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Pool area designed to make the most of the view. Umbria Italy. © Sarah Mitchenall

Remote design – reaching round the world

When Netflix showed my season of the Great Interior Design Challenge I suddenly had people approach me from abroad. I’m always testing out new ideas, so if someone suggests something that looks like fun, I just can’t say no. Which is how I entered the world of remote design, using technology to help people around the world.

A couple in Mexico sent me messages and pictures of their living room evolution on a daily basis. And a woman in Canada contacted me after watching the programme, and we got on so well that we decided to trial a remote design service for her new home.

Can I replicate remotely what I do for clients face-to-face here in the UK? Well it does require a bit more input from the client. Here, for instance, I could find a carpenter or builder for you, but remotely the best I could do is research builders online and draw up a shortlist for the client to interview. Although maybe with Facetime I could help interview too.

I’m interested in a more holistic approach to remote design, working closely with an individual client to discover their particular needs and likes.

For my client in Canada I’ve provided layout and lighting schemes and colour choices, as well as the plans and specifications she needs to instruct contractors and buy furnishings. Any questions can be answered as the work progresses, alongside Skype and Facebook calls with her and her contractor. In fact she could be next door, such is the wonder of technology.

Remote design has already taken off in America, but tends to very generic. I’m interested in a more holistic and personal approach, working with an individual client, finding out their particular needs and likes. It’s about getting to know them well enough to be able to translate that into a very personal space, in a way that feels achievable to the client, with me there to help every step of the way.