Monday, December 19, 2011

Online Interior Design

Do you want new furniture for certain rooms of your new home?  If so,  you might  want to avoid the trouble and expense of  moving the furniture that you will be replacing and disposing of it later. And by working with an interior designer skilled in online design you can significantly reduce the time you'd normally need to wait for your new things.

For example, the pictures above show one option for furnishing the living room of the apartment in my previous post.  It's in a moderately contemporary style with an Art Deco influence.  Each number corresponds to one on the floor plan, and would also correspond to a line item on a spread sheet that would include the dimensions, finish, cost, and fabric. If my client liked the overall look of this furniture but wanted alternatives for some pieces, I would change only those things and email a revised document to him or her. (Of course, this process could be repeated as many times as necessary.)  The client would also be sent actual samples of fabric and finishes in order to finalize those choices  When all or most of the furniture for the room was selected, I would prepare and email purchase orders to my client.

I've used this method of online interior design for clients whose preferences vary widely. For example, below is a second option for furnishing the same living room  for a client who favored a more minimalist modern style.

Online design works very well for busy professionals, especially when they are relocating and want their homes or offices furnished when they arrive.  It proved especially useful for the incoming president of a major university in New York who needed his new 17,000 square foot residence ready for formal entertaining as soon as his family moved here.  Only the bedroom furniture from the family's original residence was to be used in their new home. The president's wife participated in two short, highly organized shopping trips to finalize decisions on items for which a picture is not worth a thousand words, and the house was completely furnished before the deadline at the start of the autumn semester. The photo below shows one of a pair of intimate seating areas on either end of the living room.    


Monday, December 12, 2011

Making a List and Checking it Twice

A keyed floor plan like the one above can be very useful when you are moving, especially if you are relocating. You (and your designer, if you are working with one) can use it to decide where each item will be placed and to make sure that it will fit. The movers will know exactly where to place things, which can save you quite a bit of time, aggravation and money. Below are step-by-step instructions on  how to create and use one of these useful tools. But if you are work with an interior designer you'll be able to skip steps 2-5.
  1. As you decide what furniture you are likely to take, photograph and measure each piece and assign it a unique number that you write on the photograph. Create a list with the number, description, measurements, room it will go in and comments. If you are purchasing any furniture for your new home, include those items on the list. I usually use an Excel spreadsheet for this type of list.

  2. Measure your new home and draw a floor plan to scale, or have someone do this for you. I used a software package created for architects for the floor plan above, but there are simpler and inexpensive programs that almost anyone with basic computer literacy can use. Even if you do not plan to purchase new furniture, you might want to consider having a professional designer perform this service if you are relocating and cannot take accurate measurements yourself.
  3. Draw a simple representation of each piece on your list to scale. Only the size and shape matter --- it will be obvious that the rectangle labeled "1" is the living room  sofa.  Move this "furniture" around on your floor plan until you're satisfied with the arrangement.

  4. Give your moving company a copy of the floor plan and your furniture list in  advance of the move. If you give one or both of these documents to the moving company far enough in advance, it could also be helpful in getting an accurate and reasonable estimate of the cost of the move.

  5. Have copies of these documents to give to the people who actually pick up your furniture and additional copies at your new home.

  6. Label each piece of furniture, area rug, etc. a tie-on tag or piece of painter's tape that has its unique number and the room you want it in.

  7. Careful organization and labeling of  cartons can make your life much easier when you move. Instead of two boxes of "glassware and china" think of using categories like "everyday china and glassware - place in kitchen" another that says "best china - holiday entertaining."  Not all pots, pans and small appliances are created equal, so the cartons containing these items should also be labeled by priority.  For instance, most of us could do without a Cuisinart or a fish poacher the first day we arrive, but not a coffee pot and a couple of mugs.     

Pampering Yourself Pays - Staging a Home for Sale

Often people who are contemplating a move don't buy anything new for their current homes.  But indulging yourself with little things that make you feel pampered can create a feeling of comfort and ease that will appeal to potential buyers. The bathroom should have pretty, fluffy towels and a new bath mat.  The kitchen can be dressed up with attractive dishcloths and a pretty teapot.
Think about the things you're planning to do for your new house, and decide what's practical to purchase now.  You may want to buy new linens for the bedrooms.  If the sofa is a standard size and you're fairly certain that you'll keep it but it needs a new slipcover, consider purchasing one right away.   

You can begin to make plans for your new home while you are living in your old one.  Having some idea of the fabrics that you will be using will make it much easier to decide upon paint colors when the time comes.  If you see something that you would love to have in your next house or apartment, be sure that the scale would allow it to fit into a fairly small space.
Most of the time, effort and money that you put into your home while it is on the market should be spent on things that will give you pleasure both now and in the future.
By doing things that increase your own enjoyment of your house or apartment, you will automatically be making it more appealing to a potential buyer.  Homes are like people.  When they are loved, it shows

First Steps - Edit, Edit, Edit

Congratulations!!! You're moving to New York City --- one of the most vibrant, exciting places on the planet.  It seems that almost everyone wants to live here. But because New York City is so popular, space is at a premium.

If you're relocating to New York City from almost anywhere else and want to live in Manhattan or one of the other boroughs, odds are that you'll have less space than you're used to.  It's likely that your new home will have fewer and smaller rooms, less closet space, and a smaller kitchen than your current one.  So it's very important to look over all of your possessions and edit, edit, edit.

There are several reasons to start editing as soon as you decide that you are moving.
  • Starting early can reduce stress. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to determine what you want to keep most, and to find good homes for things with sentimental value that you won't have room for. 
  • Knowing what you really want to keep in advance can help you evaluate potential new homes, and even new neighborhoods. Even if you pare down your possessions significantly but want to keep a cherished possession that's quite wide or tall, it's important that your new home have an appropriate spot for it. Often real estate professionals say that the three most important things in evaluating property are "location, location, location."  So although your ideal location might be the upper east side, if you decide to keep a concert grand piano and all of the furniture that your grandmother left you the suburbs might be a better choice. 
  •  Paring down the possessions in your current home will make it more attractive to potential buyers. You can increase your chances to sell your home  faster and for more money. Often people buy a new home because they need more space, emotionally and physically.  Rooms and closets will appear more spacious if clutter is eliminated. Pretend that you are moving tomorrow, and decide what you are taking with you.  Anything that you will not be keeping should be sold, donated, or thrown out right away.
  • Editing your possessions in advance will save you money. You'll spend less on moving expenses.  Arranging to sell some of your better pieces through an antique or consignment shop and holding a yard sale for the rest can make you a tidy profit.