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.)