In an era when you can buy everything from groceries and cars to houses online, it’s no surprise that you can also work with interior designers to decorate that home via the web.
Roomsecret.com, an online interior design service in Greenwich owned and operated by mother-daughter duo Brooke and Elise Garden, allows clients to “shop” living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and so on that have been designed by the likes of Natalie Myers and HGTV’s Amy Elbaum. Rather than having to spend the time and considerable money doing an entire house – as is usually the case when working one-on-one with designers – homeowners can choose to do a room, or even an item, at a time.
“I’d worked with interior designers in the past,” Brooke Garden said, “and felt that the experience could be very frustrating at times. Especially with young couples who’ve bought their first home. They may not be able to afford to do entire rooms. And for most designers, doing only a room at a time doesn’t make a lot of sense, given how often they have to travel back and forth to meet the client, do the measuring and the installations.
“People today also don’t always have the time to sit down with designers,” she continued. “They have to work or deal with their kids. This way they can sit down at night, scroll through our gallery, find a designer they like and go at their own pace.”
While Myers and Elbaum work in the modern style, Elise Garden said, “We have more coming down the pike. Our goal is to bring our interior designs to different parts of the country and reach more people with options that are attractive and attainable for everyone.”
Ideas are presented on Roomsecret via photographs of staged rooms, from which clients can choose elements of their liking. Prices vary, with Myers’ featured living room listing at $122 for an artisanal pillow to $3,400 for a sofa. Some items also include a handling fee.
Elise Garden said the designers receive a percentage of the profits from each of their designs that sell, along with increased exposure of their wares.
Roomsecret also offers a concierge service, working with clients who send in their preferred design elements, room measurements and photos. The company offers a free initial consult, as well as on-site visits for clients near or around the tri-state area, a design presentation with one complimentary revision and regular communication via phone, email, video chat or in-person at $150 an hour.
“We want to help them if they need it,” Brooke Garden said, “but a lot of people want to figure it out on their own.”
Since launching a year ago, business has been growing steadily, she added. Since the pair recently installed three rooms for celebrity gymnast Shawn Johnson and her husband in Nashville — and posted the results on Instagram — “we’ve been getting all sorts of new clients,” Brooke Garden said.
Brooke Garden also operates Garden Rescues in Stamford, a shelter for abandoned and abused dogs. She noted that, as opposed to many shelters, the dogs live in rooms.
“I’ve always been a dog lover,” she said, “and I was getting more and more stressed over how dogs are treated all over the world. In general, we’re pretty negligent in the U.S. I felt there was a better way to approach it, and helping dogs find a permanent home in this way is very rewarding.”