ID Connections

Interview with Registered Interior Designer Monica Sharman

Published by Patrick Voisin, April 19, 2017.

IDC is always striving to showcase our members’ projects! We recently had the pleasure of chatting with ARIDO Registered member and Principal designer of IN Design, Monica Sharman, about her Voices.com project in London, Ontario.

IDC: Could you please explain the process of securing this project?
Monica: This was a unique project but a model which I hope to repeat. The client began conversations with the local Herman Miller dealership. Both because he had existing Herman Miller furniture that he wanted to build on, and because he was interested in the “Living Office” planning model. They informed him that in addition to these services, he would need an Interior Designer and they recommended my firm. We were retained at the introduction meeting. This particular client made quick decisions, realized the value of time lost by obtaining multiple prices (not just with design fees, but with everything project-related) and put trust in his team to get the job done.

IDC: Were there any major obstacles with this project?
Monica: Time was our biggest obstacle. We started the process in his existing space and by the time we finished the preliminary plan and were able to develop a schedule and budget, it became apparent that they would be at full capacity before construction completion. This is a rapidly and steadily expanding company! So following the initial design, he found a more suitable location that would meet his needs for the next few years. The span of when he signed the new lease to the date of his move in was five months! Ideally we would have had twice this amount of time! The entire team had to move very quickly, but the task was made possible again because of his ability to make quick designs and allow us to assemble the team of our choice that would get the job done.

IDC: Do you have a favorite part of this project?
Monica: The size of the project at 45,000 sq.ft. which meant we could afford to have some feature areas with more premium products and balance that out with larger areas which were more budget based. So even though this project had a relatively tight budget, we could get the impact items we were hoping for. Being a very practical design firm, we enjoy the challenge of value engineering high and low budget - putting funds where they have the most use/impact and saving in other areas.

IDC: What advice can you give to junior designers who haven’t worked on a project of this size?
Monica: A job of this scale should only be undertaken by a seasoned Commercial Interior Designer. The Designer’s role on a job like this is not only to plan and design, but is central to all of the other trades and professionals. We needed to coordinate engineering and architecture services, oversee budgeting and scheduling, and liaise between contractor and client. Of course this is also a job to be handled by a team so there is certainly a need for a Junior Designer on the team. We relied on ours to help with detailed drawings and in particular to research new products we could use.

Do you have a great story about an interior design project that you want to share? Contribute to an issue of ID Connects by contacting communications@idcanada.org.

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