E-DESIGN – The New Normal?
The thought of doing an E-Design interior trim package was not in our wheel house in January. Today, it seems we’re doing all our design work remotely. (Along with everyone else.)
It’s seeds were sewn rather innocently last Fall – because of traffic. With projects on Cape Cod and Cape Anne, the thought of spending 3 – 4 hours in a car for a one – one and half hour meeting was like a dope slap across the back of the head. Terrible time management. We suggested trying out Go To Meeting to our clients and the architect with whom we were working and they all said, “Yes! Let’s try it!”
E-Design INterior trim package: it’s inception
Then in early February, we received a call from a prospect in Nashville. They were building a new Italianate Victorian home and were looking for help designing the interior trim for the home.
In many respects, new construction simplified the process because we didn’t have to deal with measuring existing spaces. But, we still had to cover how to coordinate what we would be doing with what the client and his architect would be doing. After going back and forth, we agreed on a Scope of Work for our E- Design Interior Trim Package Proposal.
Provide interior trim design and detailing package for a new construction Italianate Victorian home at…….… Package will include, but not limited to elevations, details sections and specifications as required of crown moulding, base, door and window casing, framed openings, wainscot/paneling, chair rails, fireplace wall in the kitchen and builtin cabinetry as requested.
The trim package will be for the following rooms:
1st Floor: Front hall/foyer, stair/stairwell, dining room, master bedroom, master bathroom, study/study entry, 2 powder rooms, great room, kitchen, pantries, mud room and sewing room.
2nd Floor: 2nd floor landing and halls, bedrooms 2 – 5, kid’s den and 3 bathrooms.
In order to proceed as efficiently as possible, homeowner will provide the following:
- Completed Programming Questionnaire.
- Inspiration images of key rooms/spaces, such as front hall/foyer, dining room, master bedroom, master bath, great room, etc.
- All selections and decisions made to date including interior and exterior door styles, door hardware and hinges, flooring, kitchen cabinet design, vanities/built in millwork, fireplace mantels, decorative lighting, finishes and materials, etc.
- The above will provide context for WKD’s design of the trim package.
The proposal went on to describe how we and the client would interact with each other; including transmission of materials, documents, on line meetings and approvals. Having never done architectural E-Design before, Sally and I had to sit down and script how every step of the project would be managed.
As it looked like the project was going to ramp up, the stock market tanked. The project did not proceed. On the other hand, it was a very empowering experience because we came away believing Wilson Kelsey Design could actually offer/provide E-Design Interior Trim Packages to our prospects/clients.
E-Design’s New ROle in Our Office
Of course, by default, all our work is now E-Design based. Roles have shifted some what because we’re not visiting job sites and meeting clients in person. We have to depend on our clients to provide us with measurements, such as room dimensions, ceiling heights, window sill heights and window opening sizes to name a few. Our Cape Anne project, which is an interior trim and cabinetry project, has been done almost entirely in this manner. The basic format has been as follows:
- Assemble the package we plan to present//discuss with our client and send it to them via email and/or dropbox prior to our online meeting. Carefully prepared notes are always included with the package, so they will understand what they are seeing.
- Schedule an online meeting to review/discuss the package. Go To Meeting is our on line meeting platform of choice. It’s video and screen sharing capabilities suit our needs very well. Occasionally, during the meeting an additional quick sketch is necessary in order to clarify or illustrate a point. We scan the sketch and it is immediately ready to share on our screen with our client.
- At the conclusion of the meeting, prepare notes of the meeting and distribute them as a confirmation of our discussions.
unanticipated E-Design fringe benefits
We’ve learned it’s easy to schedule a quick meeting to discuss a question. The ability to screen share a visual illustrating our question is so handy. Virtual meetings have been a real time saver for all involved. Our clients feel more engaged and involved in the decision making process. The design process feels more collaborative.
For example, in our Cape Anne project, we needed more detailed information on the existing mantel in order to complete the final design and construction drawings of the approved mantel concept.
I prepared a sketch with all the dimensions I needed and emailed the sketch to our client. We then got on Go To Meeting and reviewed the sketch to be sure they were clear on what I was looking for. They then took the appropriate measurements and emailed the sketch back to us.
Using the dimensions from the sketch, I prepared the final design and construction drawings. I scan portions of the drawings as I complete the drawing and email them to our client for their review.
In a similar manner, we have been able to work thru the size of the framed opening at the entry to the living room. There was an outside door that had the potential of dictating the size of the opening if it was necessary that the door open a full 90 degrees. As I was studying the photographs of the entry, I noticed the door had a 4” hold open device. Apparently in the summer the open door would blow closed, so the hold open device was installed to to keep the door open. Perhaps the door did not need to open 90 degrees?
A quick email and we had our answer. The door did not have to open a full 90 degrees! I prepared a few sketches showing different opening sizes and transmitted them to our client. We then did a video chat to review the sketches. During the meeting, we determined how far away from the wall the end of the door was in it’s held open position and how much more open the door could be while still allowing comfortable access to the outdoors.
As we complete our construction docs, we send our client scans of elevations and details for their review, comment and approval. Go To Meeting is the perfect platform for reviewing the scans with our client.
The project is going so smoothly, we are considering making this way of working our Office Standard!
If Sally and I can help you with any aspect of the design of your home, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the contact form on our website, here:
Or, if you’re not sure if you need to hire an interior designer, please give us a call. We’d be happy to chat.
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