I think it’s time for a post on E-design – what it is, how it works, and an example of a project I have done. Does everyone in the world do their E-design business the same way as me? Definitely not! But let’s delve in to how I go about doing an E-design project with a new client.
E-design is sort of like an abridged version of interior design. It is usually done completely online (hence, the “E” part in the name!), it is much more affordable than a full interior design fit out, and it gives more control, but also more responsibility, to the client. It is essentially outsourcing the design work to an interior stylist, but doing the product ordering and installation yourself. Kind of like buying flat packed furniture – you may not be able to make the pieces for a table yourself but you can put them together once you have them. As the interior stylist, I work to narrow down the field and provide you the list of “pieces” to make your “table” but it is up to you to go get them and put them all together. E-design is the IKEA of interior design I guess! Although, my instructions are much clearer….
The client for this project was a young teenage girl, I will call her “M” for short. Her bedroom was pretty much the exact opposite to what she wanted for a bedroom so her parents (and the landlord!) had agreed the room could be gutted and repainted. Here is what the space initially looked like: It was a 1985 Ode to Pink Flowers. Thing is, M lives in the same apartment complex I do and I happen to know that the apartments were built only just over 10 years ago!! Which means someone did this in the mid-2000’s or later! Everything was covered in flowers and/or pink, wallpaper on every surface (yes, even the ceiling), and a very inefficient furniture layout that left no spare floorspace in the room at all. Over all, it looked cramped and childish. And M hated it – it was not a relaxing or inspiring space for her.
So this is where I come in.
The first step with a new client is the client consult. Usually, I do this via Skype/FaceTime or a phone call. Last resort is through email (since I like to hear people’s voices and ideally, see their faces!) but since this client lives in the same apartment complex as me, we did our initial consult at their home. During the initial consult for any client, I need to find out what will stay and go in the space, what they like/dislike about the space, what they envision (if anything!) for the new room and their budget for the changes. As difficult as “money talk” is, it is crucial to me being able to provide the right design solutions for the space. Not only is it about what the client can afford, but what they are comfortable spending on the room. Even if they can afford HK$1000 throw cushions, if they usually spend HK$200 then it is unlikely that the thousand dollar ones will allow them to relax and enjoy the space.
For my initial discussion with M (and her mother), the main theme was that the new space needed to be calm – no busy wallpaper! – and not girly. She wanted the colour scheme to include green and the space to feel open and light. First up, I sent through a number of inspiration images with bedrooms in different green colour schemes and different styles, to see which caught M’s eye. This allowed us to determine that she liked a modern, contemporary look to the room. I also sent through a number of bedding options as a starting off point for the design. The emerald green duvet (top left) was selected as having the style and colour that M liked best. And there we had the starting point for the room! Initially, M wanted a lofted bed, and a reading area in the space underneath. Here are the two design boards that I completed for M’s room:
The first board pairs the green with black and white keeping everything very geometric. The second board uses a more soothing and “natural” palette of white and beige, with a lot of natural textures. None of the existing loft beds available were right for the space and the look we wanted, and after exploring custom made options, a storage bed was decided on instead. This meant that the reading area M had really wanted wasn’t possible in the small footprint of the room. So instead, I provided a number of cushion options in the final board that could be used as back rests on the bed for reading. M liked all of the storage ideas (she is an organised young lass) so most of those items from both boards were selected for the final board. In addition, she liked the idea of a vinyl decal for above the bed so I provided a source for these (from Etsy).
I also produced a new floor plan that gave a much more open and spacious feel to the room. And then I was done! Because, for E-design, once I hand over the final design board, the source list and a floor plan (if it’s needed), then that’s it! It is up to the client to use that design board to finish the room. Some clients take the entire board and buy everything on the source list, some just purchase a few key items (like soft furnishings for instance) and others just use it as a guideline for buying similar items so they maintain the same feel to the space.
For M’s room, the design board was used more as an inspiration board. I must admit I debated about whether or not to present this project on the blog since very few of the actual products on the design board were used in the room. It was decided to buy white bedding and go with a green throw blanket instead of using the emerald green bed linen, and I don’t think there are plans to purchase any throw pillows after all. The green that M originally chose (a saturated emerald green), was not as readily available as a fresh leaf green so the palette has even changed! One idea that was kept (although done using some different products in the new leaf green colour) was the variety of storage and organisation products. A large vinyl decal was also used in the room, as suggested on the design board. So the feel of the space is similar to the design board, but the design board was more a guideline for their purchases than a shopping list. Is my professional ego a bit dented? Of course! I spend a lot of time and effort to select what goes on a design board, but that is the deal with E-design – you hand over the reigns to the client and they run with it. In the end though, M is thrilled with her new space and loves to spend time in there. And that is ultimately what the job is all about! Hopefully, down the track I will have a different project to share where the majority of the items on the design board are used and you will see a design board “come to life”. But until then, I think this project still shows the dramatic change that can be achieved in a room, even when it is a rental property and even on a very tight budget.
and again, BEFORE to AFTER: