As homes continue to be multihyphenate environments for work, school, fitness and more, we catch up with Chicago's expert Thomas Riker of JamesThomas to gain insight into how the design industry is trending—and how its new online design service can help.
Design team James Dolenc and Thomas Riker (left) of JamesThomas
How has business changed for interior designers during the COVID-19 pandemic?
So many things have changed! But probably the biggest thing that we have discovered is our ability to adapt in new ways. Zoom calls with clients, Microsoft Teams meetings and correspondence with our studio—the ability to keep in touch and carry on with our day-to-day work has been amazing. Online communications have been easy, fast and preferable for all parties.
How is JamesThomas continuing to be at the forefront?
As a result of this transition from in-person meetings to doing everything virtually, we recognized that there was a market out there for our design services that we could do remotely. As an alternative, we’re proud to offer Homeward, our digital assistance service for lighter projects. While not perfect for every project, we do think that if you need some help with tweaking a few rooms then this might be the perfect solution for you. We can present options, revise as needed, specify, price and order everything remotely. You can have a bespoke designer experience without having to leave the comfort of your home.
What is the easiest way to spruce up a home?
The obvious answer is to change paint colors or add fresh, new throw pillows. But subtle things like adding fresh flowers to your coffee table or displaying an heirloom collection of cocktail glasses on your bar can also have an unexpected (and easy) impact.
What is the most popular home feature trending now?
We are loving the colorful kitchen trend. While a white kitchen is classic and timeless, it is fun to see that clients are willing to take some risks and go bold in their kitchens. We recently renovated our space and our kitchen is British Racing Green, which we love!
What should be on everyone’s must-have list for their home office?
Your home office should have a good chair. Don’t use your old dining chair or an inexpensive chair. This should be an investment piece that is stylish, yet still ergonomically correct. In addition, establish a good and quiet place to work. Unfortunately, not every home has a dedicated workplace and some people have to make do with their dining room or kitchen table or set up a nook in their bedrooms. But, we are seeing a lot of demand for true home offices. In fact, a client just called us because they want to do an addition to their vacation home to add an office space. The couple is spending more time at their cottage, and in today’s world they both can, and they need a good, private office space to work in.