With all the changes that are happening in the world, we wanted to take the opportunity to see how the interior design community has been adapting to the new daily routine of working from home. The hope is to not only connect you to others in the same situation, but be able to provide a few tips to stay productive. From us to you, stay safe and healthy.

Erica Lugbill | Lugbill Designs 

How have you adjusted to working from home effectively?

“Working from home has been quite the adjustment with two small children. Every day is a challenge! Interior design clients and vendors have been extremely understanding and accommodating of the extra background noise. I have set up a constant workstation so I can always sit down and pick up where I left off whenever I find a free minute.”

Any tips on how you stay productive and motivated throughout the day?

“I have a more productive day if I spend time to get up and get myself ready. For instance, I’ll create a to-do list for both the day and the week to keep me on track. I still set goals and will pre schedule video meetings with my clients to ensure that projects keep moving. “

How do you manage your client relationships now?

“Managing client relationships doesn’t feel significantly different. Most of our face to face interaction happens towards the beginning of the project, and those meetings are now taking place over Zoom. I have been surprised how personal and interactive video meetings feel. The majority of our communication happens via email and phone throughout the duration of a project.”

How does project scoping work during these times? Are you able to communicate openly about visual aspects?

“I have been pleasantly surprised at how easily we can communicate our design vision via screen share and video. We have had to spend more time preparing for presentations to ensure the details are clear, but we also save time since we don’t need to travel to our meetings.”

Any benefits of working from home?

“Comfortable pants and unlimited snacks!”

Lisa Fontaine  | Lisa Fontaine Design Studio

How have you adjusted to working from home effectively?

“Luckily, for me, this wasn’t a transition. I was already working from home. A little over a year ago I had to leave my gorgeous office space in a historic brick building in Downtown Phoenix, due to the building being sold and new plans for it were in effect. So, I took to working from home until I found a new space. Which hadn’t happened yet, so I have been adjusted to this for a while.”

Any tips on how you stay productive throughout the day?

“Some tips I would share with both my fellow designers and clients who are new to working from home… if the designated room you planned for a home office isn’t supporting your creative flow or bringing positive energy, then change it! I was using my guest bedroom, turned office, for my workspace. But it had little natural light and not a great view of the outside world.

I was dreading working there every day and quickly found that I was spreading my work and projects across my dining table and cocktail table. There are tons of windows and the sunlight pours into that room during the day! I can see my neighbors and wave to the mailman… I learned that working from home was fine, if I could still feel connected. So, I moved my desk into my dining room and made that my new office space. It’s not the norm, for sure, but even for the people who this might be a temporary set up, make your work environment pleasing to you! Who says that right now your dining room needs to be a dining room?! I mean, let’s face it, I’m currently eating most of my meals anywhere but my dining room table!”

What have you done to stay motivated?

“I have really tried to treat each day like it’s any other day. I wake up… maybe not AS early as I had before, but I still wake up before 7am. I’ll start every day with a morning workout routine, a cup of hot tea and a quick run thru of what I might have scheduled on my calendar. I shower and get dressed too… I admit my outfits are much more casual and I’m not really doing the dog and pony show with hair & makeup, but I enjoy the routine of “getting ready for the day”.

Doing this routine helps keep mental focus and clarity. It keeps me in a positive mindset and encourages me to be active throughout the day. If I just woke up and did none of the above, then I would most likely just transition from bed to sofa and that’s where I’d be the rest of the day. I don’t find a whole lot of joy in that. I mean, don’t get me wrong a good TV binge day is always needed in our lives, but it cannot be what I do every damn day!”

How do you manage your client relationships now?

“Staying relevant has never been more important then it is now, am I right?! I have been using social media to connect a lot with my interior design clients as well as just calling or sending a message.

I recently posted a photo of a renovation I did with a client. It was our first project together and since there has been a second house. She saw the post and responded about how great that kitchen was and made a reference to another possible future project together! Sharing a past project memory on Instagram or simply sending an email to let clients know you are present, thinking about them and care, is just the same as calling an old friend to connect. There is no denying connection is needed right now!”

How does project scoping work during these times? Are you able to communicate openly about visual aspects?

