The Designers Group CEO on how COVID-19 has changed interior design


Blima Ehrentreu is the founder and CEO of The Designers Group, an interior design company with workplaces in Toronto, New York, and Miami. She spoke to Doreen Lorenzo for Designing Women, a chain of interviews with good ladies within the design business.

Doreen Lorenzo: Have you all the time been enthusiastic about design? What led you down this trail?

Blima Ehrentreu: I all the time had a zeal to create, make stronger, and best possible. As a child, I sought after to be all for anything else visible. After graduating with a grasp’s stage in interior structure and design, I got to work at an architectural company. That’s the place I realized how to paintings with drawings and plans, and the technical facet of design. In 2009, I based The Designers Group with any other dressmaker—and what began as a two-woman company in Toronto has since blossomed into a world company with places in Toronto, New York, and Miami. At TDG, we consider that design is set discovering and developing sure power in areas to inspire productiveness and creativity in each and every method imaginable.

Blima Ehrentreu [Photo: courtesy The Designers Group]

DL: Do you method tasks in a different way from business to business, like from healthcare to residential?

BE: I consider that we will be informed from each and every business and produce other aspects from other sectors into the areas that we’re operating on. For instance, maximum nursing houses have drab and sterile environments, so we took our healthcare tasks and approached them from a hospitality perspective the place we designed gorgeous lobbies with hallways that gave the impression of resort corridors. Similarly, with the place of business areas we design, we deliver within the heat from our residential tasks by means of including lounges that make folks really feel at house and extra relaxed. Design could be very fluid. Bringing the most productive portions of various sectors into others and making all of them paintings in combination is helping us get a hold of unique and cutting edge areas.

DL: Given the entirety that’s going down on this planet, how is design converting?

BE: We used to method the design of areas with the purpose of bringing folks in combination. Whether we had been operating on residential amenity areas, place of business paintings spaces, or senior communities, the theory was once to deliver concepts, hearts, and minds in combination. However, following the pandemic, this crucial side has changed. The design basics are nonetheless there, however now we’re extra centered on designing whilst keeping up optimum protection protocols of distancing and proscribing social gatherings. We’ve been doing a ton of study on how this pandemic will impact our long run interior setting and feature been advising our shoppers thru new social distancing laws. By assessing and examining their areas, we’ve been updating them with sensible generation options, antimicrobial fabrics, and proscribing the requirement of touch.

[Photo: courtesy The Designers Group]

DL: What’s your management taste like?

BE: I need to create an atmosphere the place everybody feels relaxed, and everybody feels necessary. I’m a large believer in a group effort and everybody operating in combination; alternatively, I additionally suppose the individual in price units the tone. It’s crucial to provide folks a voice and foster an atmosphere the place folks’s creativity can flourish. I’ve witnessed some poisonous paintings environments, and I’ve a zero-tolerance coverage for that.

Especially now, right through a virus, you’re in a position to peer the kind of team of workers that you’ve. There was once a time once I wasn’t certain what was once going to occur. Will I’ve to put everybody off? Will we have the ability to push thru this slowly? But my group was once all there for me. At this level, one of the most group is again operating within the place of business, and others are nonetheless operating remotely, however right through the unknown duration, I used to be in a position to peer that my team of workers cared and would do no matter was once had to push thru in combination. And I believe that that’s as a result of they really feel like I’d do this for them.

[Photo: courtesy The Designers Group]

[Photo: courtesy The Designers Group]

DL: How do you persuade a shopper {that a} new thought is a good suggestion?

BE: We love to construct relationships and have a tendency to have shoppers who’re builders or house owners with a couple of tasks. We have an ideal group in position, an ideal procedure in position, and when we’re operating with a shopper, they usually see how devoted we’re to their tasks, they agree with us. I take into account the primary time I needed to persuade a shopper to construct a room for programs when on-line deliveries weren’t as commonplace—now he sees what an ideal thought it was once! Our shoppers like being cutting edge and attempting new concepts, and we’re conscious that what we recommend isn’t too pricey.

[Photo: courtesy The Designers Group]

DL: How do you method the subject of environmental sustainability along with your shoppers?

BE: Sustainability is a large deal for us as designers, as a result of we actually care in regards to the setting round us. I all the time inform our shoppers that the preliminary funding to make their challenge sustainable may well be somewhat upper, however it will pay off finally. A couple of years again, LED lights was once much more dear than the usual fluorescent lights. All those that applied LED fixtures again then are seeing decrease electrical expenses, and many of us are switching over as a result of incentives introduced. In normal, I see that individuals are figuring out how necessary sustainability is and figuring out how the surroundings impacts us. Today, many companies are placing numerous center of attention into giving again. It’s great to peer everybody coming in combination, worrying in regards to the setting, and seeking to assist each and every different out. We’re certainly getting into the precise path.

[Photo: courtesy The Designers Group]

DL: What do you inform up-and-coming designers nowadays? What recommendation would you give them?

BE: Believe to your targets, agree with the method, and be informed out of your errors. People will depend on you to make selections, and you’re going to make errors. With numerous my junior designers, I in finding that they’re scared to make selections. They’ll question me each and every element and I say to them, “Listen, I agree with you. You will make a mistake. That’s ok, however provided that you be informed from the ones errors.”

I take into account my first residential challenge; we ordered a settee and had been so eager about it. It have compatibility the gap completely, alternatively when it was once delivered, the settee didn’t have compatibility in the course of the door body. Now, any time I order a work of furnishings, I all the time be sure that it’s going to have compatibility thru no matter doors are in that challenge.


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