LONG DISTANCE DESIGN - New York City Monochromatic Nursery
I have long been interested in the idea of e-design. I get emails and messages from people from all over the place asking if I provide this service and my answer is always 'not yet'.
There are a lot of logistics that go into a design that makes it hard to do without actually ever being in a space. So many potential problems you could run into (example: I specify a gorgeous sofa, you order it, it finally arrives and it can't fit up the stairway... and I didn't even know there WAS a stairway!). It also means I have to specify mostly retail sources (easily returnable!) and that takes away some of the magic of hiring a designer. All that being said there is still an appeal to be able to design/decorate spaces all over the country from the comfort of my living room.
So when one of my oldest friends reached out to help with their apartment after a big move from London back to New York, I jumped at the chance to give this whole thing a try. Always easiest to journey into the unknown with someone you know and someone that will understand that this process has not been perfected... or even attempted (by me) before.
So here is a little behind the scenes of my first ever long distance design (aka e-design).
STEP 1 - MEASURE, AND THEN MEASURE AGAIN.
I found a handy guide to send my friend on how to properly measure a room for this service and she did a bang-up job providing a floor plan for the first space we planned to tackle: her son's bedroom.
We weren't purchasing any large furniture so access to the room wasn't something we had to worry about. I did need lots of photos to work from. I suggested one taken from each corner of the room and detail shots of anything noteworthy (like the firealarm in the middle of the wall!)
Nothing particullarly wrong with this room just needed some direction (and to get rid of the boob light).
STEP 2 - EENY MEENY MINEY MOE
My friend sent me the link to her Pinterest (thank g*d for Pinterest, amiright?) to get a feel for the what she likes. I decided I would put together two rough mockups for her to choose from. Jayna wanted book storage and blackout window coverings and other than that, she was open to ideas. I knew I wanted to wall mount some shelving for baskets (diaper supplies) and decor (shelfie opportunities), and to create a little reading corner for bedtime stories. Design challenges were that the room was very narrow and with a big sliding glass door on one end and closets on the other, we really just had two walls to work with. I decided wall mounted book storage was out best bet for space saving and a lightweight bean bag would make for easy, moveable lounging.
DESIGN 1: TWINKLE TWINKLE
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Removable wallpaper FTW! This starry night sky seemed like the perfect backdrop for their white crib and the abstract moon print felt on-theme but not at all childish. A warm, soft rug to contrast the dark wall and my kid's favorite beanbag for some print. The opposite wall would have wall-mounted book shelves, a ladder for baby blankets and a large mirror to give the illusion of a bigger space.
OPTION 2: MONOCHROMATIC
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I have never met a monochromatic room I didn't love so this was an easy one for me. I opted for an off-black chair rail and suggested using chalkboard paint for future fun. Having only the bottom third of the wall dark allowed the space to still feel open and bright. Kept a lot of the same elements from the first concept. Swapped out the art for a bold animal print, added a fun hanging planter and more baskets for toys.
Jayna loved them both but went for the classic black and white so I was pretty excited about that!
STEP 3: BUY ALL THE THINGS
I sent Jayna a spreadsheet with everything that needed to be ordered along with size and color specifications. She purchased everything on her own and let me know as items arrived. She also tested the paint colors I suggested and coordinated the painter on her end. Note to clients: e-design is a collaboration, be prepared to do the work!
The issues we ran into are exactly the types of things that happen when the designer isn't present in the space and a total learning experience for me! Super grateful for Jayna's easy going attitude about the whole thing and luckily the issues were minor.
The plug-in sconce we ordered for the reading corner projected a bit too far out and made accessing the slider a little annoying so in the end, we scrapped it. The other issue was the curtain rod we ordered had large finials and didn't fit correctly because the slider was so close to the wall. This was something I definitely could have caught before hand, lesson learned: study the pictures at every step of the process.
STEP 4: MAKE IT HAPPEN
Once everything arrived we had a call to review placement. Jayna got everything in place and sent photos if and when she had questions. The small lingering issues (hemming the curtains because we got ready-made panels) had to be dealt with on her end. This is the part of e-design that is hard for me - a big benefit of hiring a designer is not only a fully completed space but the experience and it is hard to make sure the experience is amazing when you are 3,000 miles away!
Other than those few small bumps, everything worked out pretty great. And it turns out, Jayna has some serious shelf styling skills (and made a good remote photographer as well)! Check out the after:
Paint colors are ebony king and simply white by Benjamin Moore. If you are interested in e-design and haven't been scared off by this post, email me and I will give your more information on the process.