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When a family living in Dubai purchased a summer home in Michigan, they knew exactly where to go for design services. They contacted Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design and consulted with interior designer Zeina Halwani, who designed their entire home before the couple returned to the United States.

Thanks to a wide range of technology, Halwani was able to consult virtually with the family. She used FaceTime to show samples, and she worked with a variety of design programs to bring the rooms to life via sketches and 3D renderings.

“I did the entire house like that,” said Halwani, who has 18 years of interior design experience with Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design, which has locations throughout metro Detroit and in Grand Rapids. “The first time they saw the house was when it was done. They loved it — it was like a dream come true for them.”

Technology has changed the way that interior designers work with clients, and at Gorman’s, it allows designers to provide the same first-class service and expertise — no matter where their clients or their homes are located.

“With technology, we are able to provide our clients with a more interactive and customized design experience,” Halwani said.

Starting from the ground up

When working virtually, Halwani often uses her design expertise before construction begins. She works directly with the architects and contractors to view floor plans and make recommendations before they start building.

“I then work with the contractor to select the materials — from the floors, tile and moldings to the faucets and furniture — and share them with my clients,” she said. “I do a lot of it virtually. The technology gives us that opportunity.”

When working with clients who live out of town, she requests floor plans and begins by sketching the design for a room or home. She emails the sketches to her clients and follows up by phone. From there, she uses a wide range of design programs — everything from Photoshop to 3ds Max — to refine the design.

When it’s time to select woods or tiles, Halwani schedules a FaceTime call so she can show and explain how the materials go together. When she’s shopping for artwork, she will email photos. Similarly, to show a particular furniture piece or fabric sample, she turns to technology — sometimes even placing an image of that particular piece within a virtual floor plan.

“From the drawing to the actual materials, my clients are able to see the design,” she said. “I’m there for my clients’ needs, no matter how big or how small.”

Repeat clientele

Many of Halwani’s clients have worked with her before. Often, she designed their first home and they are consulting with her for a new home or a vacation home. And in some cases, she is doing design work for their children or other family members — whether it’s an entire home or simply a few suggestions for furniture.

“Time is important, and many clients don’t have the time to come to the store and shop,” she said. “I do the research myself, find out what they need and get a sense of their style. I begin to understand what works and what doesn’t and can narrow it down. I’ll then send them links to [products] online, so they can decide.”

Recently she worked with a repeat client who was purchasing a home in New Mexico. Halwani and Gorman’s took care of every detail — from requesting the floor plans from the contractors to shipping the furniture and delivering it to the client’s home.

“It makes it easy for them,” she said. “Technology has really changed the way we work with clients. When I started working at Gorman’s 18 years ago, it was very different. Clients had to come in to view samples and look at floor plans. Today, with technology, we can provide these services without our clients ever having to leave their house.”

Learn how Gorman’s Home Furnishings & Interior Design can help you virtually design a space today.

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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