The merits of engaging an Interior Designer early on.
“My name’s Jojo Macnamara and I’m an interior designer.
Even though I’ve been providing VIP clients with an interior design service for over a decade, I never fail to get a buzz out of seeing the joy on a client’s face when they first see their home totally transformed into an amazing, luxurious space they’d previously only imagined. The secret? A good brief, sound planning capabilities, great communication skills, an aptitude for plate spinning (metaphorically speaking!) and the right team on board.
The right team …
That last bit is absolutely crucial to the success of any renovation, new build or refurbishment, whatever the size and scope of project. We’re currently working on a newly built 6-bedroom villa, or as the client lovingly refers to it, “The Beach Shack” in France. It will be stunning, kitted out with the latest security and AV equipment, sumptuous furniture, beautiful decorative pieces and lighting that sets it all off to perfection, inside and out. More than just interior designers though, we’re often project managers, sometimes spending only 20% of our time being creative and the remaining 80% managing relations. Relations with clients, suppliers, contractors and manufacturers worldwide. Our role is to be resourceful and resilient, to keep going until we find perfection.
Just like we do for the superyacht industry, we pull in relevant contacts and apply new state-of-the-art technology for luxury homes. For this project we were engaged early on which was great, pulling together a trusted team of lighting designer, garden designer, security/controls adviser and AV specialist to provide the client with a complete 360-degree turnkey solution.
Light-touch turnkey renovation …
The same client previously engaged us to carry out a light-touch turnkey renovation of their property in London. Having purchased a 7-bedroom property, we had 6 weeks to furnish and decorate the entire house. Including sourcing, erecting and decorating a Christmas tree, sourcing and wrapping Christmas presents, even putting up the wreath on the front door. We took care of the AV, security, alarms, decorating, furnishings, curtains, blinds, decorative finishes, sourcing crockery, cutlery, pots, pans, mops, even down to the garlic press, so the family could move in ready for Christmas. They’ve now come back for a full turnkey solution for their Mediterranean escape.
In this market, we rely on more than just our little black book, clients expect us to hand-pick the right people to work together, working well as a team to deliver exactly what they want, all managed and overseen by one person, so they have the convenience of dealing with a single point of contact.
The whole picture from the start …
We were engaged early on in the design and build phase of this latest project, which is great because the team can consider the whole picture from the start, there’s nothing having to be decided, changed, dismantled or fitted retrospectively. We can incorporate things like furniture planning, decorative finishes as well as lighting design for feature walls, where specific sculptures or artwork might be placed, pendant lighting over the dining table, recessed floor washers in bathrooms, and uplighters for pillars and while we sort lighting for outside seating areas, pergolas and sculptures, the garden designer can develop the planting scheme.
It makes more sense for the client too, when the teams brought together at the start, especially if they want everything integrated, for example: fitting security shutters, a lighting system to come on when the family are overseas and the house is empty or temperature controlled rooms for wine collections, artwork or rooms housing extensive AV and security systems.
To avoid being overwhelmed by the scope of any project we look at the whole space and break it down into manageable steps. There’s always a natural order, a natural sequence of events. When you know what’s involved, it’s easy to dovetail with architects, electricians, builders, plumbers, decorators, garden designers so they all appreciate and understand the vibe of the house.
Our relationship with the client is key from the outset, from our initial fact-finding brief. Listening to the language they use to describe their lifestyle, is their focus on relaxing and comfort or entertaining and dining? How do they like to socialize and wind down? Who’s in the family? Who will be using the house? How? Will use be sporadic through the summer months or right through the year?
Overcoming challenges …
The challenge of working in this VIP, luxury market is managing busy clients who are super successful themselves. For us to provide high quality service with integrity, it’s important we know when to advise and guide if we think the overall look might be compromised.
But that goes back to us getting the brief right from the outset, after all it’s not about what I want or like, it’s about pulling together a fabulous design that the client and their friends and family will love.
As long as the plan is agreed from the outset, it’s down to us to add the magic and make it happen.
Ultimately our role as Interior Designers is to remove the stress, so even when it’s all hands to the deck behind the scenes, in reality everything glides seamlessly into place. “
Time of Writing - Early March 2020