What to expect from an online/virtual colour consultation with Sinead Cassidy Design
Sinead Cassidy – Fleetwood Paints Interior Designer Sineadcassidydesign.com
Nothing for me can top the benefits of face to face interaction with clients, suppliers and tradespeople in business. We are particularly social in Ireland and is there anyone who hasn’t established a rapport in the course of a conversation?
This unique engagement style can lend itself to a pleasant working atmosphere with a relaxed approach for all.
All this changed with the onset of Covid 19 and our usual business interaction is not possible. We have had to adapt and many of us have been catapulted into the land of Zoom, Houseparty, Facebook Messenger and basically any online video forum.
These are forums that we had little reliance on up to now especially in the design world. It has made me look at doing business in a more technological way and you know something, we can achieve a lot in a virtual world so don’t be fearful!
As an Interior Designer, my starting point with any client is ideally an initial design consultation at their home or business. There I get a good understanding of the lie of the land and also more importantly a sense of the person.
Onsite full design consultations are currently on shutdown; meanwhile enthusiasm for house projects is possibly at an all time high!
We have resigned ourselves to the fact that we are confined to barracks and we will never get to know our homes better. We cannot avoid seeing the problem areas that were out of sight while we went about our pre lockdown busy days and the areas that might need a revamp are really getting on our nerves now! We may have extra time on our hands and wish we knew where to start.
The good news is that there is one aspect of design that we can continue to access and that is a colour consultation.
Some paint stores are open for online orders and will deliver to your home.
If you cannot begin action at the moment, you can have it all planned, your painter booked and be ready for the lifting of restrictions.
Once a client contacts me by phone or emails for a Colour Consultation, we can now schedule an online call and do a walk through the rooms. Alternatively if they are not comfortable with this medium, I ask for photos of the rooms in question to be forwarded to me.
I assess each room and design a list of questions for the clients over which we can chat online:
- Will the rooms be used for relaxation, work, living or is it a high traffic area?
- What colours appeal to you? Do you equate dark colours with cosiness or oppression? Light colours with relaxation or chilly?
- What aspect does the room have?
- Is there an inspirational piece of furniture or painting in which you would like to pick up a colour and accent?
- Are there any existing pieces of furniture/flooring/fabrics that we need to be mindful of the colours?
- Do you want a coherent look throughout the whole house with colours from the same family?
- Do you want to divide the areas, giving each area its own identity?
- Are you happy to bring in a strong statement colour or feature colour somewhere?
- With a kids bedroom, what about introducing some wall patterns?
Walkthrough done, questions posed and photos saved, I will then assess and spend time on each room at my home studio compiling a colour scheme to present to the client.
One of the tools of the trade are the large colour cards & fandecks for the main paint brands and this is essential in visualising how colours will work together. I test the colours in different lights of my own house to get a feel for how the colours will work for the client. I take a snapshot of the colours for each room on a moodboard so I can send to clients.
The colour possibilities sometimes to me are endless and I have to reign myself in! I like to have two different options to present as I find it hard to contain myself to just one potential scheme!
A report detailing each room scheme is emailed to the client with details of the wall colour, woodwork colour, paint make and paint finish. A snapshot of the various colour schemes on a moodboard will accompany the report. I also post out colour brochures so client can cross reference colours on the report. A final online call is scheduled to ensure the client has full clarity on the scheme and any questions they may have are answered.
With a Colour Consultation, lighting is hugely important but even more so with a Virtual Consultation. This is where sampling becomes key as you will need to see the reaction of your colour under artificial lighting & daylight especially for say a living room. The array of paint colours to be had can often be overwhelming for a client and this is where availing of a Consultation, onsite or virtually can really narrow it down for a client and save all the anguish and time.
Whilst not perfect, online consultations do allow for good engagement and can facilitate people getting on with something worthwhile in their lives while many aspects are currently on lockdown.