The proliferation of the Internet, social media, apps, and online collaboration has prompted a handful of interior designers to offer their expertise online at discounted rates, the caveat being that you do the measuring and the shopping. But that means you can set the budget and timeline, and have a little fun!
So far I haven’t come across a service that is as much of a bargain as Designer at Home. And if you haven’t yet used an interior designer—or are on a budget—this might be for you.
Designer at Home (DAH) is the brainchild of LA-based British designer James Charles. He began his career at Roche Bobois, is a two-time winner of HGTV’s Designers’ Challenge, and past clients include Sean Connery, and members of Duran Duran and A-Ha (a detail I loved- I ♥ the 80s). The idea surfaced when Charles repeatedly received comments from people who wanted to hire him but couldn’t afford to.
“I wanted to provide good quality advice for little money, and give people a chance to be involved in the process,” he says. The process is fairly simple, broken into 3 parts: “your part, [their] part, and the fun part.
” Your part: The first step involves you thoroughly measuring and drawing the room you want help with, including the furniture and fixtures currently in it, and then you fill out a questionnaire. You’ll also provide a few photos so they get a proper understanding of the room.
DAH does offer written and video instructions for the more complicated tasks—such as drawing a scale image of your room with all the appropriate measurements included—necessary to receive a personalized room plan.
Their part: Working off all the information provided, a designer will formulate a solution for your room, keeping you apprised as they go.
The fun part: Redecorate and shop! Within three weeks of receiving your information, DAH provides (via FedEx):
1. an annotated floor plan describing where furniture and accents should be placed,
2. a color board complete with images of all the pieces and swatches of suggested fabrics, and
3. the instruction document which outlines exactly what goes where, how much the pieces cost, and where you can purchase them.
Furniture and accents chosen for your room are sourced from online retailers, as well as local and national stores. DAH will look up stores in your town to make the purchase stage as easy as possible. Another feature of DAH is that they provide access to over 12,000 to-the-trade fabrics including those from JAB Stroheim and Kravet, and is a source for rugs as well.
But how much does it cost? Only $299 per room. That’s hundreds cheaper than what some of the other companies are offering. DAH’s menu of services also includes two cheaper, less involved options.
Additionally, Charles has future plans to add a paint consultation option, and a white-glove service where he will offer help with art placement, lighting, and suggest higher-end décor items and furniture. Input from guest experts is also in the works.