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What on earth is e-design?

E-design is a way to work with the Interior Designer of your choice without having to live in the same area, or even meet in person. Elle Decor calls these “virtual consultations.” Not only does it allow you greater choice of designers to work with, but it is often a more affordable option (with transparent a-la-carte pricing structures), and can have a shorter start to finish time for the completion of the design phase. If you like to DIY (do-it-yourself), than this is definitely the design service for you.

All of the communication is either done online by email or video calls, or by phone if necessary, which makes it more convenient for those of us (heck, all of us) with busy schedules.

How does e-design work and what's the process?

Client Questionairre: Fill out a detailed questionnaire which covers everything from fabric, color and art preferences to timeline and budget.

Client Homework: You measure your space, take plenty of good photos and make note of any existing pieces you want to work into the new design and then email that information to your designer. Also, many e-designers will have you pin to a shared Pinterest board so they can see more of your ideas and preferences.

Moodboard Creation: A moodboard (or concept board) is created based off the answers in your questionnaire with inspiration photos and a few furniture and decor pieces. Not every design firm sends you a sneak peek before giving you the main design plan, so if you are really wanting a first look within a week, seek out a designer that offers this.

The Deliverables: This is where designer offerings really start to differ. Designers offer everything from a single concept board to 3D mockups to a mailed box with your printed design and shopping list. There’s no right or wrong option here, just find something that works for you!

Here's one example:

The Execution: Once you've received your E-Design Plan, it's time to go shopping, get to work, and transform your space! You will be provided with a shopping list and a plan of how these items all fit into your room. You purchase the recommended items at your leisure and pull the room together once everything has been received. If paint colors were recommended, you either whip out the paint brushes and get to work, or hire your own local painting contractor.

For a small additional fee, I offer a Post-Design Conference Call to help as you are hanging artwork, styling your coffee table or to address any remaining questions to help you finish the space.

Hire an E-Designer if:

  • Able to measure and photograph your space

  • Able to articulate through inspiration images and product links exactly what you like

  • Desire to have a design plan narrowed down within a few weeks

  • Able to order products on your own and handle any returns/exchanges

  • Able to hire any tradesmen (painter, installer, etc) on your own

  • Are proficient in the use of Pinterest

Hire a Local Designer if:

  • Want in-home consultations

  • Want detailed room measurements and photos done for you

  • Want multiple fabric/wallpaper books and tile/flooring/countertop samples brought to your home - and maybe the occasional bottle of wine

  • Need construction documents or custom cabinetry designed

  • Want furniture purchasing handled

  • Want all of your new furniture delivered and installed at the same time (ie, the designer houses the furniture until install)

Common Misconceptions About E-Design

Even if you are just now hearing about virtual interior design it is already causing a stir in the design community and beyond. I think it’s important for me to address some of the impressions that are currently out there and provide a bit more background about e-designers in general.

That e-designers are not fully trained

Most e-designers (myself included) started our careers by getting our design education. In my case I have my BFA in Interior Design. Then years spent working as local designers to gain experience. I'm choosing to add e-design to my available services because living in Montana, everyone is so spread out, and this allows me to work with clients regardless of how close to my town they happen to be, or with clients who just have very busy schedules and prefer to do their part of the project at 2am.

That this is easy or we just recycle designs

I do not have a collection of pre-made designs that I re-use and sell to every client. Just like with traditional (local in-person) design, all of my designs are unique and based entirely on my communication with each individual client. This type of design work takes just as much time to create the design and source the correct materials to recommend.

That we can work with any budget no matter how small.

Although e-design allows me to offer my services somewhat cheaper than local design (not having to include travel time helps), the quality of the pieces I will source for you are going to be ones I would stand behind. Yes, you could get a $400 sofa, but I promise, in 3 years (or less) you'll be regretting it, and the overall look of the space would not be one I would be as proud of. I do have a few packages however, that will work with a variety of options. If you can only afford a few new pieces, try my Room Refresh where I use as much of your existing furniture and décor as possible.

That I have personally seen, touched, or examined

every piece I recommend on my shopping list.

Due to the nature of sourcing online, this is obviously not always possible, but I have worked to choose the most reputable suppliers possible, and spent time extensively researching client reviews and as often as possible checking items out at local retailers before I recommend them to my clients.

So, in conclusion...

Typically in about four to eight weeks, an e-designer can provide a comprehensive design concept for a room, including rendered images, a floor plan, furniture selection, samples of suggested materials and finishes, and shopping lists for accessories. Then it's up to you, the client, to implement the design.

Keep your eyes open because I will be adding information about my new e-design packages to my website in the very near future. If you just can't wait, please message me with any questions and we can get started as soon as you are ready.

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