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From online banking to a variety of goods and services available on the Internet, it’s no wonder interior designers have joined the virtual ranks. For a flat fee of $299 (classic) or $499 (premium), Laurel & Wolf connects individuals with professionals in the field.

Their four-step process begins with clients taking a style quiz, answering questions about their space, taste and budget and uploading photos and dimensions of their floor plan.

Next, multiple designers review the information and submit style boards. Clients choose their favorite concept and are paired with their designer.

Then, they work together to perfect the space using the online platform. Once clients are pleased with the design, they receive a complete shopping list, floor plan, final style board and setup instructions.

Laurel & Wolf also offers a complimentary option for managing all online purchasing and delivery that provides details like tracking numbers and arrival dates.

Two local designers available through the site weighed in on the pros and cons of online design via email. Kelly Gibson, principal designer with Kelly Gibson Interior Design in South Lyon, says, “The biggest challenge is relying on my clients to be my ‘eyes’ since I am not physically walking through the space.”

On the plus side is convenience. “Time saved by both the client and myself. No drive time. No scheduled appointments. No interruptions. Huge cost savings,” she says.

“Designing through Laurel & Wolf has allowed me to connect with clients all over the country. It has been very rewarding for me on a personal level to get to know people from all walks of life and budgets big or small,” says Gibson. “From grand-scale new construction to updating a guest room for the in-laws, it is incredibly satisfying when they allow me to be a part of that transformation.”

Taylor-based interior designer Jennifer MacArthur says, “The hardest part of designing online is not being able to experience the space in person and not getting to meet clients face to face. It can be a challenge to get a good sense of a client’s personality and style over the Internet. You have to figure out the right questions to ask.”

The best part, she says, is being able to design for clients all over the country and not being limited to business hours. “As a new designer, I love that I can work online. Laurel & Wolf takes care of the business side so all I have to worry about is giving my clients a great design. They have made it into a very quick and easy process for both the client and the designer.”

Her favorite design dilemma is working within a budget. “I love helping a client that has expensive taste achieve a beautiful design within a lower price point,” MacArthur says. “With online interior design, it is easy to shop around to find the best pieces at the best prices to stay within a client’s budget.”

For information, go to laurelandwolf.com.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at  jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.

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