“Adjustment in every aspect of life is pretty much necessary. And that also relates to the means to find new work. I connect with my contractors to see how they are doing and if there is any work that we can generate from each other’s resources, I also rely on my Trade Professionals and Representatives, and I always say that Designers don’t utilize their Reps enough. I have created great working relationships with all my local interior design Reps. They support my business during the good times and the rough. They will refer me to clients and always send a lead my way if they hear of anything. Right now, that is a great resource to have. They are a second set of eyes and ears!The communication with my clients is much different. All the meetings are virtual. I use a courier service to deliver samples (tile, fabric, wood, etc.) to their homes and we have a Zoom Meeting Presentation.

It does propose its hiccups along the way but after a few minutes it all makes sense and we work as normal. I really feel the clients are just appreciative that I have found a way to continue the design development and that work hasn’t totally stopped on their project. If we can E-Design and approve samples & drawings, eventually the construction will start, and business will be as usual!”

Any benefits of working from home?

“Of Course, there is! Who doesn’t like to get their laundry finished at 11am on a Tuesday?! Or run to the grocery store at 10am instead of after work or on weekends?! There’s always a silver lining in everything, if you look for it!”

Emily Klapkowski | You-Neek Designs 

How have you adjusted to working from home effectively?

“I have a 7 month old son, so it involves juggling his care with my husband, who is also working.  We are constantly adjusting, so we can each keep things moving with each of our jobs. I have become very efficient during my son’s nap times.  My employee, Vicky, hasn’t missed a beat switching from working in our studio to working from home. She has expanded her home office setup to be more functional for full time working.”  

Any tips on how you stay productive and motivated throughout the day?

“It definitely helps keep me motivated to maximize the “free” time while he naps.  I try my best to switch my focus between work and my son, so that I’m fully invested in one or the other at any time.”

How do you manage your client relationships now?

“We have transitioned to virtual meetings.  I can screen share to show the 3D model, materials and products.  We just finished up a virtual interior design review and plan on dropping off a package on their porch full of material samples for their review.  There are ,of course, a few TileBar samples for this bathroom. There will always be a need to see everything in person prior to ordering.”

How does project scoping work during these times? Are you able to communicate openly about visual aspects?

“Technology is key to all of this.  FaceTime and photos can accomplish a lot during the initial exploratory phase of a project.”

Any benefits of working from home?

“Extra time with my 7 month old son and husband.  During such a time of uncertainty, the silver lining truly is more dedicated time with my family.”

Anelle Gandelman| A-list Interiors 

How have you adjusted to working from home effectively?

“I’ve been surprisingly busy these last few weeks between managing our current projects and also playing teacher, lunch lady and tech support to my kids while they attend school virtually. The key is to have a schedule and create structure during the day. I am also grateful that I have a dedicated home office so that I can close the door for zoom calls and have a sense of separation between work and my home life.”

Any tips on how you stay productive and motivated throughout the day?

“I’m a huge fan of podcasts and webinars. I love learning from others and hearing what everyone else is doing to work through the current crisis so I’ve been listening to these instead of watching too much of the news. I limit my news intake to a few minutes each day so that I don’t get caught up in unproductive negativity. “ 

How do you manage your client relationships now?

“We’ve been touching base with our clients on a regular basis and keeping them informed about delivery delays, extended lead times and anything else that may affect their project. Eventually the restrictions will be lifted and we want to make sure we do everything we can to get construction projects back on track and furnishings delivered as quickly as possible.” 

How does project scoping work during these times? Are you able to communicate openly about visual aspects?

“We are a full service interior design firm so we typically take care of everything for our clients from concept to execution. However, in the current situation project scoping requires a bit more involvement on the part of the client. Clients are providing floor plans when available or video walkthroughs and photographs. We are also relying on clients to take measurements. This is not ideal but since clients are stuck at home I think it’s a welcome distraction for some of them. For one of our projects though, we’ve been using a 3D platform called Matterport – it makes working remotely much easier because it allows us to do a virtual walkthrough of the entire space and even get accurate measurements.”

Any benefits of working from home?

“Working from home has actually given me more time to be creative with interior design. Since I’m no longer traveling to site visits and meetings, I’ve had extra time to spend fine tuning design schemes and concepts for projects that are in the development phase.”

In the Interior Design world? Join our VIP Trade Program and you can enjoy a ton of perks like special discounts and volume pricing, to name a few.