How is everybody doing at the moment? Coping with life in lockdown? It’s hard to imagine that the life we now know didn’t exist five weeks ago and equally hard to imagine how we’ll ever get back to ‘normal’. However, rather than get too negative about it all we’ve been trying to think of ways we can adapt and flex our business to meet people’s needs in this new ‘normal’.
And we’re not the only ones. It’s been really fantastic to see how small businesses are adapting and changing the way they can reach their customers. In Leeds we’ve seen our local café Lidgett Lane Larder turn into a grocery store with delicious fresh produce and homemade meals to take away. Our Yoga Kula and Chapel Allerton Pilates classes have moved to virtual classes using Zoom. And local shops like Chirpy and George & Joseph have quickly found ways to sell online and deliver locally. There are so many businesses thinking about different ways in which they an operate when people are distancing themselves from face to face contact.
And most of the time it’s not necessarily about doing something radically new, it’s just about shifting things that are already happening behind the scenes or doing things that were already on the ‘to do’ list but just hadn’t been made a priority due to the time and effort involved.
And that’s the same for us really. Remote interior design is not something new, it’s something we’ve always offered. In fact, much of our design work is already done remotely, but we’ve never really focussed on it or talked about it much.
So, what is remote interior design then? Essentially, it’s what we already do but instead of meeting face to face we meet you and your home via video call and carry out the project for your home from our home. There are three main types of design projects we can do remotely.
Extension, space and layout planning
Now that you’re spending more time at home are you thinking that you need more space? Is the layout of your home affecting how you can live in it? Are you struggling for enough bedrooms for a growing family, for proper storage space or the ability to have a dedicated area for children’s toys, laundry, coats and shoes etc?
You might think that it wouldn’t be possible to think about planning an extension or reconfiguration project without being able to physically see the house first. But, in reality, all we need in order to be able to start the design process is:
A basic floorplan (these can usually be found online if you’ve bought the house in the last ten years, but a rough hand-drawn one is also sufficient)
Some key measurements
Photos of the various spaces
A brief from you
Once we’ve got access to the relevant information, we would then have a video call to go through everything in detail. The more of these things we can have access to before the video call the more prepared we can be to ask the right questions and probe on the most relevant pain points of the house.
We would then provide you with a proposal of design ideas to best extend or reconfigure your home. This will usually include a number of different options for different layouts and extension sizes so that you can choose which elements suit you best, before we reach a final design. We will always include 2D floorplans and 3D modelling of the proposed new interior designs including furniture and fittings so that you can visualise the changes to your home.
Each project we work on is different so we would normally provide a specific cost for your project. However, a project like this would usually range from £640-£1,500 depending on the number of floors involved and the complexity.
We’ve started working on a project like this since lockdown, where we are looking at a ground floor extension and reconfiguration as well as a loft extension. This family are in the process of buying the house at the moment so we have access to the house details and photos on Rightmove and the floorplan pulled together by the estate agent. We’ve already had a successful video consultation to talk through what they’re looking for and have started the design process. We can’t wait to see what they think of our ideas!
Kitchen and bathroom design
Kitchens and Bathrooms are often more complex than other parts off the home and usually need more time and thought to get it right.
Maybe you’ve got a large-scale renovation planned or you’re midway through but haven’t got a final design for what kitchen units you need and how to make best use of the space. Or you’re knocking through a separate bathroom and toilet space and want to create a well-functioning family bathroom.
Again, we don’t need to physically be in the space to be able to design it for you. The things we would need from you before we have a video call are very similar to the extension and layout project:
With this type of project, we will be asking you some questions about what type of finish or look and feel you’re aiming for. So, if you’ve got a Pinterest board that you’ve already created or have some photos that have inspired you on Instagram then we’d ask you to send these beforehand too. There’s no pressure to have clear ideas at this point, but any guidance on what you like/don’t like is helpful.
We would then provide you with a floorplan layout for the kitchen or bathroom space in 2D and 3D where appropriate, detailing on the units, appliances or suite positioning as well as electrical and plumbing plans. We would also provide mood boards as well as a product list of finishes including flooring, lighting, furniture and accessories.
Again, we would normally provide a specific cost for your kitchen or bathroom design project. However, a project like this would usually range from £450-£800 depending on the complexity.
This is the more traditional type of remote home interior design project, I suppose. This is where you’re looking to refresh a specific room like a bedroom or living space. Because it’s limited to one area of the house, it’s something that is seen as an ‘easier’ project or certainly one where you don’t necessarily need to see the space before being able to start designing.
Ideally, we’d like to have access to the dimensions of the space, some photos and some initial ideas that you’ve got before we have a chat over video call.
But with this type of project, we would then deliver a design concept including digital mood board, wall elevation, floorplan layout and core furniture pieces. Depending on how specific the brief is to start with we might share a number of mood boards to start with, you can then choose your favourite and we can move onto the details of the design. This project would culminate in a detailed product list with suppliers and pricing included.
We are also able to pass on various trade discounts with suppliers which helps to keep the overall costs down, which is particularly important in financially unstable times like these.
Depending on the size and complexity of the space we would normally charge £600-£800 for this type of interior design project.
So, if you think about it, remote design isn’t really that different from being able to do it face to face. Yes, of course, we’d prefer to be able to meet people in real life. We’re human, after all. But, what we’re able to do and deliver is the same whether we get to meet you virtually or in person. And how we can help create and design spaces and homes that work better for their owners is exactly the same.
So, if you’re sitting at home and think you’d like to make changes to it but didn’t think you could enlist a designer’s help during these times of social distancing then please think again and do get in touch with us here. And don't forget to follow us via Instagram, Facebook and our upcoming blogs.
Fresh Start Living is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire and covers surrounding areas as well as offering a remote interior design service.