6 Interior Designers Talk About Adapting to COVID, Hosted by Marble Unlimited Inc.

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It is no longer a novelty that adapting ourselves to the new home office working mode has been more challenging than we expected. Suddenly, learning how to peacefully share our space with others, differentiating our office hours from our personal lives or even communicating with our team became (for many of us) a daily ritual that hasn’t been that easy to get used to. 

Marble Unlimited Inc. the largest provider of natural stones for architecture and interior design projects in the West Coast, reunites six top interior international designers from around the world to talk about their life during quarantine and share with us their favorite hacks for keeping themselves productive, creative and sane, as well as some ideas for adapting your office space to the stay-at-home order. 

Here are some the insights and recommendations that the designers shared during the series: 

Laura Hur / Lorla Studio 

New York / San Francisco

@lorlastudio https://www.instagram.com/lorlastudio/

“Having a team of talented people that you can trust, recommend and establish relationships with, is crucial for working at home.”

“Get out! At least once a day, I try to get out of my home office either for a walk or for a run. I’ve found out that besides being isolated, when you spend so much time on your laptop, ipad or smartphone, you might feel like nothing else exists, besides what happens on the screen. Going out helps me stay grounded and helps me find other tangible creative outlets and sensorial experiences. As designers we are very connected to our senses so we need to find other ways to achieve that like gardening, cooking or even cleaning. In my case, I took out my canvas and started painting just for fun and enjoying the process.”

“I am endlessly inspired by nature, so the more I am outside, the better I feel. I’m inspired by the colors, the vegetation and the lighting. Mother nature is the ultimate designer. I also get some inspiration just by walking around San Francisco and looking at the beautiful architecture.”

“Prioritize the time to exercise your creativity. Make your body busy so your mind keeps going in the background. Everytime I come back from a run, I come back with a lot of new ideas that I need to write down before I forget them. Creativity is like a muscle that needs to be exercised just like any other muscle of your body.”

“For maintaining a balance between your work and personal life, define a time to work and a time to certainly not work. I’ve realized that the more I try to stick to it, the happier I feel and the more successful I am with both.”

“Create a functional work space at home. You need to set up somewhere that meets your basic needs, whether it is a big space surface or a small area with a laptop. If your place has not enough space maybe it is time to start switching things a little bit around. Even though this is a provisional space, it is hard to adapt to a place that feels temporary, so try to make it feel homelike even though you are not going to be there for that long. The more inspiring your workplace is, the better your work will be. Surround yourself with things that inspire you.”

“Focus on what you need to be successful in a home office. Doesn’t matter if you prefer to stay in pajamas or dress up, or wear makeup or not. Distinguish the actions that make you feel productive and add them to your routine.”

Nathalie Deboel / Interior Design by Nathalie Deboel

Belgium

@nathaliedeboel https://www.instagram.com/nathaliedeboel/

“Working from home as an interior designer is something we are not used to do as most of the time we are running from project to project and working on sites. So for me, after watching the news and feeling very anxious, I decided to restart my life at home with plenty of time, focusing on creativity, positivity and working on new projects.”

“You have to ask yourself How can you start something new? What can you do in this period that you have never done before? What project has always been on your wish list? Once you have the answers, write down a list of goals!”

“I have two projects that emerged during this period. The first one is Nomad, a furniture collection. The name came after I realized that I feel myself as a nomad as I am always moving from one place to another. The second one is Comforting homes, a book about feeling healthy at home. For a long time, I’ve been working on the idea of publishing a book to thank our clients and to show them how we work, through a title about healthy homes and natural materials.”

Alana Marie / Kara Mann Design Studio

Los Angeles

@thealanamarie https://www.instagram.com/thealanamarie/

“As a senior designer, most part of my job is about materials and telling a story with them, so not being able to physically work with all of them nowadays is very hard. This is why I was forced to do some spring cleaning and define new spaces at home to store them. I reorganized my materials’ closet, I placed some boxes with colour patterns and fabrics under my bed and a waterproof outdoor cabinet in my backyards where I keep outdoor materials such as metals and glass. Now I have space for all of these things that I didn’t know I had before.”

“Place a pin up board in your space that reminds you of all the tasks you need to focus on. This helps you be creative and avoid distractions. Get a comfortable office chair and sit next to a window that makes you feel a little bit less locked. When meetings and phone calls that don’t require visual contact, finding a nice and comfortable place to sit is ideal for a little distraction from your desk life. Mine is a chair in my backyard!”

“Having video calls and virtual communication that facilitates the interaction with your work team as well as with your family and friends is extremely important. You laugh and smile and those are the things we are missing the most.”

