It’s the hot new thing — interior design where the designer never steps foot in your home. The design process is done entirely through email, over the Internet.
Studio 5 contributor Courtney Orton meets e-interior designer Caitlin Wilson and learns how it works.
Lots of designers are turning to e-design as a way to get new clients – clients who want to get that designer look but just can’t justify the cost of hiring an interior designer. With e-design you still get the designer, just over the Internet, and for a fraction of the cost.
Megan Bewsey needed some help when it came time to furnish her new home. “We only had a couch and an ottoman,” she said, “it’s really overwhelming to come from such a small apartment to think about having to furnish a home.”
She needed someone to take her through the process of decorating her space. Megan wanted to hire an interior designer, but wasn’t sure she could make it fit within her budget. Then, she found e-interior designer Caitlin Wilson – a designer who does most of her work via the Internet.
“E-design is basically a new, innovative way to use a decorator or designer without the cost of all the design time, explains Wilson.
Caitlin literally designs from half way across the world. In the last year and half her husband’s job has taken her and her family to Dubai and now Hong Kong. She blogs about her design work and is the mother of a 20-month old little girl, Olivia – who is partly the reason she started doing e-design.
“I wanted to still be able to do design and keep up on the trends, and really be current,” says Wilson, “but I didn’t want to have to leave my baby.”
Now, Wilson says as soon as her baby goes to bed she’s working – emailing, making phone calls, and talking back and forth with clients. She works on several design projects at a time. Some clients opt for a Storyboard – a one room design for a flat fee.
“I provide them with a plan and an explanation of how to put the room together themselves,” Wilson explains.
Other clients, like Bewsey want a little more than that. On this project, Megan did a mix of a storyboard and hourly design. “It’s perfect for the type of client that has a design dilemma. They’ve put together the room themselves. They feel like they like it, but there’s something missing. They just need a second set of eyes.”
Caitlin keeps her computer handy and has different folders for different categories – beds, side tables, lamps, wall paper, paint. Those items come from websites the client can then get online and purchase themselves.
In Megan’s living room, Caitlin used the existing fireplace as a jumping off point and used grays for the main color palette. Caitlin picked out the color for the walls and Megan painted them. Caitlin chose the fabrics, and Megan took it from there — having the ottoman reupholstered and the pillows made.
“We added pieces that would give it a fresh, modern twist. We did some bold prints and some geometrics adding fun accessories, and details,” says Wilson.
The end result was a room Megan loves, and for a price she could afford. For Caitlin it is fun and fulfilling to actually see a space she’s designed via e-design.
Caitlin Wilson’s Design Tips
Design Tip #1: Save Where You Can, Splurge on Fabrics
“Fabrics are the way to make your room your own, if you can find something unique and different. I love to blend bright, bold patterns with geometrics and neutrals.”
Design Tip #2: Use Staple Items That Are Going to Last
“It’s best to invest in good furniture that’s going to last you. You can reupholster it over the years.”
Design Tip #3: Accessorize with Color
“You can take your fabric with you that you’ve worked around your color palette and shop with that piece of fabric. Take your little pillow with you and find colors that you love. Whether it’s a five color pattern or a three color pattern, shop for your accessories with that so you’re pulling those colors.”