I asked my Instagram followers what kinds of questions they had about eDesign and MAN OH MAN did they come through with some good ones!! There were so many more questions to answer than I anticipated, leading me to generally believe that few people really understand how eDesigners work at all. A lot of the questions were repetitive, so I figured I could best answer everyone in a broad forum. So here we go. Let's dive deep into Interior eDesign.
Q: What even IS eDesign?
So many people asked this question that it makes me feel a little bad to have never thoroughly explained it before. I guess I made an assumption that everyone knew someone who was offering this service (I know, like, 15 eDesigners personally), and therefore had an inherent understanding of what the service actually is.
So eDesign is the modern world's answer to Interior Design. We do can accomplish so much in a virtual realm. Why not add home decorating to that category as well, right? So an eDesigner never comes to your home. She won't ever pick up your furniture and rearrange your books. Rather, eDesigners are Interior Designers, Decorators, and Stylists who present an actual spacial design without ever shaking your hand. They work from the information you give them to create a digital copy of a room design (like the ones above). Typically, these are flat-fee services that lend towards a budget-conscious clientele. I'll get into details about cost in a bit, but here's a great article from Elle Decor that perfectly sums up how eDesign works and a lot of the benefits.
Q: What are the benefits of working with an eDesigner?
This was the second most popular question you all had. I totally get it. It feels like you're missing a big chunk of the design process if you opt for an eDesign over a standard Interior Design package. No one is coming to your house to show you exactly how to place things just so. I can see how this could make a client feel like they're not going to get the full-service they require for a beautiful space. Of course, from my perspective, I see things differently. As an eDesigner, I actually love working with eDesign clients because I am not just providing the design service, I'm actually TEACHING THEM how to do these things for themselves. I'm absolutely convinced that natural talent for design is hogwash. Sure, some people came out of the womb with a good eye but where did they learn the technique? School? Okay. But what happens in school? THEY PRACTICE DESIGN. It really only requires practice to get good at something. So this is my favorite benefit.
The most glaring benefit is COST. Most traditional full-service Interior Designers have a minimum budget requirement. That means they won't even consider working on your project if it's less than $XX,XXX. Now what is that requirement? I can't say for sure. Each designer has their own policies. Some firms don't accept projects under $100,000 while self-employed designers might take projects with a $10,000 budget. But with eDesign, you set the budget. I'm certain there are designers who offer eDesign services with minimum budget requirements (in fact, I know three who do for sure), but the majority are willing to work with your budget because eDesign projects require less time investment. This doesn't mean you're getting a lesser quality design. It simply means that you're not paying for all of the busy work. Think about it - the most time-consuming part of the design process is driving around, picking up materials, meeting with contractors, negotiating bids, and UNPACKING BOXES. The actual design process is about 1/3 of the time spent "on the job" for the majority of traditional designers. Do you want to pay someone to unwrap a lamp shade? Have you ever unwrapped a lamp shade? It's excrutiatingly time-consuming, but basically a child can do it. Why pay for something you can do yourself?
And since you're not paying for the busy work, you're paying less. Sometimes, SUBSTANTIALLY LESS. From my market research, I have learned that the majority of eDesigners charge under $1,000 per room for their designs. In fact, most of the packages I've seen are in the $500 /room ballpark. Compared to a traditional designer, who might spend MONTHS on your project (therefore requiring a lot more money to sustain their business), you're saving a lot of money. This is amazing to me because it means the average family can now afford professional Interior Design services! I wish you could see my face right now. Imagine *mind blown*. If someone had told me a decade ago that I'd be able to afford an Interior Designer, I would have assumed there was a winning lottery ticket in my pocket. Design services were previously on par with housekeepers and butlers, reserved exclusively for the wealthy. Now you can partake in the fun too!! My fees, in case you're wondering are listed here. I'm very upfront about my rates. I charge $350 per room, $700 for kitchens and open concept spaces. I also offer hourly services, but these add up quickly, so I tend to refer clients to my package rates. I'm here to save you as much money as possible, while delivering a look that says "Yeah, she rich" to your neighbors.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. This part is so fun to me. I can work with clients who live literally anywhere! Got a townhouse on Mars? As long as you have high-speed internet and access to Google Hangouts, we can jive. The best benefit of this feature? I get to work with clients who share a similar aesthetic and my clients get a designer who isn't just dedicated to the regional decor. I love designing rooms, I really do. But I especially love designing rooms I'd want to have in my own home! HOW FANTASTIC IS THAT?!
Q: I'm interested in eDesign services, but I really need someone to help me with my kitchen renovation. Do you do kitchens too?
Of course we do! I mean, well, I do. I've done bathrooms, kitchens, offices, laundry rooms, playrooms... You name it, I can help! Heck, I'm even working on an Exterior design right now! You see bedrooms most often because these are the rooms people tend to leave for last when they're renovating their homes. Then, by the time they finally get around to them, they've lost steam and inspiration. These are the rooms people most frequently turn to eDesigners for. They're at the tail-end of their renovation budgets and they just don't have it in them to look at one more paint or fabric sample. We understand. Design can be exhausting! It's why we all drink so much! (jk jk) If you ever have a project that you're wondering if a designer will tackle, just ask them. I'm actually interested in doing a garage design. Haven't done one yet but I'd sure love to give it a try. And if you happen to have a garage that you'd like to convert into a salon, I GENUINELY WANT TO DO THAT. Salons are my dream. Which is funny because I haven't actually been to a salon in five years. What? Don't act like that's surprising. You've seen my hair.
Q: Can you tell me more about the process? How does eDesign work?
