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Hello and welcome back!  This week has been a particularly busy one for our #designdreamteam!  Since our team expanded this year, we have implemented a new structure to the Studio to enable us to keep on top of so many different project schedules, but it’s the nature of the rather beautiful beast that sometimes this is launched out of the window when unexpected things are thrown into the mix and we have to think on our feet to be able to keep all plates spinning.

We start our week with a Monday Morning Meeting.  Jenny arrives in the Studio at 8.30am and draws up an agenda, which we run through together as a team once everyone is in and settled with a cup of tea, around 9.30am.  This details where we’re up to with every project, tasks for the coming week, new enquiries, social media or website developments, marketing or features coming up, team news and studio info.  The team then sets to work on their individual responsibilities or projects they’re running, and we schedule time in with each other when we need to collaborate on specific tasks.  We now also run two whiteboards in the Studio, one details the status of each project and what stage we’re at, as well as the next meeting date, and the other is a workable noticeboard that Jenny updates weekly with the teams specific tasks or notices so everyone has a quick point of reference to look at and see what is urgent for the coming week.

We recently made the decision to block out Monday mornings 9am-12pm as our ‘Monday Morning Media’ time.  As is often the case in busy Studios when there is no dedicated Media personnel and the design team are responsible for all media, weeks were steaming by without us making much headway on our social platforms or updating our website, and tasks would roll over week to week which weren’t being addressed because our clients projects were of course taking priority.  Rather than say we ‘didn’t have time’ to do it, we allocated a block of time to it and we all agreed that Jenny would use this time after our morning meeting to write up Indigo Blue and the scripts for our Podcasts, Lizzie would work on branding and the website, as well as ensure our media and press folders are kept up to date, Penny would set up social media for the week, and Stephanie would collaborate with all three as and when we needed her valued input.

After our meeting was concluded and everyone set to work on their tasks, we were contacted by an Architect we’ve worked with many times in the past, Luke Rose, about an exciting project he’s working on at the moment, a brand new state of the art Winery in Hampshire.  We were invited to present a proposal for the Decorative Detailing, Furnishing & Accessorising the Tasting Rooms, but time was of the essence as the owner of the Vineyard was keen to launch pre-Christmas….(*runs around with hair on fire*) which to most would be a crazy proposal, but for us, it was a challenge we were keen to conquer!   Factoring this into our already chocablock schedule for the coming weeks whilst still meeting our other project targets, meant pooling our resources as a team and working together to not only layout and design the interiors & exterior terrace, but also call upon our trusted contacts to secure a pre-Christmas delivery date for bespoke furniture items we would otherwise not be able to get hold of in time.  We drew up a budget figure to present to the client and Stephanie & Jenny headed off with the drawings, visual presentation and samples.  The meeting went very well and we were commissioned to install, so this week Jenny & Lizzie spent time working through our Estimate software inputting all of the product information and obtaining firm costs for our client, before invoicing for the product and placing our orders.

With this new instruction, we’re now running 20 live projects, and it is through careful time management and our dynamic and lateral thinking team that we are able to manage such a volume of projects for the relatively modest size of our 8 strong team.  From our base just on the rural outskirts of Salisbury, with clients based from Cambridge to Devon and many counties in between, we’re excited to have a variety of projects on our books, with clients that have tastes ranging from classic English country, to modernist, to boho chic, and we’re thoroughly enjoying working with our clients to bring out their personalities in the design, curating ‘the look and feel’ of the house whilst ensuring every element works on a practical level.

In the never ending quest to further our technical knowledge, Lizzie and Jenny attended an evening event on Wednesday at Hobsons Choice in Winchester hosted by Miele, to learn the capabilities of their extensive range of appliances so we can confidently specify these to our clients, comparatively to other brands.  Last month Stephanie, Peter and Jenny attended the same event hosted by Gaggenau and it was interesting to compare notes on these.  We pride ourselves on never specifying anything to a client that we would not install in our own homes, so it’s important that we’re all well versed in the technical specs of anything we present as our recommendation.

Stephanie and Jenny had a visit to a new enquiry on Thursday, they have just purchased and moved into a beautiful grade II listed Georgian Farmhouse and have a budget for the decorative detailing, furnishing and accessorising the interior as well as the gardens.  After a tour around the house, discussing the clients requirements for the space, and getting a broader view of how the family live day to day, it became clear that to make some relatively minor alterations to the layouts of the property and assign the rooms differently, the space would work much better for the client, so upon returning to the Studio Stephanie & Jenny began working on a fee proposal to draw up a Master Plan of works for the Farmhouse.

This week has been the first in around 8 consecutive weeks that we haven’t had a rep in the Studio.  Despite these meetings taking a little time away from working on projects, they’re never a distraction because we always have each project at the forefront of our minds when viewing new collections and it’s often the case that we see something that inspires us to take a design down a different avenue.  Although we always design to be evergreen and timeless rather than ‘on trend’, as a rural practice it’s important we stay in touch with the wider design world and are up to date with new collections, technological advances and new product releases so we are able to offer our clients everything of value which is on the market currently, as well as being informed when new and improved products are scheduled to hit the market, which is why we make time for our reps.

Our Accounts Manager Debbie has just returned from India on the Golden Triangle Tour so has been telling us exciting tales of Tigers and Tuk-tuks, it sounds like such a fascinating and vibrant place!  She sent us all an image of an Interior Design Studio in New Delhi…we all found their marketing rather amusing!

On the agenda for next week…a pool house renovation in the heart of the New Forest National Park, a Stud Farm in the Wiltshire countryside, and a beautiful four storey Cambridgeshire townhouse.