Design done virtually

I have been itching to design. It’s like that feeling when you get a sneeze stuck in your nose and you just want to sneeze so badly, but you can’t. So with the extra bit of time I have, I thought I’d try my hand at one of the online design competitions – Arcbazar.  How it works: a client posts a project that they’re working on (anything from exteriors and landscapes to interior decorating or full scale renovations) and designers and architects around the globe put together deliverables that the client wants (ie. floorplans, elevations, 3D renderings, materials boards). The top three designs, as chosen by the client, are awarded prizes (meaning money – not stuffed animals or a bobble head doll).

This client, Garry, was overhauling his TV room and wanted to bring it into this century. I saw the “before” pictures. It was awful. There was wood panelling and dark green, balloon valances and overstuffed seating. The room has to do double duty as a place to hang out and relax, as well as an office with storage. It also happens to be the entry way they use most frequently, so circulation paths had to be kept free and clear. The aesthetic is meant to be traditional. And just like a real client, he wanted to keep his ugly, “antique” mail desk.Garry's TV Room - Inspiration Board


I wanted the room to feel balanced, but not necessarily symmetrical, so I anchored either side of the room with millwork – a desk on one side and shelving on the opposite side. Since there was really only one wall large enough to place the TV, that became my starting point. The focal point of a TV room should be the TV (as much as I hate designing around a TV and don’t even have a TV myself – there’s my design snobbishness coming out). Here’s a design trick – hide the cord to the lamps under the rug and if you’re lucky enough to be re-doing your electrical work, consider placing plugs in the floor. Always do your lighting plan after you’ve done your furniture layout.



I did some basic millwork elevations to show storage and give them something they could build off of. Aren’t the windows lovely in this room! Too bad they will be closed off most of the time to watch television. I should start making clients sign agreements: “If the sun is shining on the exterior of the building, please exit the televsion room using any of the assigned exits.” I built one of the windows into the bookcase with a small bench seat below. The idea of having that natural light shine through millwork would be beautiful and break up a solid wall of books and decorative accessories.

It felt so good to do this. I might have to do another one! If anyone out there knows of anyone who is looking to re-design their space, it actually has gotten a lot easier to work virtually, and I’m available!


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