IT’S LOAD IN DAY- CLIENTS STAY OUT!

Here is a peek at some of the madness in Natalie’s foyer that ensued while were installing her items. Note the plastic covered floors!

We are wrapping up my big Style At Home webisode project (Natalie’s condo) and I thought it might be fun to share with you what goes on to make a space picture (and in this case video) perfect. Earlier this year Los Angeles Interior Designer Nina Petronzio shared a similar post on her blog that I found very insightful as well.

1. PLAN AHEAD I will usually give myself two days before the video / photography team comes in to shoot. On the first day, I style the heck out of the space, take photos, upload them to my computer to view, edit, and then I sleep. Sleeping (very essential) and taking some time away from a space I have been working on for several weeks or months is crucial. I find the objectivity of a camera lens helpful in this area. On day two I return with fresh eyes and usually a few small bags of accessories to try. Often my initial instincts are correct and the original accessories work, but the perfectionist in me just has to make sure.

2. PACK WELL It drives me absolutely nuts when my team and I get to a space and I have absolutely no idea where anything is in the 12 or so bags I have lugged up the elevator and into the space. With my current pregnancy brain I rely heavily on the members of my team (I could not do what I do without Kristelle Pabon and Scott Poborsa, design assistant and installer extraordinaire) to know where things are. I usually keep things grouped by retailer in their respective bags so it makes returns easier.

3. BE CLEAN I think my team will back me up when I say I have drilled it into their heads that we are guests in a client’s space so we have to keep in clean. Yes, madness ensues in the process (boxes everywhere, styrofoam bits make it look like the first snow has fallen indoors) and it often looks worse before it looks better. But I have a slightly anal attitude about working clean (meaning trying to pack down boxes as we go, sweeping, etc.) and then leaving the space cleaner than when we left it. I was told at the very beginning of my career that a sign of a good trade is one that leaves no trace of themselves except for an improved situation (ie. no garbage bags, no sawdust on the floor, no paint drips, etc.). I take this advice very seriously and do my best to work clean and to clean up. For me this includes covering floors with plastic, ensuring every piece of furniture is equipped with felt pads so there is no chance of scratching the floors, bringing dust cloths, removing garbage before I leave, and keeping all my tools and installation supplies in one place on top of a towel so I can a) find them quickly and b) they don’t make a mess.

4. HIRE PROFESSIONALS For whatever reason, I struggle with hanging pictures perfectly centered and straight. And while I can snap a cute photo of my son, my photography skills are amateur at best. So I call in the pros to do what pros do. It saves me time and I get guaranteed results- worth every penny.

5. CLIENTS STAY AWAY! Like in home reno television shows, it’s really fun to see a client’s reaction when the space is completely styled with candles lit, the table set and flowers adorning each vase. It is of course not always possible to do this, but the TA DA moment is very special for me and for the client and try to make the reveal a part of the process. I’ve also thrown reveal “parties” where friends come over to see the space for the first time.

For more of my styling tips check out this article I wrote for The Toronto Star’s yourhome.ca.

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