We hope you and your loved ones are well and navigating this uncharted water without too much hardship. These are trying times, to say the least. You are in our hearts as we move through them.
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Turning to Video Design Presentations
Work continues at A. Houck Designs and our client projects are proceeding. Andrea is busy in the studio and team members are working from their homes. Like every other company, we’ve had to adapt our way of doing business to follow the social-distancing guidelines. Much of that adaptation has meant embracing new technologies and digital platforms. And quickly.
One new project, a family room design, served as the proving ground for our move from in-person presentations at clients’ homes to video presentations via Zoom. We are happy to report that the switch to digital design presentations has been fairly seamless. Fortunately, we had been using Powerpoint for years to create digital schemes and design boards (remember our scheme slides for this living room project?), which we would show on my 17-inch-screen laptop during in-home meetings. So the real difference now is that we present the schemes and selections during a Zoom conference.
Family Room Design Request
Our clients, an empty-nest couple in Potomac, Maryland, had requested a new family room design. The hangout space opens to the kitchen, which features cherry cabinets and a striking La Cornue range in a bold blue.
For the family room, we envisioned a New Traditional look, encompassing shades of blue, that would forge a connection with the kitchen.
Family Room Schemes and Selections
We presented three different family room schemes — each one inspired by either a rug or a fabric. A sophisticated wool rug with a high-low pile kick-started our first scheme, which we dubbed Salice Marine.
A Hines fabric featuring a pussy-willow design (seen on the right) was our recommendation here for the window treatments. Building off those first two selections — the rug and the window fabric — we chose supporting fabrics, furnishings and finishes for the space.
A Colefax and Fowler textile with a botanical print launched the second scheme, christened Mulberry Blue.
We created a family room design around that inspiration fabric, allowing it to guide our other selections.
A floral-patterned fabric, designed by Nina Campbell for Osborne & Little, served as the starting point for our third scheme, which we named French Garden. Featuring shades of both blue and red, the textile would be used for drapery panels in the family room design.
The fun striped rug from Annie Selke lays the foundation for the space’s other furniture and fabric selections.
You’ll notice a blue finish chip next to the Somerset Bay entertainment center. For this scheme, we proposed the Blueberry Crisp finish for the cabinet. The blue cabinet would anchor the right side of the family room (the blue La Cornue range anchors the opposite end of the kitchen). It would visually balance and link the two open spaces.
Our Modified Design Process
The actual scheming process remained largely unchanged. Luckily, we had gathered some samples for this project before the stay-at-home mandate. A. Houck Designs has an extensive, in-studio fabric library that we also mined. Once we had identified the selections for the three schemes, we developed these PowerPoint slides to show during the video conference. We then followed up by delivering the various fabric swatches, paint samples and so forth to their home, so our clients could view and touch them firsthand.
We always bring a small gift when we visit clients’ home for presentations. So we included a pot of sunny tulips with our sample delivery.
Here’s a closer look at the Sherwin Williams paint colors we selected — a soft, warm neutral for three walls and a serene, nuanced blue for an accent wall.
Technology is great and we can see a use for Zoom meet-ups beyond the imposed social-distancing guidelines. Yet design is tactile and nothing can take the place of viewing actual samples and swatches. Our clients were drawn to the rich color palette of the French Garden scheme. Once they saw the Nina Campbell floral print from that scheme in their own home, they knew it was the one! And they even went for the Blueberry Crisp entertainment cabinet.
Family Room Floor Plans
In addition to presenting three schemes for the family room design, we also presented two slightly different floor plans. The first layout features a 9′ x 12′ area rug with a rectangular coffee table.
The second option features an 8′ x 10′ area rug with an oval coffee table.
We landed on layout #2 with the oval table. We will soon start to place orders. Yes, a few vendors have temporarily closed but, thankfully, most remain open, albeit with modified work schedules, smaller crews and other necessary distancing precautions. Production times may be a bit longer, so we will have to exercise patience over the next several weeks.
We look forward to seeing many of you face-to-face once the stay-at-home measures have lifted. In the meantime, please be safe and stay well. We hope you had a happy Easter or are having a happy Passover, for those who observe.