I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Kelly Galvin Robson, Director of Instant/Space by Burnham Design and would love for you to hear what she has to say about the latest extension of Betsy Burnham’s design firm – Instant/Space. You’ll learn what Instant/Space is and more so please take a moment to read the discussion between Kelly and I.
decor8: Hi Kelly! So glad to have you here on decor8 today. Tell me, how long have you been working with the fabulous Betsy Burnham?
KGR: For almost 4 years, and have been lucky enough to work with Instant/Space for the last 2 years.
decor8: What exactly IS Instant/Space? I briefly read a blurb about it in Domino magazine awhile back (Feb ’07)…and it looked really interesting for budget and time conscious girls on the go.
KGR: Instant/Space is an alternative service from Burnham Design and it offers clients a do-it-yourself interior design for a reasonable fee. It is for clients who don’t really want or need Burnham Design’s full range of services, and have an appreciation for the aesthetic. Some clients may want to address only one or two rooms in their house, others may have a limited budget, or want to do their own purchasing based on a design “master plan.” Regardless, all of our clients want to achieve a custom interior design and be active in the design process, so Instant/Space is really the perfect design service for them.
decor8: You mentioned the Burnham Design aesthetic. For those who aren’t familiar with what it is can you elaborate please?
KGR: It is a mix of high end and vintage. We prefer a layered, “collected” look that’s at the same time tailored and clean.
decor8: I know your main office is located in Los Angeles but I heard you are not, where are you?
KGR: My office is on the east coast outside of Philadelphia. However, Betsy and I work together on every Instant/Space project.
decor8: How do you find your clients?
KGR: Many of our clients know Betsy’s work and find us through the Burnham Design site. Others contact us after seeing a press mention.
decor8: Do you see a future in e-consulting as perhaps a new trend in design and if yes, why?
KGR: Absolutely. Our clients lead very busy lives, and offering a service that’s available online is a huge plus in terms of their time. Furthermore it represents a move toward more affordable professional decorating… and in the current economic climate, this is a big advantage.
decor8: I agree! Explain briefly how e-design works? For example let’s say a client has a 10′ x 12′ bedroom that needs to be decorated and I have zero time to do it. How can you help?
KGR: We can provide you with a custom interior design based on your personal design style and individual design challenges. We really think about every client individually — how they will use the space, who will be using the space, etc. Every single box is different and it is important to us that our clients really love their finished design.
decor8: More details, please!
KGR: When a client decides to order Instant/Space, they first send us pictures and dimensions of the room(s). Then, we ask for inspirational images from magazines, websites, etc (to help illustrate the design style that they are trying to achieve), and our completed online questionnaire (to further identify their design preferences and challenges). In four to six weeks, the client receives their completed instant/space box in the mail. Every box includes a personalized design concept board, a detailed schematic furniture plan (drawn to scale), a swatchbook containing all of the furnishings and accessories for the room, an additional swatchbook with samples of the fabric and paint selected for the space, a detailed shopping list, and a step by step explanation of how to pull of these elements together. The rest is up to them!
decor8: Great! What happens if some of the fabric or items you suggest are ‘trade only’, how can a client purchase those?
KGR: If we include “trade only” items in our design, clients have the ability to order these items through Burnham Design. For a small markup, we take care of ordering, tracking and shipping.
decor8: Next scenario… let’s assume that you’ve suggested wallpaper or paint to a client and they have no time to source for these products or locate contractors to do the work. Can you come to the rescue?
KGR: We don’t expect our clients to paint or do difficult installations themselves! Often we’ll ask if they have competent subcontractors for this work, and if they don’t, we’ll do our best to help locate them.
decor8: Excellent. Let’s talk money. What are the fees involved?
KGR: Instant/Space fees vary from $895.00 to $1,495.00 depending on the size and function of the room. All of our pricing may be found on our website.
decor8: You already touched upon it, but what type of client (besides a busy one!) seems to be attracted to this type of service?
KGR: Most are professional people who have an interest in design but seek a professional’s advice. Many have just moved, gotten married, or purchased their first home. Some have just had a baby and need to decorate a nursery. Our clients come from all over the country, cities and suburbs. The one thing they all have in common is that they admire the Burnham Design aesthetic and want our style to be reflected in their space.
decor8: And to wrap things up, on a more personal level, what do you think is the absolute pro of this particular service?
