Moving: Interior Design On a Tight Timeline
I recently had a client reach out to me who was moving from a large apartment that she lived in for over 35 years. She had already sold the apartment and rented a new one, a few blocks away on the Upper East Side, and was moving into the new apartment in a little over two months. She wanted a complete interior design job, totally custom and she wanted everything to be perfectly move in ready upon her arrival. At first I was a little bit nervous about taking on such a challenge. I had done similar jobs to this and of course I do staging jobs all the time where I finish off an apartment in a week. But when you’re working with a client with opinions, ideas and preferences things tend to take a little bit more time. I decided to take on the project and in the end I was really glad I did. I found that there’s a formula to getting jobs like this done quickly and I have listed the most important elements below:
1) Having a Decisive Client: My clients (husband and wife) were probably some of the most decisive clients I have ever worked with. I went to the D&D building and brought them a bunch of fabric options and within one meeting they were able to select exactly what they wanted. They trusted my taste and I trusted their preferences.
2) Re-Purposing Existing Furniture: Instead of buying all new furniture, the clients and I agreed that we would use much of their existing furniture and either re-finish or re-upholster it. New furniture can take up to 15 weeks in lead time. For someone looking to move quickly, this simply won’t do.
3) Hiring Dependable Vendors: I have a list of all of my favorite vendors and I keep it with me at all times and I have these professionals on speed dial. It’s important to bring the vendors into the loop extremely early in the project so we’re all on the same page. When asking a vendor for something to get done, ask for a deadline upfront so you don’t have to bother and rush them later when you really need that item. Be prepared for your vendors – make sure they have all the paint and fabric they need at their disposal so they can do their jobs. In this case I overnight or rush shipped everything to the vendors.
4) Be Transparent with Your Clients: Delays do happen, vendors do make mistakes and things happen! It’s important to be completely transparent with your clients throughout the entire process when you are rushing towards a deadline. For example, on this job my client’s buffet was slightly delayed due to a part missing from a sub-contractor. I alerted her right away of the delay so she was able to prepare to pack her belongings that were going to go in the buffet elsewhere. I handled the delay with the contractor and came up with a solution that got the part into stock as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
The result of my client’s final design product was stunning. Filled with light and patterns, we used plenty of fresh new fabrics, re-purposed old furniture and accented with colorful paint and grass cloth. Her friends and family think her existing furniture looks even better in the new apartment with all the refreshed upholstery and additional accents. In the end, my clients were extremely happy which is what gives me the greatest joy possible as an interior designer. Happy decorating!