trade tales | Mar 22, 2024 |
How do you manage out-of-state projects?

Managing a project out of state can add another layer of stress to an already hectic process. This week, we asked 11 designers—Lauren Ashley Allan, Dorian Booth, Moe Draz, Brit Epperson, Anthony Gagliardi, Kim Gordon, Anne Lewis Brewer, Leigh Misso, Susana Simonpietri, Victoria Tomlinson Cole and Tancred Vilucchi—to share their tips and tricks for facilitating far-flung projects.

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Anne Lewis BrewerCourtesy of Lewis Birks LLC

Keys to Success
“I love out-of-state projects! While I never tire of New York, learning about a new place and integrating its spirit into a project is really enjoyable. We’ve completed five projects in California over the past few years and have found the keys to success are the same as they are locally, perhaps slightly amplified. Those keys are organization and communication. Nothing gets done in interior design without organization. There are endless details to track and manage along the way, and no sane human being could keep it all in their head. Communication is necessary to make sure things are done correctly the first time. This is especially important when you’re not there in person to check in as frequently as you would with a local project.” —Anne Lewis Brewer, Lewis Birks LLC, New York

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Leigh MissoCourtesy of River Brook

Tech Help
“Managing out-of-state projects efficiently involves utilizing various tools and technologies to ensure smooth communication, coordination and progress tracking. At River Brook, we rely on Studio Designer, a project management software, to streamline project workflows, track tasks and orders, create proposals, and manage resources effectively. Additionally, we leverage Matterport technology, which enables us to conduct virtual walkthroughs of spaces even before they are completed. This innovative tool provides us with detailed dimensions of existing structures and allows us to visualize progress remotely. With companies worldwide adopting similar software solutions, accessing these resources has become relatively affordable. By integrating these technologies into our workflow, we can ensure that out-of-state projects are executed seamlessly, meeting client expectations while maintaining cost-effectiveness.” —Leigh Misso, River Brook, Birmingham, Alabama

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Moe DrazAriel Simmons

Use Your Network
“We love working on out-of-state projects, as they provide us with the opportunity to work in different environments and different styles. Such projects require an additional level of coordination and organization. Finding good-quality workrooms and furniture-receiving warehouses can be challenging. I have learned to ask some of our most trusted fabric showrooms for workroom recommendations and our furniture vendors for receiving-warehouse recommendations. Also, communication is key. Having a general contractor that is organized and respectful of the design process and communicates with us regularly to keep us posted on progress is extremely important. Typically we try to schedule monthly or quarterly site visits during the project to ensure every detail is managed properly up to installation.” —Moe Draz, Architrave Interior Design, Charleston, South Carolina

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Victoria Tomlinson ColeCourtesy of Victoria Tomlinson Cole

Collaboration Is Key
“[We manage long-distance projects through] lots of organization and maintaining a very good relationship with the local contractor. Regular site visits are always helpful, but there is nothing better than an open and collaborative relationship with all contractors and tradespeople as you make a client’s dream home come to life.” —Victoria Tomlinson Cole, New York

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Kim GordonCourtesy of Kim Gordon

Game-Changing Resources“Out-of-state projects used to be complicated and daunting. If Covid taught us anything, it is how to work remotely. 3D rendering, Pinterest and detailed design presentations have been game changers; they allow clients to commit more confidently. Additionally, the liberal use of FaceTime has us walking the job site together—and the marble yard: Ordinarily we ship samples of fabrics and tiles to clients, which we cannot do with something large and organic like natural stones, so we go to a marble yard and do a Vanna White!” —Kim Gordon, Kim Gordon Designs, Los Angeles

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Dorian Booth and Anthony GagliardiCourtesy of Almost Studio

Nurturing Relationships
“We treat all of our projects the same, whether they are local or afar. We have found this to be essential not only in making sure construction goes as planned, but also in fostering a fun and trusting client relationship. We are making something together that didn’t previously exist. For out-of-state and international projects, we travel—a lot. It is very important to us to have that in-person connection and the intimate knowledge of what is going on throughout construction. So much of how the final space looks and is experienced is affected by critical design decisions that happen on-site during construction. If you are there to talk through, sketch and adapt as these questions come up, not only will the project result be better, but your client relationship will be too.” —Dorian Booth and Anthony Gagliardi, Almost Studio, Brooklyn

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Lauren Ashley AllanCourtesy of Lauren Ashley Allan

Get to Know the Neighborhood
“With 20-plus years of experience, we are able to collaborate with clients, contractors and architects both domestic and international. Regardless of location, our process remains intuitive, considered, organized and creative. The great part about this time in history is that we can work with anyone, anywhere. Our team is based in Chicago, and we have a multitude of ways to work with clients: phone call, videoconference, digital presentation, email, accurate document sharing, and package and material sharing. At key times in the process, we will be on-site for proper coordination and installation. It’s important to know the local approval systems. We always make sure to have an initial site visit to get to know the location, local cultures and local artists. These new types of projects allow for collaborations and the opportunity to work with a range of talents that I have always admired. Ultimately, I am here to be a great listener for the client and tell their story through architecture and interior design, wherever that may be.” —Lauren Ashley Allan, Lauren Ashley Interiors, Chicago

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Susana SimonpietriCourtesy of Chango

Streamlined Remote Systems
“We approach out-of-state projects similarly to projects in the New York area, because we’ve become accustomed to doing much of our design work remotely. All of our progress documents, floor plans, and product selection documents are readily and remotely accessible for our clients, and we always schedule two in-person, on-site meetings with them—one at the beginning of our partnership and one further into the project. We keep things fairly streamlined for our team and clients, whether we are working in the city, upstate or across the country in California.” —Susana Simonpietri, Chango, New York

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Brit EppersonCourtesy of Studio Plow

Finding a Partner
“Working out-of-state is complex, yet offers a great opportunity to connect with new talent. The first thing I look for is a keystone individual that aligns with our aesthetic or working style. I often begin by finding a local fabricator/artist/builder that I truly resonate with for a specific piece or skill and then lean into their personal recommendations for other local support. This usually takes me on a wonderful Alice in Wonderland journey of discovery.” —Brit Epperson, Studio Plow, San Francisco

How do you manage out-of-state projects?
Tancred VilucchiValentina Socci

Travel Inspiration
“We found that it is a very enriching process to design projects while traveling throughout the country and beyond. In fact, designing homes influenced by different places or cultures challenges us and allows us to create a very unique atmosphere while combining Maison Vilucchi’s approach with local scenery, textures and colors. We begin the process by traveling on-site and getting all the required dimensions and—importantly—being immersed in order to be inspired and make connections with local trades. Samples and mood boards are sent to clients for them to feel textures and real colors within their environment. We frequently travel for in-person presentations, per clients’ preferences. We follow the same principles for design proposals; while the setting may be different, our creative process remains perfectly in flow. Updates, photos and videos are frequently sent through emails for clear communication. Our Los Angeles and Paris studios enable us to operate in different time zones and are convenient for meeting in between states or countries if needed. The whole idea is to make the process stress-free for clients, remaining very flexible and accommodating their schedules.” —Tancred Vilucchi, Maison Vilucchi, Los Angeles

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