Inside: Design Studio 360
[ Floor to Ceiling Carpet One’s Interior Design Division ]
Story by Alexis Swenson
Photography by Micah Zimmerman, Amdak Productions
Welcome to Design Studio 360, Floor to Ceiling Carpet One's newly branded interior design division. Housed within the same building as their Fargo store and showroom, the division has continued to expand and now offers the expertise of eight interior designers. Their growing team is educated to assist clients with selections in the showroom, or make a house call to plan your next great project. This month, we're showing you their full spectrum of services, custom-designed to better connect clients with the latest trends, product and rendering technology, new construction and renovation solutions.
Design Studio 360 is led by Rebecca Knutson, Principle Interior Designer and Design Studio Manager. Throughout her 14 years at Floor to Ceiling Carpet One, Knutson has seen firsthand how the design studio has evolved and continues to grow. Expansion was always on the horizon with increases in project scope and clientele requests for one-on-one interior design services. This growth would take their commercial and residential projects full circle.
Although the team branded the division in 2017 as Design Studio 360, this year was the year to debut it to the public. "Each of the designers have their own projects and clients, but they're still able to assist clients in the showroom. The Studio has consistently had five or six interior designers, but now we’re up to eight, which is not including the designers we have on our retail sales floor. It’s been a really nice, steady growth of workflow and project size which required hiring. We’ve repeatedly added interior designers, almost yearly,” said Knutson.
“We work primarily in North Dakota and Minnesota, although we’ve done a few projects in South Dakota, too. Over the last four years, we’ve advised or ordered products for projects in New Hampshire, Oregon, Colorado, California and Florida. With more advanced technology, we can do nearly anything through images and email,” said Knutson.
The Studio currently utilizes programs such as 2020 Technologies, Sketchup, and Bluebeam to create drawings and 3D renderings. Knutson's even used Facetime to advise when she couldn’t be on the job site in-person. When the job requires more visuals, the team will compose PowerPoint presentations packed with sketches, product images and renderings to paint a picture of the project’s design intent.
360 Degrees of Design
With the establishment of Design Studio 360, Floor to Ceiling Carpet One has truly become a one stop shop, offering design services and a plethora of commercial grade and residential product lines in its 15,000 square foot showroom. Lines range from flooring and tile, ceiling and acoustic panels, window treatments, countertops, and a whopping 13 lines of cabinetry.
“Our showroom displays are a tool used in exploring new ideas and finishes, but most importantly educating our homeowners," said Knutson. "Education is a huge part of our process - to learn product construction and installation options, but also educate our customers on price point differences, then add the layers of product management that go together to make the project’s construction flow. Our goal is to keep the client’s budget intact for their project while executing the design intent and being ‘on call’ to them as well as their contractor. This is also why we work in teams throughout our retail, installation, and design divisions.”
According to Knutson, clients can expect a thorough design experience from start to finish. First, an interior designer meets with the client to gain an understanding of the needs and project vision. Next, they're guided into product selection where they are educated on the latest products in a variety of price ranges. After choosing selections, the whole project is designed, giving clients a starting point and presenting the model while negotiating any revisions. Often, this presentation of the initial design and costs will include the client’s team which can consist of their retail sales professional and a designer from Design Studio 360.
There are typically a few additional rounds of presentations before finalizing the project and ordering product. If a client chooses product sourced from Floor to Ceiling, the design services are complimentary. If they request to work with one of their designers, but purchase elsewhere, then hourly design fees would apply.
Construction Savvy = Design Savvy
Understanding construction as well as the type of products and the pricing of the products is essential to a smooth design process. “As interior designers, we learn construction codes and construction documents; it’s not all fluff. You need that to tie it all together and make it look pretty, but I like to say that we 'product manage' our jobs," said Knutson. "We have to understand the layers of installation - that is a portion our very deep-rooted background. We understand how our tile installers are going to speak to our carpet installers, and how they are going to work for the client and construction manager. It's things like learning subfloor requirements for a particular tile install - the not beautiful, but meaty elements that need to be understood for a smooth install."
1. Brassy & Black
Cabinetry crazes are still pairing perfectly with black matte and brass hardware, antique brass lighting and even plumbing. It's safe to say, black is staying put and antique brass is the new gold. Sleek, Mid-century shapes and colors are still number one in trending styles.
2. Counting on your Counter
There are endless countertop options - really, anything from cost-efficient laminate, to natural stone and man-made stone, so getting an expert's advice on materials is a must. Still popular are the oiled walnut butcher blocks, alone or with stone, and utilizing products such as Corian to achieve a seamless countertop with a more substantial appearance in thickness.
3. Scandinavian Influence
According to Knutson, color and patterns have begun to shift, along with a return to heavier textures and wood. Gray is still popular, but Charcoal navy tones seem to be this year's emerging trend. If you choose gray, she recommends incorporating a natural wood to create warmth. The stains are trending a bit lighter with white-washing techniques on oak and there's definitely a Scandinavian influence within the latest cabinetry designs. "Although espresso stains are still beautiful, clients seem to be choosing more mid to medium-toned brown stains these days," explained Knutson.
4. Patterned & Painted
Over the past few years, their team has seen a massive uptick in requests for custom painted cabinetry in all different shades of blue, navy, yellow, jade green and even cooler mint greens - especially on islands. According to Knutson, wallpaper requests are still steadily growing with many clients opting for mod patterns and vintage designs.
5. Waterproofing your Walk
While waterproof and water resistant flooring are highly sought after, there are endless options and explanations behind their care, durability and technology. “Waterproof floors are amazing, but they're a vinyl product so they can scratch. Laminate is trying to keep up with it, but it’s a harder surface so there’s pros and cons,” said Knutson. In patterns and styles, the team is also seeing a lot of interesting plank widths, extremely realistic wood designs, along with install patterns like herringbone and vintage parquet making a comeback. "With Mediterranean and bohemian influences, patterns are showing up in all product categories," said Knutson.
Design Studio 360: Meet the Team
For more information, contact:
Design Studio 360
Rebecca Knutson, CID
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