5 myths about working with a designer

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1. It’s too expensive
Oh wow this is a biggie. How much should a creative/designer charge for their work? I know it is something that I have struggled to get my head around since starting up my business because I was never used to doing work that I loved. For some reason, I had no problem working for companies that charged really high prices for their professional services but as soon as it came down to valuing my work, I got seriously panicky. But when I really think about it, designers should be charging some of the highest prices because you can be sure that a lot of heart, time, effort and attention to detail has gone into your project. You are also paying for a highly personalised service and specialised talent. Sure, designers are amazing problem solvers, they have qualifications and invaluable theoretical knowledge but they also have that eye for detail - some things you just can’t get out of a text book. If you’re looking for a more affordable option than in-person design consultation, maybe you could check out virtual design services like the ones I offer here. Need more info? Read this post > [http://www.gorjodesigns.com/blog/what-is-a-virtual-style-mentor]

2. They won’t get my vision
Professional designers, whether they are designing interiors, events or graphics all have one thing in common - they are great and asking the right questions, finding patterns in seemingly random collections and compiling relevant information. Your designer’s job is to get inside your head and piece all your thoughts together in a meaningful way. My fact gathering process is a two step process combining and extensive (but fun) design questionnaire and a series of visuals collected from.. Well anywhere and everywhere!

3. It will take up too much of my time
Like any other professional, a designer is there to help you. They will do the heavy lifting. But, for a design to come out perfectly, the prep must be on point. So, it is really super duper important that you are clear on what you want before the design process commences. This will save tonnes of time in the long run and it will really really help your designer out. Basically, a little effort on your behalf will go a very long way. 

4. They will only specify expensive/impractical things
A designer’s job is to solve your problem, taking into consideration all restraints including budget. Therefore, you will likely receive a mix of recommendations (for furniture, finishes, decorations, paper etc) that will range from quite inexpensive to expensive. Taking a kitchen for example, if it is important for you to have really high quality benchtops then that’s where your money will be best allocated but if it is more important for you to have a lot of great storage options then your designer will opt for a mid-range benchtop and high-end cabinetry fittings. It’s all about having a balance between the beautiful and the practical.. And most of all it’s about your individual preferences and values.

5. I can do it better myself
I’ve never had anyone say this to me (I either know a lot of intelligent or very polite people ;) ) but I do hear it bandied about online and tv a bit and I have to admit, it gets me a little flustered! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against DIY. In fact, my virtual design services are actually tailored towards clients implementing my design concepts on their own.. But… there is a massive difference between ‘DIY with help from a designer’ and ‘DIY, completely out in the cold, no help whatsoever’! A designer is there to provide you with the master plan. A plan he/she has come up with factoring in all of her design knowledge and years of experience. It is not something she’s just whipped up after seeing some goof do it on late night tv. She knows the behind-the-scenes, she can foresee potential hurdles and she knows how to properly deal with these. A designer thinks of all those things that you never would have thought of. Trust her!

What is a virtual style mentor?

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So, you’ve heard this term ‘e-decorating’ being bandied about online but you’re still not exactly sure what it means. 

In today’s tech obsessed world we tend to get caught up in not so productive things like watching cat videos on YouTube and obsessing over our Facebook feeds. We also might also get discouraged thinking about all the dodgy as peeps creeping around online! But I’m here to let you know that the internet can be a totally awesome place - full of insanely useful professionals, with serious skills. As in life, you just gotta know how to be super savvy and filter out the crap you don’t need!

When I was studying interior design, I use to think a lot about how I could streamline the design process - how to make it much easier and affordable for people to have spaces that look like they have jumped out from the pages of ‘Home Beautiful’. I was a first home owner at the time so I really understood the struggle of decorating on a budget but I was (and still am) extremely passionate about decorating and knew that it is essentially a luxury. You don’t need to have an aesthetically pleasing and functional home to survive, but having one sure can improve the quality of you and your family’s life. 

Enter e-decorating. A virtual service, offering clients an opportunity to work with skilled designers over the web for a fraction of the cost of in-person consulting.



So we know that e-decorating is on online decorating service offering personalised design concepts, but what do you actually get when you work with a designer in this way? Well it obviously differs depending on which designer you engage but the most common inclusions (and the ones I offer to my clients) are:

Moodboards are visual representations of the style and design direction of the space being styled. They help the designer convey the exact design message to the client before anything is purchased or any final decisions are made. 

Shopping/sourcing lists
These generally would accompany a moodboard so that clients know where to purchase recommended furniture and accessories. I like to use online stores mainly but sometimes I use pieces that I source from shops that are local to my client. 

Scaled floor plans/space plans
I think most people have a good idea of what a floor plan is, but do they know their true value - maybe not? I like to think of floor plans as design maps. They essentially tell us whether things will fit properly, where services like power, plumbing and lighting can or can’t go and they provide us with a more technical solution to a design puzzle. 

