Go behind-the-scenes with Megan Hopp as she tells us about the process behind designing models Alana Zimmer and Nick Rea's East Village apartment.
Photos by Sean Litchfield.
Megan! Congrats on a beautiful finished project. Tell us… was designing for two well-known models tough? Were they very high maintenance?
“NO! This was one of the most amazingly easy and satisfying client experiences I have ever had in that I was given absolute agency to execute my vision. Plus, Alana and Nick were INCREDIBLY handy, proactive, and capable. Nick built the living room shelves himself, for example. It was like having an in-home contractor who was super pumped and invested in the job.”
Amazing! So what was the timeline like on this project?
“It was quick considering the to-do list, about two months total from start to finish. Alana was really realistic about lead times and such. We expedited a few things including the wallpaper, and I was really mindful about sourcing pieces in stock.”
Two months is insane! How did you and the clients collaborate to meet that deadline?
“For all projects, I send my clients options for each individual piece I’m looking for (notating favorites), and then suggest a top combination that would be my ideal design. Alana and Nick were really easy because they generally went with my top suggestions, and only asked for additional sourcing once. Alana was VERY productive when it came to the install phase. It wasn’t difficult to keep a rapid pace of productivity, because she did her homework through and through. Anything that she could do on her own (make a time with a painter, send a few measurements to the wallpaper company, etc.), she would do. Nick also built the entire wall of shelving in only a few days. I practically wept! It was so easy to make this happen with his work that I could barely believe it (not a normal situation as we all know). He might start building for some of my other clients now in fact!”
Wow, they sound like a DREAM! Did you ever encounter any issues at all?
“Well, there is a downstairs that leads to a private back yard, and I really wanted to create a fort den indoor/outdoor type of vibe, but Alana and Nick were in such a bind time-wise. They really wanted to focus all attention to the upstairs. I convinced them to layer in a few new accent pieces and lighting, but there is so much more I’d love to do.”
And since you were working with only a two-month timeline, you must’ve had some sourcing nightmares?
“Not too bad, actually! We had some silk rug drama, where every rug we wanted was back-ordered until the end of time. Due to the strict timing, we landed on the Jonathan Adler piece which worked with the design and was readily available.”
You know, it’s amazing that in two months you were able to snag a custom wallpaper though!
“It’s a Calico Wallpaper custom mural. It had a big price tag, but Alana saw the value from the start. We both viewed the wall as a huge piece of fine art, as opposed to background décor. I have to admit that I had been itching to use one of the vendor’s papers. When I saw Alana and Nick’s bedroom, it was like ding ding this is the room! Alana and Nick were really open to what I showed them, and we all got on the same page really fast. Calico then gave us a mock-up of the mural, and we said go for it. When the paper arrived, it was far more lavender and glittery than we had expected, but once it was up, we all just stood really close to the wall examining the various sparkles. We were all in agreement. So cool!”
What else do you absolutely LOVE in the project?
“The table lamp from Rejuvenation. I’ve been OBSESSED with this glass lamp forever, so I was so thrilled to use it. And not to mention, I was really happy to see that the clients found it to be as special as I did!”
So all in all, after two months, what all did you accomplish?
“In that time, we replaced all of the accent furniture they had (side tables and chairs, dining furniture); redid the design of the space with rugs, lighting, objects, and wall décor; and we also wallpapered and painted (including those barn doors).
And we’re sure they’ll have you back to redesign that downstairs area soon!