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Designing Spaces in the Digital Age

MTK Design Group recently had the opportunity to work with a sweet family that was making a life change, moving to McKinney Texas, expecting baby #3 and starting fresh for their interiors. The Camp’s came to us after they had started building their new home, was eager to have it furnished upon move-in and of course we were happy to help them. There was just one challenge, they lived in Washington and wouldn’t be traveling to Texas until they made the big move.

Here at MTK Design Group, we work very closely with all our clients, designing alongside them in their homes in order to build off their feedback and truly customize a design fit for their tastes and needs. Being over 2000 miles away, I knew this would create an interesting challenge. Thankfully, we live in a time where technology runs the world, and we can now better than ever easily communicate with someone anywhere in the world at almost anytime. However, just communicating via email and phone calls would mean missing one crucial element to the selling aspect - the face to face interaction. As a designer this is a key tool to be able to read our clients and provide the best experience. Did their body language change when we showed them a specific item? Did they lose interest or not understand a term I used and are now distracted? Being able to see their reactions and keeping them engaged is very important and just not easily executed over the phone. Who better to save the day than the mighty giant, Google! Google provides a large variety of free tools for business owners and in this particular case, a video feed app called Google Hangouts was the perfect solution to our challenge. Hangouts allowed me to not only video call the clients from my computers, but also gave me the ability to screen share in order to showcase a clear and interactive picture of the design options I was working on, while all being able to use the mouse and direct their attention. While nothing beats in person selections to touch and feel samples, the homeowners were very pleased with the interactive process, as having the main priority spaces installed by move-in was a big priority. In addition to this great tool, I also utilized digital mood boards that I progress throughout the appointment, allowing the client to see their designs come to life and visualize everything together as a whole.

In the fast-paced world we live in, I have found that any simple, efficient tools that we can incorporate into the process enables us to spend less me messing with difficult design tools and spend more me interacting with the homeowners, building and nurturing a strong relationship that will ensure long-term success. Our mood boards are simply built in Microsoft PowerPoint for ease of use and all of our clients express how much it helps them visualize and get excited for the end result. A bonus feature that saves us me is using Office 365’s version of PowerPoint that allows multiple people to work on a presentation simultaneously, automatically updating through it’s online cloud-base. So while I’m pulling together the Camp’s mood boards, my assistants can tweak all the details and descriptions on the same presentation from their own computers, whether on site with me or back at the office. Google Hangouts is available free through any gmail account and easily accessible through the sidebar in gmail or on Microsoft PowerPoint can be purchased and downloaded online as a desktop version, or cloud-based as a monthly or yearly plan. Another digital resource I’ve found helpful is the 3D rendering software, Chief Architect. It’s an efficient tool geared towards interior designers and architects that simplifies the process and has the ability to show 3D rendering views when a more realistic visual is necessary. I utilize this tool as a standard for most remodel renovations. General contractors love the easily readable floor plans and automated material schedules. It’s also highly beneficial in communicating the actual end result desired, lessening the chance of wrongly interpreted design details. Chief Architect also has name brand manufacturer catalogs available for downloading into the software that aids in showcasing actual products in the design. Some catalogs include companies like Kohler, Sub-zero, and Sherwin Williams, all ASID industry partners. As for the interior design on this project, we incorporated a modern, open layout with touches of rustic elegance and details that would match the wow-factor of the home's stunning foundation. We started the living space with a gorgeous over sized rug from our ASID industry partner, Surya.

The luxurious performance-grade fabric (important with 3 boys under 8!) sofas from Universal Furniture have a curved back frame that mimic the curves of the gorgeous window treatment fabric from Carole Fabrics. The chiseled marble edges of the Uttermost sofa table stand on hammered metal legs and coincide with the marble Kitchen counter tops. Our favorite element may just be the granite top over sized coffee tables that draw you into the cozy oasis.

From here, the rest of the home’s designs flowed seamlessly.

Starting a new life in a new place can be a tough transition and I’m so grateful that we were able to help make it a little easier for this sweet family with the help of tech-friendly tools. Technology is constantly evolving and keeping up with the latest innovations provides the possibility of a whole new world of doors to open for designers, among many other industries. We can now work efficiently with clients who aren’t necessarily in our markets. The possibilities are endless!

Megan Kranz | Owner & Lead Designer of MTK Design Group

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