Colour palettes
By far the most popular decorating question I have from clients is “what colours should I use”? And I totally get it. Colour can be overwhelming and getting it wrong can mean the difference between an awesome design and one that is well… pretty average! There is a lot to learn when it comes to colour, so it’s definitely a good idea to have a trained eye create or look over your colour scheme for you.  

Renders/elevations/3D views
This one sounds a bit intimidating but it actually isn’t. When us designers say ‘render’ we really just mean a coloured drawing (either done by hand or computer) that gives us a good indication of what the final design will look like. It is literally a drawing of the space that we have dreamt up together. An elevation is a 2D view and a 3D view.. well that’s self explanatory. 

Before starting the e-decorating process, clients are required to measure up and photograph their space, provide inspiration images and fill out a design questionnaire. This helps piece together the particular decorating puzzle and customize a solution that is just right for the client. It is also important to note that e-decorating in a concept service only. Once the design is complete, it is up to you to implement it in your own time. 



1. It saves you time
Because the e-decorating process is a virtual process, you do not need to take time out of your schedule to meet with a designer. You also don’t need to do any running around town. Most of the furniture and accessories that are being recommended to you will be available for purchase online which means no waiting in queues, carpark road rage or unhelpful salespeople!  

2. It saves you money
I sometimes get the impression that people think interior design is reserved on for the extremely wealthy. I think this is because traditionally designers charge sky high prices to work with you in-person - and when you think about it, this is totally reasonable. I mean designers are people too! They need to cover their shop rent, insurances, travel time, fuel costs etc etc. And designing takes a lot of (wo)man hours, especially when all the leg work and negotiation has to be done on-site. E-decorating is different though, yeah. No overheads means lower cost, making great design can be accessible to everyone. 

3. It’s so damn convenient
If technology can improve your quality of life, why wouldn’t you use it? If you can collaborate on a design project or shop for furniture during your lunch break or at 10pm at night in your pajamas, so you can have a full day at the beach on the weekend, I don’t see why you would say no.

4. It gives you the opportunity to be involved in your project
Another reason why people are reluctant to use professional designers is because they fear being steam-rolled, their ideas not listened and ending up with something that doesn’t at all match up with their personality or lifestyle. Sometimes, it really hard to tell someone face to face that you don’t think that the design is suitable or that you simply just don’t like it. Communicating over the net takes that fear away. It also makes it much easier to make revisions during the process. 

5. It gives you a sense of accomplishment
Working with a designer as opposed to being at the mercy of one means that this project is as much yours as it is theirs. This brings about a real sense of accomplishment. Sometimes we don’t have all the skills to make things happen but this doesn’t mean it these things can’t ever happen. We just need the guidance and expertise of someone we trust. 

6. It allows you to work with the best of the best
The world wide web is exactly that; world wide. This means that you have the ability to pick the cream of the crop - you’re not limited to your own city or state. You can find someone who has a particular design style that you love or someone who has met similar requirements to yours before. 

7. Your designer is only an email away
I don’t know about you, but it kind of gives me a sense of relief when I know that someone is easily contactable. I mean I keep regular business hours in my business but people can email me at any time and they can be confident in knowing that it will always get answered ASAP. Emails make it easy for you to communicate everything you are thinking right at that moment. You won’t forget the details and your designer can address all of your questions in a careful, considered and comprehensive manner. 

8. You can get as little or as much advice as you want
I offer three different e-decorating packages to my clients. This means that people can choose exactly how much help they need from me and make a purchase decision accordingly. I’m not a salesy type and I don’t want my clients feeling pushed to spend more than they have budgeted so by outlining the costs on my services page, my clients can make a decision that best suits them at the time. 

9.  It helps trades and others working on the job understand the design direction better
When I renovated our first house, I learnt a valuable lesson pretty quickly - not everyone has the same vision as you! I thought that by just telling the trades what I wanted, that I would come home to the exact picture that was in my head - but it just didn’t work out that way (and looking back now, it was so damn unrealistic)! I realised quick smart that I needed to put down on paper what I was thinking so that I could visually communicate exactly what I needed from them. As soon as I did this, things started to work out perfectly. Having a plan in place, a roadmap for how things need to be done to achieve your desired outcome sets clear expectations up front and makes the design process A LOT less stressful. Take it from someone who’s been there. 

10. It makes the decorating process worry-free and fun!
Having everything laid out ready to go before you even begin to paint the walls or rearrange the furniture will give you peace of mind and will make decorating fun - the way it is suppose to be! 

Well I hope I have cleared up a few things for you folks. I know that all this “e” stuff can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Anyway I’d love to know what you think of the e-decorating concept. Do you think it could work well for you? Do you think it sounds interesting? Remember I’m always here if you need more info - just send me an email here or holla over on social media. 