“Something I learnt about being at home with no distractions from the office is that I can be highly focused on what I am doing. I would definitely like to bring part of this back to the office when the lockdown is officially over, such as defining times of the day to work completely on your own and not be distracted by others and setting hours to encourage collaborations and questions sessions with my team. I want to encourage them to write down lists of questions instead of easily asking someone and not making an effort in trying to solve it themselves. Once you find new ways to still be creative and collaborative, you will be more focused on what you really want and need!”

“Balancing our personal life with our professional life has been challenging for everyone because now we have both in one place. I live with my boyfriend and my high energy dog so what I’ve been doing is setting timers two or three times per day for doing pauses and having time for myself. You can either walk your dog or go for a run, but the idea is to force yourself to get up! Water hydration is very important. Be respectful with your roomate’s or partner’s spaces and keep your house clean.”

Bre Hance / InHance Interiors 

Los Angeles

@inhance_interiors https://www.instagram.com/inhance_interiors/

“I believe in designing and working in a creative space. So whether you have a view or not, whatever your circumstances are or wherever you live, you need a safe space that allows you to think. For me, working on my terrace helps me feel a little less trapped.”

“The biggest challenge has been the inability to meet in person, so we’ve had to keep creative and fun. Our clients like working with us not only because we design their spaces but also because we deliver experiences. Usually, when we are doing a presentation for them, we define a small area for snacks and drinks. Now, before arranging a Zoom presentation, we send them some treats, as well as a box of samples with tiles and design materials in order to create a similar experience as when we do it in person. 

Also, rendering the client’s home and adding it as a background at Zoom meetings or having virtual toasts during the construction kick out meetings are some nice ideas to make them feel as if we were physically with them.”

“Designers and architects are still needed so the business must go on. Everything is evolving but something I’ve learnt in these weeks is how adaptable humans are. Seeing this as a time to pause a little bit and reset, enabled me to have some creative space on how I want to grow my business, what type of position I want to be in and… who knows? Maybe thinking about having another baby.”

Garrow Kedigian

Montreal / New York

“Even though I am working from home I pretend I am going to the office. I get up at the same time every morning as I normally do on a regular workday and I make my way into my office space.”

“My work environment at home is set up as much as possible as my working space at my office so that I feel that I am actually at work.”

“I follow all the time schedules and timelines. I do all my emails and everything just as I would as if I was at my office.”

“I think it is important to keep in touch with all your clients so every week we make sure we email all of them. As much as I am at home, instead of making site visits, I am always in touch with all the contractors, the painters, the wallpaper people and coordinating phone calls and Zoom meetings just to make sure everybody is still on board.”

“Paperwork is key! I think it is always important to make sure you keep on top with all your paperwork and sometimes when you are working from home it is easy to lose tracks of some orders of materials.”

Sarah Akbary / Sarah Akbary Interiors 

Los Angeles

@sarah__akbary https://www.instagram.com/sarah__akbary/

“I think this has been a good way for us to come together in a design community to help each other out.”

“I settled my new home office space in my dining room with my laptop, my samples and I brought my computer and printer from the office. Now, I use my living room as my chill space. Here is also where I have my magazines to get some inspiration before I jump into my new office. I realized there was not enough light in my guest room, where I initially wanted to install my office, so I set a little gym instead. Working out is what keeps me sane nowadays.”

“Everyone in my team has been communicating with me better than I thought it would be. I like them to take their time but also be efficient. I am very fortunate during this pandemic to have a lot of projects and there are a lot of people willing to work. I’m also working efficiently with developers thanks to communication tools such as Zoom, FaceTime and online visits.”

“Site meetings will still happen a lot but we have to be conscious about it and keep distance.”

“I opened all of my design books that I hadn’t seen for more than five years. I switched things up in my condo and that allowed me to get creative and structure my day. It was important to do things for me. I try to get out and run at least once per day. Having a schedule kept me sane.”

Marble Unlimited Inc

Los Angeles

@marbleunlimitedinc https://www.instagram.com/marbleunlimitedinc/

“Everyone’s going digital. From now on, whether it is an architecture or design firm or a supplier company, social media and digital marketing will play a huge role in the industry.”

“At Marble Unlimited Inc we are focusing on connectivity, from our sales team to our social media team, our main goal right now is to connect with new audiences, get discovered and build community. Our new website has been such a big project in the last couple of months, so we are also working hard to optimize it and create a user-friendly and enjoyable experience. We want to facilitate the search and acquisition of materials for architects and designers and just make their lives easier when sourcing materials.”

 

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