Changing your Decor… During Confinement

My client Johanne, came up with the idea to do with his son, a remote project, in times of Confinement. I wanted to share with you how, through a situation beyond our control, we were able to experiment with a new way of working and make Design even more accessible. And so it went…

The purpose of this article is not to tell you what you should do at home, but what you can do at home. If it inspires you to make changes, I will be more than happy!

Project Team :

  • 1 Client (Working from home due to Pandemic) and his two kids.
  • 1 Manager, Friend, Mother and Project Facilitator  
  • 1 Designer (myself virtually)

List of Needs: (shared by the project manager)

1st phase / End of June 2020 (If Covid-19 allows…)

  • Choice of paint colors for kitchen, dining room, living room and hallway                         
  • Proposal for lighting (dining room /living room and wall)

2nd phase /To be determined

  • Proposal to soundproof the living room (cathedral ceiling)
  • Proposal for the layout of the living room furniture +floor lamps
  • Living room Furniture Replacement (Child Resistant)
  • Coffee table

Likes modern, colors in shades of gray while being bright.

To complete the list of needs, I also received photos, a video and a sketch to better understand the different spaces. Although not essential, video is a great way to capture things that photos might have missed.

A sketch that presents the space (by project manager)

Current situation…

The living room is a crossroads between the front entrance, the passage to the bedrooms, the access to the kitchen and the dining room. Although it is the heart of the house, the living room does not seem to have a space dedicated to it. It seems to me, to be a space of transit and passage to the other rooms of the house. The space is quite dark. Natural light only comes from the garden door and there is no overhead lighting.

What really lit a light… was this photo of the dining room filled with light, but looking empty with the only dining room table. Such a gorgeous piece and one use only. An idea as simple as it quickly imposed itself, INVERTING the dining room and the living room.

The proposal – Reverse the living room and the dining room

So that’s what I validated on the sketch, without putting too much time (and Designer budget) into the production of drawings. In some cases, the drawings allow spaces to be validated more accurately, but in this specific case, as the space was large, it was not required. I chose instead to use arguments and an annotated sketch, to explain my proposal, which I must say, did not meet the expressed needs at all!

Well… it wasn’t difficult to convince either the project manager or the client, who agreed to the change before I could finish explaining it!

The long list of Pros…

  • The brightest room is the old dining room. It offers a magnificent direct view of the backyard and the swimming pool. It seems to me to have been planned to be a family room.
  • It allows you to position the television so that it is visible from the living room, the kitchen and a future table (lunch area)
  • By relocating the television in this room, which has a lower ceiling, it is further away from the bedrooms and it solves the problem of soundproofing the old living room.
  • This change requires adding blinds to the windows and replacing the pendant light fixture (two interventions that were already in future plans)
  • It costs nothing to try it!

The first Results…

Here are the photos sent by the client who was a very good player. An idea that might seem a bit bold, but which quickly turned out to be ideal!

At first glance, the dining room will require a little more intervention. Adding a credenza and a piece of art on the large wall, as well as replacing the sconces, are some of the recommendations I have proposed.

Interesting observations:

  • The dining room table seemed to float in the original space, but it finds its place very well near the large wall in its new location. Physically, as it is higher than the sofas, it better occupies the vertical space in this room.
  • The sofas seem very low in the original space, but is perfect in the new living room.

Before

After

After a few email exchanged, a video-messenger meeting, here are the two proposed inspiration boards that will accompany the customer in planning his future purchases.

This project is exemplary on so many levels…

  • Great process with ease, efficiency, laughter, trust and mutual respect
  • Controled costs by avoiding the costs of (illegal for now) travel and gatherings…
  • Immediate positive effect on the life of the client and his children!
  • And that’s…exactly why, I do Design!

I hope you have liked this small window on the work of a Designer… and that these ideas will help you see differently!

Have Fun Making Changes !