A very simple, merry Christmas

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The other day, my friends and I were discussing our Christmas Day plans with each other. We were all kind of saying how hectic it usually is and how there are just so many things to organise and do on the day (and none of us are even having people at our house - that would be a whole other story)! And I’m sure it’s like that for everyone. The holiday season has just become a condensed version of our “tech driven, work all hours, can’t say no to anyone” lives. 

I feel bad about this. I feel bad that back in the day, Christmas was about hanging out with family, late night drinks and chats with your best mates, crafting, making cookies for FUN and just relaxing and enjoying the summer rays. I realise that part of growing up (for most people) means letting go of some of these things… but I kind of refuse to buy into that. I kind of want to prioritise and preserve all those festivities and traditions that I hold so dear. I kind of reject the notion that I’m “too busy” to do the things I love - it just seems ludicrous! 

So, I’ve collected my thoughts on how to have a seriously rad Christmas and outlined them below. Maybe if you think it’s worth it, you could pick one or two and implement them this year - would be cool to hear about it if you do. 

1. Write a list - (or even better, create a spreadsheet)! 
This is pretty much a no-brainer. Get everything out of your head and down on paper immediately. It will give you a good overview of all the tasks that need doing between now and the big day and it will avoid overwhelm. I recently discovered an alternative to Excel that’s totally free - Google Sheets. Check it out, it’s awesome. Because it is run in the cloud, it automatically saves data, and it can be shared with others who you might need to delegate some jobs to. 

2. Buy your loved ones experiences rather than things
Some years ago, I made the decision to try to give more experience-based gifts rather than stuff. I really love giving something that will create memories rather than contribute to clutter. 

3. Bake for fun 
And while we are on the topic of doing stuff “just for fun”, why don’t you try making some cookies or a cake, not because you have to, but because it’s actually quite therapeutic.

4. Get organised before Christmas Eve so that you can enjoy it
Sometimes I think that Christmas Eve is actually way more enjoyable than the following day. There’s just something magical about it. Try getting completely organised before the 24th - relax and wind down before the whirlwind ahead. 

5. Make a gift for someone
Well of course I would suggest this! But seriously, how nice is it to give something that is handmade. It is the ultimate way to show your loved ones how much you care about them. Plus, the crafting process will force you to sit down for a few hours of quiet time for yourself. My top tip would be to make something small, simple, meaningful and something that won’t date (this follows on from the minimising clutter theme in point 2!). Even a handmade card or tag is lovely to receive - if you looking for ideas check out my Christmas printables course here.

Places you must visit in London (if you love design as much as I do)

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Old Spitalfields Market
I’ve visited a few markets in London and I think that Old Spitalfields is definitely the best for general atmosphere and finding treasures. It’s a great people watching spot. I would describe it as a really modern and trendy (without being too hipster-ish) version of an antique/handmade market surrounded by mainstream and not-so-mainstream shops.. a bit of something for everyone really. And, if you're hungry, this is the place to be - some really amazing restaurants and food stalls.

Museum of Brands
If you’re into graphic design, particularly product packaging and print advertising, this place is for you. There's tons of items on display (over 12,000!) dating back to the 1890’s to the present day. A visit to this museum will take you back in time, and is bound to have you reminiscing about your favourite childhood snacks.  

Buckingham Palace
I don't know how I stumbled across this fact, but I somehow discovered that Buckingham Palace was actually open to the public during the Summer months (when the Queen retreats to Balmoral Castle). I remember visiting London for the first time when I was 10 and dreaming about actually walking inside the stately home.. and much to my surprise, almost two decades later, this dream came true. I don’t really have any words to describe exactly how beautiful this Palace’s interior is (the small portion that I was allowed to see was amazing - I can only imagine what the rest of the “house” is like). It actually brought tears to my eyes. If you are in London between July and September, you simply must pay a visit. 

Selfridges, Oxford Street
Selfridge & Co is one of the most quintessential department stores in the UK, and its flagship store in London is a fab place to explore.. And given that it is the second largest store in the city after Harrods, there is A LOT of exploring to do! From a design perspective, I loved visiting the homewares and stationery sections but I found that the store had many different displays and installations (particularly lighting) that were visually spectacular. 

Fortnum & Mason
Continuing with the shop theme, I recommend stopping by Fortnum’s in Piccadilly. It has been open since 1707 - can you believe that? The ground floor, where the tea and confectionery sections are situated is meticulously set up and the facade and front windows are always beautifully decorated. They currently have an ‘Alice in Wonderland - Through The Looking Glass’ window at the moment - check out this Insta post.

M&S Simply Food/Food Hall
This one might come as a surprise coz the Marks and Spencer Food Hall is “just a grocery store” but every time I go to M&S I am always so impressed with their (and their suppliers’) packaging (I am also in love with what they choose to stock) - individual servings of trifle and plastic glasses of wine - genius)!. Usually I find going to supermarkets mind numbingly boring and I avoid grocery shopping like the plague (online shopping is a god-send) but I actually find that I quite like a visit to this particular food hall. M&S branding is on point and totally stylish.