KGR: The best part is the response that we receive from clients. Most clients are surprised that we were able to capture their design style so well without ever meeting them in person, others love the way that Instant/Space allows them to purchase furniture at their own pace. The experience is really fun, and I think that clients appreciate how easy and convenient it is.
decor8: Thank you so much Kelly for sitting in with us today, best wishes on your business (Betsy too!) and to all of the e-decorators out there – you can do it!
Readers: If you are interested in reading more on the topic of e-decorating here is a post from June 2008 that appeared on decor8 (be sure to read the comments on each too!): e-Decorating – Your Thoughts.
Do you have any additional questions that you would like to ask Kelly? If so, please comment below.
(images from burnham design and instant/space.)
I had such a lovely evening on Monday night. May I tell you what I did? I visited the studio of Petra (see a tour of her place here) and spent several hours with her, some clients, and my friend Esra who just returned to Germany after vacationing in her native Istanbul. Esra brought with her a very special gift for me, would you like to see?
Handmade ceramic bowls in the most beautiful shades of purple, with a raised tulip pattern, can you see the tulips? Isn’t it a pretty design? This is very typical from the tulip era in Ottoman history that has influenced design there for ages from tulips on palace walls to embroidery on clothing and hand painted onto ceramics. The Dutch have this period to thank for the tulip bulbs that made their way over to Holland hundreds of years ago.
Seeing this beautiful floral pattern made me think about all of the popular motifs that exist out there and how so many have a deeper meaning than, “it’s cute”, “I think I’ll design a print with a ___ one it because it’s popular right now”, “it sells”, etc.”… Not this lovely tulip. It stems (pun fully intended) from a very important place in history that people living hundreds of years from now will (hopefully) always remember thanks to books and families passing on tradition. Same with many of the ethnic prints and patterns, folk art, etc. that you find often while traveling or through the pages of popular design mags.
Seeing traditional patterns from other cultures is a window into a new world? and it’s a very exciting view. The bowls that Esra gave me inspired research and so Tuesday morning I spent 4 hours reading all about the Tulip era and the Ottoman period to refresh my memory from past world history classes. It was so fascinating to learn about this tulip pattern because now I appreciate these bowls even more. I know I’ve mentioned this several times already, but try to read Selvedge magazine out of the UK, “The fabric of your life: textiles in fashion, fine art, interiors, travel and shopping,” if you can because it as a magazine worthy of your time and money. Each issue is like a book, the writers are polished, accurate, obviously well-traveled, and keenly interested in world culture (and the fabrics! ah!) and unlike any magazine I’ve ever read, I walk away learning so much about what goes into the making of textiles, the tradition behind patterns, and so much more. Each issue is like a mini textiles class, I value Selvedge so very much.
After being so inspired by these tulip bowls I thought about all the patterns out there that have saturated the market and I wonder if perhaps a few of you would be daring enough to start a new wave in the indie design world. Why not try to consider the local culture or bring in something more meaningful to you personally into your next illustration or design? I think many of us are looking for some bright, innovative designers to show us something different. While I really enjoy the popular ones, from birds to faux bois, little houses, and deer… Why not wander off the path a bit and dig really deep to challenge yourself to design something that is a bit like the Turkish tulip — that has to do with your culture, what you’re all about, where you came from, an important period of time to you. Perhaps you are part Polish and could research what your ancestors make in Poland and think of a way to modernize that motif a bit? Or if you are from a certain state see what your state flower or bird is and if you can pull inspiration from that.
This is one thing that I absolutely appreciate about J Hill Design in Boston and her business, “Places I Have Never Been”. Her designs are based on how she imagines a place to be like after conducting extensive research on it. Isn’t that an interesting way to design? I’m sure with each design she feels really challenged and excited! Just? some food for thought in case you are feeling stuck in a design rut lately as one of my local friends told me that she feels very caught up in a sea of popular designs and would love to expand but isn’t sure what exactly to do next. Hopefully this will encourage you if you have been wondering…
So that was what I did on Monday evening — relaxed in a colorful atelier around layers of raw silk, IKAT, vintage ethnic fabrics, beads from Morocco and Istanbul, silver linens, tassels and sipping ceylon cardamon tea from London, eating double pistachio Turkish delight from Istanbul… yes, inspiration truly comes from nature for me, especially the two-legged variety — human companions. Developing meaningful friendships, and learning from others (including the popular motifs from their native country) can really inspire.