Well. It works well. But you have to be willing to put forth a little effort. I'm not asking you to know your style. No one ever does. I can't even tell you my own style. It's impossible to nail anyone down to a word. So we don't expect you to have a full range of knowledge of Interior Design to work with us. That's our job, after all. But there are items we need from you to move forward with the design. I can't say how everyone's process works. I didn't take a course, so I don't know how everyone else does it. I can only tell you how I do it. This is what works for me.
1. Initial Consultation
We have a phone conversation during which you tell me what space or spaces you'd like to tackle. I listen. I ask your budget. It stings. I know. But it's necessary. Then we determine a rough gameplan, based on the number of spaces you have and the most urgent priorities. During this call, we determine how much my fees will be per project. For instance, if you have three spaces; a bedroom, a bathroom, and a great room, I can tell you the bedroom and bathroom will be $350 each. The great room will likely be divided into multiple zones; a TV zone and a dining zone, for example. As a result, the great room will count as two spaces and the fee for that room will be $700. I told you, I'm very upfront. If I have concerns about your budget, I'll mention it during this call. Yes, I'll work with any budget, but I can't furnish an entire living room for $400. At least, not a designed room. A college dorm? Sure.
2. Invoices / Follow-up Email
After our initial call, I will send you invoices for every room / space you've requested. I will also send you an email with the following information;
Here are the specs I need from you in order to begin working on your design;
1. Length, and width of each wall submitted in the form of a sketch with markings for existing outlets, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, etc. It doesn't need to look pretty. A rough sketch works just as well as the fanciest floor plans.
2. Photos of the room, from all corners.
3. A list of any designs aversions you or your partner may have. For instance, if you hate brass fixtures, please let me know. If the color green is your spouse's least favorite, please include that. Hate animal print? Yep. I'll take that information too.
4. Photos of any existing furniture or fixtures you'd like to incorporate.
5. Receipt of paid deposit (from PayPal invoice).
Upon receipt of deposit, I'll begin working on this design at the earliest available date. Each design is expected to require two full weeks.
Current availability includes the following weeks:
Since I only accept two clients per week, these slots fill up very quickly. Please submit deposit as soon as possible to secure your slot. Consultations do not guarantee a design slot. A design is only considered to be booked if deposit has been received, at which point you'll be emailed your beginning date. Unless otherwise requested, your eDesign will begin on the earliest available date once all requested documents and deposits have been received. If you would like to request a specific or later date for completion, please reach out to discuss before submitting the deposit.
Remember - if you find an item that you'd like to incorporate, please send me a photo or a link to the website as soon as possible. Texting or emailing the photo works best. My number is (615)828-0064. I'll also create a Pinterest Board just for this design that is secret and can only be viewed by you and me. Expect an invitation shortly.
Terms and Conditions
Deposit of 50% due upon booking services. Deposit is non-refundable, but if your satisfaction is not met, please reach out so we can make it right. I will not leave a client high and dry. Remaining payment to be made upon presentation of completed design. Files to be released after invoice is paid in full.
3. Initial Design Concept
Once all of the required information is received, you'll get your project start date. On that date, I'll begin designing THREE OPTIONS, based on the inspiration images and Pinterest pins you've shared. Each of these designs will be within your suggested style, but two will be extreme. One will be a middle-ground. Within a few days, I'll present these initial design concepts to you via Google Hangouts. During this video call, I will share my computer screen and we can discuss each concept in length. We can even source alternatives right on this call! During this call, we will determine which of the three designs is your favorite. If none strike your fancy, we will explore other styles until we find something you like.
4. Room Design / Sourcing / Floorplans
After our call, I'll begin putting together the final design proposal. This will include a floorplan of the space with sourced items marked for you to arrange upon receipt, a list of item sources so you can purchase, and a full room design (typically four board). This takes approximately one week.
5. Final Design Proposal
Once the design is complete, we meet again via Hangouts and I share the design with you. At this point, you can request any final alterations or additions.
6. Finalized Design Presentation
Once I've made any final design adjustments, we'll have one final call during which I present the completed design. After this call, your invoice is expected to be paid in full and your sources, and all design files, are released to you to begin pulling the room together. I provide paint color suggestions and you are expected to test samples to determine which color best suits your room.
7. Post-Design Follow-up
Once your items are received, if you have any questions about how to arrange them, etc. I am available for you to text, call, or email. Since most of my eDesign clients are tacking DIY projects, I highly anticipate this and have built this time into my rate schedule. If you are, for instance, installing tile for the first time, I will provide my favorite online tutorials and walk you through the process via FaceTime, Hangouts, or a phone call. My favorite part of the process is watching my clients learn to do things and put their own rooms together. I'm not a designer who sends the final draft and blocks my clients' calls. I'm here for you until the project is complete.
Q: I like so many different styles and I'm afraid I can't tell someone over the phone how I want it to look. Is eDesign a bad idea for me?
This is a tricky one. It's hard for me to say whether or not this is a service that would benefit you without knowing the scope of your project. I fight for my clients to get what they want. If they want a high-end look on a Target budget, I scour the whole world to find pieces to help them. I also fight them sometimes because I can tell when they're holding back. I can hear in your voice if a design isn't working for you. But I can't fix it until you've told me what you don't like. So, that said, I will say that eDesign can work for anyone who is willing to work as a team. If you can be forthcoming with your designer, and not fear offending them, it should turn out lovely. After all, this is your home. At the end of the day, I'm not offended if you tell me something doesn't work for YOUR SPACE. I'm only offended if you take my design and throw it away. Because that's a missed opportunity that you could've had something you loved and instead you wasted your money. I don't like wasted money. Wonder if it will work for you? Reach out. A quick call, no sales pitch, just straight-forward opinions and the same outline you read above. If you decide during the call, or after, that you aren't comfortable, no harm done. I love talking to people. Any chance for a conversation is not a waste of my time. Contact me at email@example.com or on Instagram. Or heck, my number is even listed above.