When COVID lockdowns earlier this year rendered working from home an essential means of staying in business, designers across the country had to figure out how to make it work. We asked six of them—Melissa Bodie, Kati Curtis, Holly Holden, Taj Hunter Waite, Danielle Rollins and Vicky Serany—to share the most successful change they made while working remotely.
“In March, we created and launched our first e-design service, which allows clients continued access to our firm’s high-end, custom interior design treatment from anywhere in the world. We packaged it in a way that is clean, cohesive and clear, and our turnaround is quick, because we know clients want fast results. We also decided to use this initiative to give back, and have been donating a portion of our fees to Feeding America and the NAACP.” —Melissa Bodie, Melissa + Miller Interiors, New York and Philadelphia
“Prior to quarantine, virtual design was on my service menu, but that was all the energy I gave it. As my clients and I quickly adapted to Zoom calls as the primary means of communication to keep things moving, my comfort level started to grow. The most useful (and successful) thing I did was not only to add virtual design consultations as a shoppable item on my website, [but to] add a booking function as well, so clients could reserve blocks of time with me. This has made it super easy for a client to review the various virtual service offerings, select what fits best, and simply check out. I’ve been enjoying it tremendously.” —Taj Hunter Waite, All Things Taj, Miami
“Our team has always been well equipped for working remotely, as we use virtual workspaces like Asana and Microsoft Teams to communicate. We have videoconferences and work collaboratively online, staggering our time in the office to make sure we are staying safe.” —Kati Curtis, Kati Curtis Design, New York
“I had started offering virtual consultation packages on my e-shop before COVID hit, and then during the lockdown, I started doing a twice-weekly show on Instagram’s IGTV with my best friend and fellow designer, Billy Ceglia. We chatted about design in a casual format, and shared our favorite retail sources with followers. That kick-started my e-design business, and I now have about a dozen virtual clients. I can advise clients on things that they can do themselves or hire people locally to do—like [picking out] paint color and wallpaper. I have always been a proponent of getting people involved in the process of redoing their own homes, rather than the reality-show format where they go away and show up to a fully redone surprise. I think when people participate in the process and see the changes taking place, they are more connected to and invested in their environments.” —Danielle Rollins, Danielle Rollins Interiors, Atlanta
“The slowdown brought on by COVID has given us time to rethink our best practices. The innovation has resulted in many new ideas—including the upcoming launch of our new online magazine, Style + Source, which offers our perspective on living life to the fullest. There are lots of people doing amazing work right now, and we want to celebrate all of the good!” —Vicky Serany, Southern Studio Interior Design, Cary, North Carolina
“This transition has been a brilliant time for me to engage with others through social media channels. It has been a delight to embrace the additional time to focus on my weekly newsletter, which offers decorating and entertaining advice, and has been a lovely way to connect with others all over the world. Offering ideas on how to enjoy and enhance your surroundings, especially now, has been most rewarding. What a joy to contribute some semblance of happiness and beauty during such challenging times.” —Holly Holden, Holly Holden & Co, Farmington, Connecticut
Homepage photo: A project by Kati Curtis | Photo by Eric Piasecki