Read This Before You Start Your Holiday Shopping

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It’s almost December- time to start thinking about holiday gift shopping!  Racking your brain trying to find the perfect gift for a Super-Selective-Sally or an Already-Has-Everything-Emma?  Maybe you’ve got new homeowners on your list, or a recent grad (or parents with young kids) suffering from a bad case of frat-house syndrome?

Don’t stress; we’ve got the perfect gift!  Instead of adding to the clutter and risking giving your loved ones another item they may not want, give them the gift of customized design services to maximize the impact of what they already have!  

A gift card from Trim Design Co. can be applied toward any of our consult, space-planning, or full eDesign packages.  Keep reading to learn why Trim is unlike other design firms and how your loved one can use this gift to transform their home into a deeply personal and curated oasis.

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It all started when Jen and I began working together at a full-service interior design firm, where we bonded immediately over our shared background as teachers and our mutual love for one-of-a-kind kilim loafers from Artemis Design Co.  (shout out to our girl Milicent, Artemis founder and fellow Boston-based boss babe!). While working together, Jen and I realized that there was a huge gap between the available design models of eDesign and full-service.

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On one end, there are the big eDesign companies, offering consumers an online room design and shopping list for a very low price.  Some investigating to figure out how they managed to charge so little for their design services revealed that the typical eDesign business model relies on affiliate links for the majority of revenue.  Basically, you might pay only a few hundred dollars for the design, but every item on your shopping list of furnishings is purchased through an affiliate link that earns the eDesign company a large commission.  So they’re actually making several times the amount you paid for the design. The problem? The companies that offer the largest affiliate link commissions to eDesigners are big chain stores, so you’re getting a design that only uses furniture from a few big-box furniture stores and looks exactly like a catalogue a.k.a. no personality!   

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On the other end of the spectrum are full-service designers.  And while these designers can technically source furnishings from anywhere, the majority prefer to rely on trade-only brands available through their local design center.  The reason for this is that trade-only brands sell to designers at a discount, so the designers can re-sell to their clients at retail price and keep the difference. While this is standard and totally fair because the markup pays for the designer’s time spent sourcing and ordering, it means that once again you are getting a room design in which the furnishings are all brand new, quite expensive, and look a lot like all the other designer-decorated homes because everyone is using the same vendors.  

We looked at these two options and cried: What about vintage? What about handcrafted pieces by local artisans? What about emerging brands and craftspeople from around the world offering those special one-of-a-kind pieces? Are they off limits just because they won’t earn us a commission when our client purchases them?  

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We decided to take a risk and bet that you’d be willing to pay a little more up front for the design (to cover our time since we wouldn’t be earning commissions) if it meant we prioritized vintage and artisan-crafted pieces when sourcing for our designs.  

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So we put our heads together and hatched the idea for Trim Design Co. a boutique eDesign firm on a mission to disrupt eDesign by reimagining the designer-client relationship & fusing the best aspects of the full-service design experience with the convenience of online collaboration.  Trim is the only eDesign firm incorporating vintage and artisanal items into every design, creating homes steeped in individuality.

Here’s how we do it:

  • RADICAL COLLABORATION:  At Trim, we partner with our clients, soliciting their feedback throughout the design process, so they never feel steamrolled. When clients work with us, they get all the quality of full-service design without any of the ego.

  • TRANSPARENCY:  Our flat fee pricing means clients enter the design process worry free. As we work together with our clients to fine-tune their design, they don’t need to worry that asking for a revision will mean more charges.

  • A PERFECT MARRIAGE:  Unlike the mass-market "churn-it-out” rooms typically associated with eDesign, our model fuses the convenience of eDesign with the best aspects of traditional full-service interior design: close designer-client collaboration, impeccable attention to detail, and customization.

  • EMPATHY & CUSTOMIZATION: For us, it’s all about making a home one-of-a-kind, creating rooms that evoke specific emotions, that are extensions of our clients' personalities and lifestyles. We take on fewer projects so we can delve deep, listening to each client’s goals and struggles.  We translate their story into an environment that's not only functional, but also serves as a personal haven from the everyday rush.  

  • A FRESH PERSPECTIVE: Our super power? Infusing eclectic, California modern style into homes filled with traditional architectural details, striking the perfect bohoditional balance.  We blend the best of today’s furnishings with pieces curated from different eras and points on the globe. Our designs eschew the trends, instead setting the bar for great taste.

  • THE X/Y FACTOR: Our secret ingredient is our multi-generational perspective- A millennial and Gen Xer creating beautiful spaces, neither too trendy nor too traditional, but always “so you.”  

What is eDesign exactly?  

Our online process uses email and software platforms to provide exceptional design service streamlined for your busy lifestyle.  You'll share information about your project, measurements and photos of your space, and images that inspire you. Then we'll get to work on your custom design, sourcing pieces to showcase your unique personality and creating a space that’s curated, not decorated.  Our flat-fee pricing menu means you know exactly what you'll be paying up front - no hidden fees or fine print, ever. We also offer facetime consults via phone and space-planning services.

What’s included in an eDesign package?

  • A design board, containing images of proposed furnishings and decor

  • A 2D rendering of your design, visually depicting what your space will look like with the furniture and decor in place

  • A floor plan showing a bird's eye view of the room layout

  • A shopping list with links to the products as well as purchasing information and detailed set-up instructions

  • Exceptional service and communication (you'll always hear from us within one business day!)