Now go made things, decorate, be creative! :)
(images from holly becker for decor8 and selvedge magazine)
Have you heard of Be Made Ceramic Works? I was reading the Turkish Elle Decor a few nights ago and found them there for the first time. Wow, beautiful, modern, quirky, and not what I’d expect coming out of Istanbul as when I think of Turkey I usually envision very ornate and colorful objects. Clearly I need to start reading Turkish Elle Decor on a regular basis!
Be Made Ceramic Works is a young design duo, Ekin ?zbi?er and Berra Alkan, graduates of MUGSF (Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts). I really like their bowls with the town along the rim, especially the way it must cast shadows on the wall… So beautiful to look at. I think we aren’t exposed to modern Turkish design in the western world as much as we should be.
My friends from Istanbul and those who have visited there tell me there is quite a scene of emerging young talent there which makes me what to visit even more. I’d really like to see Be Made Ceramic Works up close and personal… but for now, blogging about them will have to do.
(images from be made ceramic works)
I totally need bedroom inspiration today! What about you? Are you also sleeping in a boring room like I am? Currently my walls are white, curtains are white linen, bed is white, bedspread is white, it’s too safe in there. It feels like a hospital. Of course, I just moved in but that was in August and we’re in October so the “Just Moved In” excuse is starting to no longer work. I’m always looking to paint my bedroom, at least the wall behind the bed, a gorgeous gray not because everyone else seems to be hot on gray lately but because it’s been the one consistent wall color in my dozens of inspiration books and folders that stands out for me.
Frankly, I am overwhelmed with ideas! I’m also still very unsure as to where to shop in my new country… in Germany, I have about 5% of the decor options as I do back home in America where you can zip over to a myriad of stores to find exactly what you fancy in a single day. Not that I like that kind of “design in a day” mentality but the point is that it’s there if you need it. Here, shops take 8-10 weeks (or more, sometimes 12 weeks) for furniture orders, they tend to carry 10 of the ‘standard’ brands that are in all of the little boutique shops and though they are lovely, they are expensive, and I really want a few select items that I just cannot find here for the life of me. For instance, I’m still having a horrible time finding kilim rugs for my apartment, they are either too big, too new (I only want a vintage one from Anatolia), or over 1,000- Euros for standard 5 x 7 — and that my friends is just nuts. My Turkish girlfriend told me tells me that you can fly to Istanbul from here in a few hours and find these rugs everywhere for 1/4 of that price (or less!). You can pretty much get a rug and a trip to Turkey for the price that you’d pay for just a rug if purchased in Germany. Um… Maybe this calls for a flight to Istanbul? I digress. Back to the bedroom…
I have been trying to find fabric to match the paper in the upper right corner for months and I found it shown on the left side. Love this fabric, perfect for a little something in the bedroom. Maybe a small cushion?
I think my decor folder is too large so now I’m starting to go through the process of elimination. These photos show what my coffee table looks like today. I keep adding and subtracting images and colors, the process of elimination is a beautiful thing.
I want to incorporate a gray accent wall perhaps with some large scale subtle geometric pattern on it stenciled in a very pale silver, rich texture, some pattern but mostly stripes (think men’s suits) for the bed, black, beige, white, wood tones, faux grey fur throw, maybe some aged leather to warm it up… I have white linen drapes so I may add a border along bottom in velvet, perhaps a border I can remove for Spring? Let’s see where all of these ideas lead me For now, I have my mood board together… I’m putting it out there. Now it’s time to execute. Give me a month and I’ll be back with the results (sometime before Turkey Day).
How are you doing with your bedroom decor? Does it need help? Is it boring like mine or are you satisfied with it?
(images from holly becker for decor8)