Virtual Design Calgary | Even before the pandemic, I wondered if “virtual design” for renovators would be possible. Traditionally, scheduling showroom visits alongside clients to select flooring, cabinetry, countertops, backsplashes, tile, hardware, plumbing, lighting and paint has been challenging – given our clients’ professional and personal commitments, our city’s unpredictable weather conditions and our suppliers’ showroom hours. Now, with the Covid-19 fear and uncertainty of meeting in public spaces, I believe renovators must make virtual design not only possible but a highly desirable alternative.
With all the technology available in 2020 – and the overall willingness of designers and clients to utilize it – the design side of renovation can move more easily from person-to-person contact to the online approach. Granted, some one-on-one meetings are inevitable, because seeing and touching products can be the final step before making a decision. Nevertheless, the initial legwork involved in looking at options and winnowing the field can often be handled online more efficiently and effectively. Here are just a few design areas going virtual…
Project Modeling – Following a site meeting where measurements are taken and the vision discussed, designers can render the space in two- or three-dimensional format to move walls, add windows and create “what-if” scenarios that help clients (as well as the reno team) “view” the finished area before demo day is even scheduled. As materials are actually selected, they can be “plugged” into the model to assess how they “play” with other options. For review and approval, no in-person contact is required. Models can be texted or emailed, as well as “shared” among all parties using Zoom or similar video conferencing tools.
Material Selections – Traditionally, despite meeting at showrooms, clients have made decisions from black-and-white photos in supplier catalogs. That’s because the variety of cabinetry, flooring, plumbing, lighting and other materials has outgrown even the largest showroom. As a result, many clients appreciate designers culling the possibilities online and then sending these via text or email. If necessary, finish samples can sometimes be sent directly to the clients’ homes. And often, the final decision can be made without stepping foot in a showroom.
More Material Selections – Designers can also bring the showroom home. As a space’s look, feel and palette are determined, designers can visit showrooms, Facetime clients and virtually “walk” the aisles in search of perfect items. If a number of contenders remain in the mix – and an “up closer and in person” approach is still needed – designers can make client “house calls,” dropping off samples for further evaluation.
Selection Reviews/Approvals – Until recently, clients would review and approve hardcopy product lists complete with fuzzy photos and limited detail. Today’s selections are documented online via user-friendly software that allows clients to confirm them (down to rough-in valves) by referencing high-resolution product graphics, spec sheets, installation instructions and hyperlinks to vendor websites. All this from the comfort of their own homes with no paper signoffs needed.
As technology continues evolving, foresighted renovators will want to hone their virtual design skills, based on the time- and money savings for their companies, as well as the safety and convenience for their clients. Although “v design” or “e design” is certainly the wave of the future – it truly is possible even today!
Did you know…
The team at Renovations by Hearth and Home is tech-savvy and prepared to work with you on your home’s transformation both online and in person to make the process comfortable and convenient!