So I called up my friend, and one of the top interior designers in Vancouver & our Summer Issue Design Forum feature, Chrissy Cottrell and told her that I wanted to do an interview for our Winter Design Forum that featured someone or something a little different … but still top notch. She paused to think, in her usual manner, and then without hesitation said “Stephen, call Crush Interiors”.
After getting off the phone with Chrissy I decided to take her up on the suggestion and Googled them. The search engine did bring me back a link to a homepage, but to my surprise I was not introduced to a site for an interior designer but rather hit with a whole new adventure. I entered a portal, of sorts, that took me on a journey into this virtual world where I was able to, with MUCH assistance from the powers that be, tap into a whole new gambit of possibilities.
After a quick bit of due-diligence I pressed the green button on my Samsung and this piece of electronics sprang into life with Carol Smyth’s energetic voice. I informed her that my 155,000 (or so) readers would like to know what her and her business partner Michelle Mollinga have been up to and could I possibly ‘borrow’ some of their time. The next day, over coffee, I got my opportunity to drill them as to this revolutionary new design forum.
In my usual manner I began the interrogation with how did you get this neo-epoche idea … of online interior design and what exactly is it? Carol spoke up and told me that ‘for so long interior design has been one of those things that most people shied away from thinking that it was far too expensive for them to be involved with’, and they wanted to change that. Michelle added that their new clientele are a bit more ‘tech savvy’ (I soon learned that she fills that role in their business whereas Carol is the more persona-outgoing of the two … they are like a dynamic duo that feeds off of each other) such that the visitors to their site are able to upload current photos of their personal space, with dimensions, and a floor plan, and then fill out a very cool personality outlook (I call it a questionnaire). They then, and this I found very cool, provide TWO ‘concept boards’ that provides the client each of their design ideas. A concept board is just that … a large visual board with an array of items that each of them feel would go great in the space provided based on the information provided them in the questionnaire. This way the client essentially receives a choice of ideas from two top Metro Vancouver interior designers.
Yeah, there is some power in that my friend.
On top of that, once you have chosen which direction you wish to go, there is the ability to make changes prior to moving on to the next stage. Perhaps I love the design for my front room BUT would rather have the red couch with a taller back … etcetera. And this is all done within your portal that you create on their site. How cool is that?
Then it is on the next stage (oh you’re going to like this). You are provided with a new floor plan and a three dimensional rendering of what your space will look like once completed – and a ‘buyers list’ of exactly where to buy everything online & in accordance with your budget! These two ladies even ensure that the sites providing you with the materials have a return policy if the furniture/decoratives do not show up as you expect them.
It became very evident as our conversation evolved that these two professionals were on to something. This something being a place on the internet where virtually everyone (because access to top-shelf designers would no longer break the bank account) could get great design ideas to make their space look great and reflect their own personalities.
At this point I decided to do a little probing into their prowess, as I have had the benefit and luxury of sitting down with many great interior designers, and ask some design ideas. What do you think of black and white? I ask. ‘Stark black and white are bold and uplifting, particularly if there is a geometric pattern involved. It could be floors or furniture, but it should be loud and proud … and possibly with some bright items to contrast such as teal blue throw down pillows.’ Carol and Michelle say almost simultaneously. ‘And if the space is calming and quiet as a result of much white and white/grey tones, then ensure you have a focal piece that pops like a stark black & white photo/painting or intricate mirror’, again almost in unison. Check out the many blogs on their website to see what I’m talking about. These two don’t just talk the talk. They walk it too. I threw a barrage of further questions at them but let’s just suffice to say, particularly after visiting their site, that this dynamic duo is the real deal.
We bid our farewells and I headed to my car all the while thinking about how I was going to properly project this experience, as well as my online experience, into words such that it was understood that finally … virtually anyone can get access to great interior design.
I have a hunch this is not the last we will be hearing of these two.
(From the Editor – Did you click on the photos to see them larger?)