Over the past five years, it’s been fascinating to watch the world of interior design react to the democratization of decorating. As information and access to products becomes more and more readily available, people are becoming more empowered and confident to decorate their own homes and buy products directly from designers on their own. I think some of the smartest designers have found a way to adapt to this development by offering versions of their services that are aimed at helping people who want their advise and expertise, but don’t have a six-figure budget and a full year to spend on a single space.
The “designer in a box” concept has been popular for a few years now because it gives people access to talented professionals, but lets them control their budget, input and time more than ever. We’ve seen a few versions come into the market, but I think this new option, from former Commune designer Nadia Haddad, is the best I’ve seen yet.
After moving back to her hometown of Minneapolis, Nadia decided to start her own design firm, NH-ID, and launch a product that would let people work with her from afar, but still get access to her incredible talent, experience and product contacts. Nadia’s ID-book can be purchased in a wide range of levels (from a small entryway project to several rooms at once) and results in a customized interior plan being mailed back to you, complete with samples of fabric, wallpaper, paint and inspiration products that would be perfect for your space. I think Nadia’s style is really fantastic and I can’t wait to see the beautiful homes that result from her consultation. I was really curious to hear more about her work, what inspires her and how this new project developed, so I asked her a few questions she was kind enough to answer below. Thanks so much to Nadia for taking the time to speak with me! xo, grace
Click through for the full interview (and Nadia’s go-to brands/products) after the jump!
D*S: What inspired you to start ID-book? What needs did you feel it was meeting outside of or beyond the traditional interior designer/client relationship?
Nadia: When I worked on the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs with Commune Design, we developed a Spec book for everyone to use (More about that here), I’ve used that template on so many of my larger projects from restaurants to office spaces since then, because it so brilliant and easy to use. When I realized I could use the spec book template on smaller projects such as houses or even tiny bathrooms, that’s when the seed was planted for ID-book.
ID-book is great for people out there that are interested in doing their spaces themselves but just need a little hand, or for people on a budget, it’s nice to offer a cost effective alternative to a full-scale project.
I was also receiving requests from people wanting to work with me, but they lived outside of the Twin Cities, these were projects I wanted to work on but the budget didn’t allow for me to fly, and be set up in another city, so I needed to come up with options for them. ID-book can go anywhere!
D*S: What is the biggest challenge with working remotely with a client?
Nadia: Not seeing the space first hand, can sometimes be challenging (photos and Skyping help), but as weird as this may sound, things like air quality, a breeze, seeing how the natural light changes throughout the day creates an effect on the space… it gives you a sense of space. I take all of it into consideration. Also, not being able to shake someone’s hand or high five when you find the perfect rug… that’s kind of a bummer.
D*S: What is the most common problem/challenge you find with clients?
Nadia: At the beginning of a project, I think everyone is wondering what the TOTAL cost will be in the end. It’s a hard thing to calculate, it gets done, but it can be challenging. I love ID-book for just that reason, it’s a flat fee, so there is no questioning how much the design service will be.
D*S: How does the process with ID book work from start to finish?
It’s so simple!
1. Purchase a book, (large or small depending on what you’re looking for, more detail or just a little help).
2. I’ll email you and do a little introduction.
3. Measure, photograph and collect inspiration of your space and for your space, then send me all the information.
4. I’ll start designing.
5. 4-8 weeks later (depending on which book you’ve purchased), you’ll receive your ID-book in the mail. It will have everything you need in order to create your space. During the design process we’ll chat and discuss different items and solutions, so that you know you’ll be getting a book that’s perfect for you.
D*S: Where do you look most for inspiration these days?
Nadia: My awe inspiring, creative friends are such great sources of inspiration, Michelle (Mille), Emily (Dulldiamond), Jen (Polka Dot Club), and Kelly (Cheeriup). We are all women (creative) business owners… and owning your own business is no laughing matter, but somehow we always are. We share inspiring things that we’ve seen, heard or read about. It’s endless inspiration…
World of Interiors… they just do it perfectly. Apartamento, T-magazine, another endless list of inspiration.
Travel, I’ve been doing it all my life (thanks mom and dad!), nothing, I mean nothing makes me more inspired than a new landscape and experiencing how people live in different environments.
I think that’s why I like Freunde Von Freunden, I just like getting glimpse’s of peoples lives and how they live in them.
The desert. Could be the fact that I’m half Syrian and the desert runs in my blood, but for me the desert is like a blank canvas and my mind clears. It’s inspiring to see beauty in minimal landscapes.
Art, art, and more art.
Instagram: for a visual junky like me, it’s pretty great.
D*S: Do you have any go-to pieces of furniture (or accessories/decor) that you like to use because you trust them and know they’ll work? Or any go-to brand?
Nadia: I use a lot of Linen and Rosebrand does an amazing and affordable linen, plus it comes in 120”wide!
Urban Electric Company lighting is beautiful and it’s great quality.
I always use vintage/antique furniture and check my favorite dealers first. It has a quality about it that you cannot find in new furniture. Plus I trust that if it’s in good condition after 20-100+ years, I’m pretty sure it can withstand a few more years of living and loving.
Restoration Hardware Belgium Track Arm sofa, this sofa is crazy comfortable and comes in a “luxe” depth and down fill. There are so many configurations you can always find a size that works.
Jute rugs… just work, alone or as a base for other rugs. I’ll never tire of them, they are a classic, from a tatami mat to a pottery barn rug they work in just about every room.