Award-winning interior designer Kim Armstrong was facing a conundrum. How could she help budget-conscious clients achieve their design dreams while still protecting her own interests? After all, it doesn’t matter how much you like someone, she had a business to run, and a lady’s gotta get paid. Then a light bulb clicked on and Inbox Interiors was born.
“It kind of happened organically,” Armstrong said. “I would get really excited about a client and once we started talking pricing, I’d realize that my full service was a little bit out of reach. And then we’re both disappointed! Some of my clients really would love a full-service Kim Armstrong design, but can’t afford it at this stage in their lives. And so this provides a great opportunity for the client and for me. It really caters to a market that might not be ready for the full service just yet.”
With services beginning at $3,500 per room, the Inbox Interiors process begins in a similar fashion to working with her full-service interior design clients. They meet, get an idea of the space, the client’s tastes, and budget, and then come up with a design plan. Armstrong heads back to her studio where she creates a custom design using designer products, and then draws up work orders for procurement. The next step is where Inbox Interiors goes a little off the beaten path.
“I email the client the final design with all the links to the products and the work orders on how to complete the project,” said Armstrong. “And from there, it’s up to them to complete the room.”
For client Sara Rapier, that step was a bit of a challenge – but a welcome one.
“I was in charge of scheduling. That meant I had to take the initiative and I’m sort of a procrastinator,” Rapier confessed. “It does take some action on my part. I’m not just writing a check. I had some responsibility to get the project going and keep it on schedule.”
Great Design With More Flexibility
When a homeowner sets their own procurement schedule, it also allows more flexibility to prioritize.
“That’s the great thing,” said Armstrong. “They can really pace the project as they want to and as they can afford it. They can execute it as quickly or as slowly as they wish. This is perfect for clients who really value the knowledge, the artistic touch that a professional designer brings, but who want to be part of the process.”
Inbox Interiors doesn’t just create the beautiful, bold spaces that Armstrong is known for. Rapier can attest that her dining room wasn’t the only thing to change while working with Armstrong.
“She really pushed me to put my own influence on the space – my own taste,” she said. “I really liked being part of the design process and that is so strange to me because I do not have a creative bone in my body. I am not a good decorator at all.” And in the end, this unique, hands-on approach gave Rapier more tools in her decorating arsenal. “Now, I think any time I’m going to take on a whole room, I’ll bring Kim back because she has that eye. But it really opened up my eyes.”
Which is not to say the final product isn’t really what it’s all about.
“It is absolutely gorgeous,” said Rapier of her finished dining room. It’s in the middle of our house so I have to walk through it dozens of times a day. When people walk through our front door, it’s the first thing they see. I wanted it to be bold and impressive. And I think we achieved that. I used to hate this room. It used to be my least favorite room in the house and now it’s my favorite.”