Green Design Goes Big Time!
How thrilling that my concept for the Woodside Decorator Show House was accepted by the selection committee! It beat out several other submissions by well-established ASID designers, an honor that is both exciting and humbling given my relative newcomer status.
My vision for this space is to create an indoor/outdoor sitting porch with a wet bar that allows the residents to socialize and relax before or after dinner with wine or cocktails, viewing the outside rose garden that is framed by the large picture windows featured in the space. My theme is a modern twist on old-world Chinoiserie, using an explosion of color and texture in the furnishings and fabric on a neutral gray and white background. Think "Orient Express Meets Chelsea Art Gallery". And in keeping with Sabrina Alfin Interiors Inc.'s sustainable design credo, most, if not all, of the design components will be eco-friendly: antiques, textiles made of rapidly renewable fibers, recycled materials, and no-VOC paints. It is my staunch belief that residential interior design does not have to sacrifice luxury and function to meet good-for-the-planet goals.
It takes a lot of money and project management to pull off a showcase space with the production values necessary for regional publication. My project will require a general contractor to coordinate painting, electrical, plumbing, and custom cabinet making; the purchase of fabric, furnishings, lighting, fixtures, and accessories; a delivery and installation service to consolidate, deliver, and return items that will be used to dress the space; and lots of indoor landscaping plants, containers, and decorative objects. A key component of my design is the installation of two removable "living walls", creating a plant-life-as-art gallery that is at once a conversation starter, a striking design element, and a means to improve indoor air quality. Additionally, professional photography will be required to help promote the project and get more people to attend. While many of these elements and services are graciously being provided at a reduced cost, they are entirely out-of-pocket.
I have every confidence I can execute this project as envisioned. As many of you know, my former career in advertising involved countless new business pitches for national brands that I spearheaded both strategically and logistically. These were massive undertakings running the gamut from video production, to concept strategy and creative development, to presentation and collateral materials--all done under tremendous time constraints while managing scores of team contributors. I believe this designer show house space is a very similar challenge and one I can handle with aplomb, military-like precision, and organization. I've developed some terrific relationships with design suppliers, showrooms, and contractors who are already committed to helping me pull this off in the next four months. The reason the funding is required by the end of January for a May show is because many of the custom-fabricated design elements will require a significant lead time for production, most of which will have to be paid in full in advance of completion.
My goal for this project is to evangelize the idea that sustainable design is no more costly or less gorgeous than design that isn't. Even if my project convinces only a few attendees, I believe I will have helped move the needle to change how high-end residential interior design is approached. In the end, I want green design to be seamless to clients, making it simply the way interior design is done.
Risks and challenges
I believe the biggest challenge will be the coordination of sub-contractors, making sure they can meet the deadlines in advance and commit to being on site for the duration of the project build-out. In the unlikely event they are unable to deliver, I plan to have back-up contractors "waiting in the wings" who can step in to complete the work by the deadline. I have already done most of the preliminary due diligence to secure key design elements, and I have every confidence my suppliers will honor those commitments. I've also mitigated most of the risk of delivery delays by using local suppliers and fabricators with whom I have worked on past projects and am confident of their ability and attention to detail.
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