MENU OF SERVICES:

Full eDesign Packages

Single Room Design $1,500.00

Open Concept Room Design $1,950.00

Kitchen (finish and cabinetry selection) $950.00  

Space-planning $350.00  

Consult Packages

Phone/Facetime Consult 1 hour @ $125.00

In-House Consultation 2 hours @ $250.00 (within 20 miles of 01945 or 02135 only please)

Read This Before You Try To Pull Off A Gallery Wall

1) Gather your artwork

Make sure you have enough pieces to feel like a collection and to really anchor the wall space you’re going to be using.  You want the whole grouping to cover most of the wall so that it doesn’t look like it’s floating awkwardly. Don’t be afraid to go floor to ceiling on a wall with no furniture!

As far as what type of artwork to use- that’s totally up to you! There are no real rules, but you do want to keep in mind how well the pieces work together.  I had some pieces already, but not enough to make a gallery as big as I needed for the long hallway wall, so I painted a couple place holders myself that I’ll later swap out when I find some great art, and I also added three photography prints from Jenny’s Print Shop, which is a great way to get affordable art when you need to fill a frame fast and don’t have a large budget.  (Full details on all the artwork in my gallery wall at the end of this post).

I want to quickly mention Unsplash, which, like Jenny’s Print Shop is a site where you can download digital art and print it out on your own in whatever size you want.  But Unsplash is FREE! All the artists have willingly uploaded the art so it’s totally legal, but if you share pictures of your printed out artworks do the right thing and credit the artists.  For printing, you can send the digital file to a company like Framebridge and get your image back in a frame, or you can go super low budget and do it yourself at one of the self-serve kiosks at Target or Costco like I did.  I’ve heard good things about Costco’s photo printing, but Target’s is not the best in terms of photo quality. It was OK, and it was only a couple bucks per print, so I guess it’s true that you get what you pay for.

2) Choose your frames

Again, no strict rules here about what types of frames to include. The most important thing to consider is how the grouping will look as a whole.  If any of your artworks have mattes, it’s pretty important that these are all neutral and as close to one another in shade as possible. If you want a look that’s cohesive, but not uniform, I recommend a variety of frame styles all in one finish or a single frame style in a variety of finishes.  Since I already had some simple Ikea frames in black and white, and Target makes some affordable modern frames that I like in a natural wood finish, I decided to use modern minimalist frames in a mix of black, white, and natural.

3) Plan your layout

When planning a layout for a gallery wall the goal is for the overall design to look balanced.  Following some basic guidelines can save you time and help ensure success.

  • Try to keep the middle line of the collection at eye level (that’s 57-60” from the floor).  In my case this wasn’t possible since I was hanging my pieces above wainscoting, but on an architecturally naked wall, this rule applies (even when there’s furniture involved.)

  • Start with the largest piece, which will anchor the entire grouping.  Place it slightly off center in the space you’re working with, because if you put it right in the middle it will look like all the other smaller pieces are orbiting it.   

As you add the remaining pieces to the design, building off the anchor piece, keep the following in mind:

  • Spacing between frames should be as uniform as possible and should be no less than 1.5 to 2 inches and no more than 4 inches.  You don’t want it to look crowded, but you also don’t want your art so spread out so much that it doesn’t look like a cohesive collection.

The other trick to achieving a balanced look is to evenly distribute the following:

  • Black, white, and natural frames

  • Color images and black & white images

  • Vertical, horizontal, and square shaped pieces

I like to use photoshop to plan gallery walls because it makes it so easy to move things around and to see a large collection all at once.  I take a picture of each piece and upload it to a black photoshop template (cutting out any background images from the pictures so I’m left with just the framed images on a white background.  Then I adjust the sizes of the images so they appear realistically proportioned to one another. I don’t go crazy getting this perfect, I just sort of eye it. As I move stuff around, I take screenshots of all the arrangements I like so I can compare my favorites before making a final decision.  Here are a few I came up with:

And here’s the plan I settled on:

You can even use this to test out different frame options or decide what size artwork to purchase if you aren’t working with pieces you already own or want to add more.  Just use the rectangle tool instead of the images:

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If you don’t want to get all high tech, you can totally just move the furniture out of the way and lay everything down on the floor.  Then you can just manually move pieces around until you have something you’re happy with. Remember that as you’re arranging, you’re thinking about the guidelines I mentioned above in order to get a balanced result.  Even though I do the fancy photoshop layout first, I still lay everything out on the floor as a final check before I start hanging. This is because I’m too lazy to do the whole paper cut-outs with the same dimensions as the artworks taped (painter’s tape, please!) on the wall as a final check.  But either option (floor or paper cut outs) gets the job done.

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Once you’ve got a balanced layout that you like, start hanging! Just make sure you mind those gaps between frames as you go!  And because I feel obligated to say it: Measure twice, hammer once.

Here’s a panorama of how mine turned out: This long narrow hallway with no windows is an absolute nightmare to photograph (charms of a historic, city apartment lol) so this image is terrible, but you get the idea.

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And here’s my attempt to recreate it from five separate photographs along with all the artwork sourcing info:

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  1. Commissioned portrait of Mona by Joan Lemay

  2. Doodle face by me

  3. No. 44: Mossy Stones print by Kim Knoll

  4. Arrangement #3, Kindah Khalidy art print via Babasouk

  5. David Bowie Poster

  6. It's Probably for the Best that People are on the Internet instead of Outside Wrecking Things signed print by Butch Anthony

  7. Riverside by Lynne Millar, digital download via Jenny’s Print Shop

  8. Bougie by Jenny Komenda, digital download via Jenny’s Print Shop

  9. Photograph of David Bowie

  10. Splash” by Kate Lines, digital download via Jenny’s Print Shop

  11. Doodle face by me