Designing For the Future
Elif Karacay is a Senior Designer of Norman Design Group and a professional member of ASID and NCIDQ certified. Elif joined Norman Design Group in 2008, prior to that she worked in a New York-based firm for 5 years.
Norman Design Group is a seven-person design firm located near the beach in Southern California that creates custom interiors designed to capture each client’s essence while standing the test of time.
Norman Designs mantra is, “A home should wrap its arms around you and welcome you home from the chaotic world.” Norman Design is small enough to give each client personalized attention while large enough to provide in-depth project management.
Connected Design talked to Elif about working with technology home professionals, what is important to today’s homeowners and the responsibility of creating the perfect world one client at a time.
Connected Design: What does today’s homeowner really demand in a living environment and who is your typical client?
Elif Karacay: Our client’s homes start at a minimum of 4,000 to 5,000 square feet and up to 20,000 square feet. Today’s interior design styles reflect easy maintenance, comfort, relaxation, minimal time spent cleaning and on mundane tasks. More time spent with family and friends. Indeed many of our clients are young families who want a more homey design and not overly fussy ornamentation. The coast is more relaxed with simplified details and less heavy designs. This could be a reflection of our crazy chaotic lifestyles; we want it easy at home.
Connected Design: How has incorporating technology into the home changed how you work?
EK: Technology in the home is a given now. We work hand-in-hand with the AV consultant or home technology professional.
It is a mixed bag of how we meet these professionals now. The client sometimes has the same home technology professional for years, or the contractor brings someone in or we do if the client doesn’t have anyone. At any rate, there is always a home technology professional involved. We have several home technology professional teams that we are very comfortable recommending to our clients.
We do new construction, so yes, lighting, drapery and shading control are in every home we design. With the hot Southern California sun, the interiors must have protection from all of the scorching rays that could damage our interior finishes. All our clients use some form of automation and security systems, this is never a question and nowadays it is just expected and built into the design after discussions with the client as to their tech needs. Some clients want the least amount of tech possible, with just an old-fashioned wall toggle switch while others embrace technology and want the latest in every type of control and automation.
Connected Design: Where are many of your clients getting their inspiration from these days?
EK: So many people are traveling now and many times they head to resorts and spas and the want their homes to reflect the peace and tranquility they experienced there. It is almost like they want to bring a piece of their vacation home with them and implement it into their everyday lives.
Connected Design: Your responsibility on some of these huge projects is immense; some taking years to complete. How do you consistently get it right, especially when there are so many trades involved?
EK: It’s all in the details. Constant communication and documentation are key. We work closely with our clients on every project, educating them about the design process so they can make intelligent choices for their home.
For example, the recent trend in outdoor living. It really is a mixed bag if we need to educate our clients about outdoor a/v and lighting design…most of our clients are affluent and have been exposed to this, but we always need to make sure. The exterior ambiance is so important and we want our clients to enjoy a full lifestyle experience for as long as they own their home.”