Newsflash: many New York and New Jersey interior designers and decorators are busy with projects and clients; remodeling jobs are moving forward and boards and homeowners are spending money again. This might sound crazy, considering that the economy isn’t out of the weeds by a long shot and boards and homeowners alike have sharply reined in their spending in recent years, especially on non-essential home projects. But according to design industry professionals, projects are indeed moving forward—the question is, how?
A New Approach
For most designers, the design jobs of today are much different from the jobs of yesterday, or even just a few years ago. Today, designers say they are working with clients who are more educated, shopping around and comparing pricing and products. They want more bang-for-the-buck and are now approaching larger jobs one section at a time, instead of all at once. The projects are no longer about super-luxury or trendy materials and finishes and more about affordability and classic colors and designs that won’t go out of style in five minutes.
Jonathan Baron of Baron Designs in Manhattan says that work’s been flowing over the last few years. “From 2000 to 2006, there was an enormous amount of new construction of apartment buildings, condos particularly,” says Baron. “So I was busy until 2007, but in 2008, leads on projects just stopped.”
Work picked up again when Baron convinced clients that buildings still needed to be remodeled and redecorated. “The buildings have to function, because the co-op owners have a stake in their buildings,” he says. “So, if the light fixtures are broken or inefficient, the carpet is a tripping hazard, paint is peeling—and it is lead paint—these are all factors that are liabilities for the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants, staff and guests.”
For Marilyn Sygrove, of Manhattan-based Sygrove Associates Design Group, Inc., many managers and boards did suspend non-essential design projects over the last few years, but she has still kept busy finishing up ongoing projects.