Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, I have spent some time reflecting on how fortunate my team and I are to work in the interior design field. Not only are we entrusted to create beautiful spaces for our clients, but with our clients, we help support the livelihoods of hundreds of people and boost local, national and global economies. Even during the shutdown, we have been moving projects forward (safely) and are providing work for many businesses and their employees, locally, nationally and globally. That is truly rewarding.
Helping Clients Lead Their Best Life
At no time in our lives has there been a greater need for our homes to be a place where we can rejuvenate and feel safe from outside stressors. When our homes refuel us and provide us with a peaceful retreat, we are able to make better decisions for our business, families and work places. Yes, interior design can be viewed as a luxury service, but it is so much more. It is a way for us to help our client’s lead healthy, balanced lives and at the same time, to support jobs and economies here and abroad during the economic recovery ahead.
The Numbers Are Amazing
Just how many people do we support through interior design? I analyzed some of our client projects, and the results surprised even us. For a whole-house project, together we help support more than 650 workers. For a single room update, we help support more than 300 workers. Those results fill me with a sense of gratitude. How awesome it is that when we work with our clients we have the opportunity to benefit so many people.
From Designers and Architects to Plumbers and Painters
Think about the variety of local people who may be involved in a renovation project: a builder, architect, designers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, flooring installers/refinishers, landscapers and many more. Locally, nationally and world-wide, we put people to work building furniture, making fabrics, manufacturing paint, wood flooring, carpets, cabinetry, light fixtures and tiles, among others.
National Impact of Design
Just considering the American economy alone, I am truly impressed by the national impact of interior design. A 2016 CHMURA Economics & Analysis report says that the total annual economic impact of the interior design sector in the United States, including its ripple effects, is estimated at $96.3 billion, supporting more than half a million jobs. That number includes not only interior design industries, but occupations in related industries such as retail and construction. Envision how much those numbers are multiplied throughout the world. Our projects feature furnishings from artisans and manufacturers here and abroad. At times like these, many of us seek ways to give to others, but sometimes we don’t consider how day-to-day consumerism is one of the ways we do help. Through this blog, I want to introduce you to just a few of those people and businesses that are positively affected because our clients chose to improve their home and environment.
Local Firms – International Connections
After more than 20 years in design, we have developed strong ties to some of the most trusted and talented vendors, manufacturers and workshops here and abroad. Our connections are a valuable component of the services we offer our clients. Many of those providers work solely with interior designers, another value added for our clients, because we have access to furnishings that aren’t available to the public. Much of our work is custom designed and made. We rely on dozens of highly skilled artisans and craftsmen to produce furnishings such as the bedding and layers of bespoke pillows in the master bedroom, above. (You can find more custom pillows in my earlier blog, Custom Pillow Pizzazz.) For the master bedroom above, we collaborated with 27-year-old Tres Joli in Wheeling, a female-owned firm. Owner Michelle Bellows and her team work exclusively with interior designers on creating custom window treatments and soft goods. While it is a local firm, some of its fabrics are imported, which helps support international economies. Notice the sparkly band running across the shams in the photo above? We sourced that lovely trim at Pyar and Co., a Chicago-based firm founded by Paula Queen. Her company is another example of a local business with international ties. Queen’s husband is from India, and his family there makes all of her trims, which are exquisite.
A Project with American Roots
For the furnishings in this dining room alone, we worked with eight American manufacturers or vendors. We value all of them for their outstanding service, design and craftsmanship, including Abruzzo Kitchen and Bath in Schaumburg. Abruzzo, a premier Wood-Mode cabinetry dealer, supplied all of the cabinetry required for building this luxurious home. Wood-Mode is a 75-year-old, Pennsylvania-based company. Its work force includes as many as three generations of highly skilled craftsmen working side by side, and a majority of the cabinetry-making process is accomplished by hand.
Equally valuable to our team is Arlington Heights-based CAI Designs. Its buyers search the United States and the world for unique items which are available only to those in the design trade. The CAI showroom is a valuable local resource because we can take our clients to see, touch and feel the furnishings as well as collaborate with the staff. Hundreds of people contributed to furnishing this one room, from design conception to delivery and installation. That’s an impressive list.
It Takes People Power to Produce a Custom Chair
According to my research, nearly 50 people played a role in the design, production and delivery of the Kravet armchair in the living room above. Even that list isn’t all-inclusive, however. It doesn’t include the makers of the fabric, cushion filling and stain protection, or the makers of trim pieces such as nail heads. It also doesn’t include those who grow and harvest the wood for the frames or fabric materials such as cotton, linen and wool. When I try to imagine all of the people who play a part in a whole-house renovation, standing side-by-side, the line seems to stretch around the world!
A Furnishings Powerhouse
Kravet, a powerhouse in the design industry for four generations, is another one of our most-trusted vendor partners, and another example of an American company that crosses international borders. All of its furniture is made in North Carolina by American workers, while its fabrics are a combination of their own American-made selections and those imported from a host of international suppliers. The craftsmanship and customer service are outstanding, and beyond that, Kravet is a company with a big heart. It is giving back so much right now to help those affected by the COVID19 crisis.
For this suburban Chicago kitchen, local businesses played a major role. The cabinets are from Lakeshore Cabinet Supply in Lake Barrington, the countertop material is from Terrazzo and Marble in Wheeling and Newport Design Granite in Wauconda fabricated the countertop material. It’s a bit like keeping it all in the family, and we think the results are wonderful. This kitchen has a timeless, tailored appeal, while the metallic chandelier above the counter is an injection of the unexpected.
Project by Project – Boosting Global Economies, Together
As the world works its way toward recovering from the economic disruption of the corona virus, we know that our efforts will not only help our clients, but contribute to a return to prosperity across the globe. We are truly proud to be part of this great industry.
Have you been making a wish list of updates while you have been sheltering at home? Maybe your sofa doesn’t feel as comfortable as it used to, or you need a private office for working at home. We can move your projects forward safely with our “virtual” design services and safe distancing practices. Please contact me at 847-705-9569 or at Kelly@interiorenhancementgroup.com to learn more.