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'I think that's the key now': Interior designers say this skill is vital to working remotely

The COVID-19 pandemic forced interior designers to do something they'd never thought of trying: designing rooms without ever setting foot inside.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The past year has taught us that you can do almost anything virtually — even interior design — without being in the actual room. 

With that in mind, many Charlotte interior designers have rebuilt their businesses as we come out of the pandemic.

"We had to get very creative," Gary Inman said. 

Interior designers are used to being creative but two Charlotte-based designers had to do some out-of-the-box thinking at the start of COVID-19 as they had to do their work virtually. 

"Back in the day you never thought about how you could do this when one person is here and the other person is there," said Monika Nessbach. 

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Like everyone else, the pandemic forced these two designers to work remotely. And believe it or not, it actually worked. 

"Essentially, you can design off of a floor plan as long as you know the basics," Nessbach explained. "The size of the room, ceiling heights, where the windows are. You can design anything from anywhere."

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Nessbach and Inman admit they prefer working in person with their clients but have realized that working virtually means they can grow their business in unexpected ways. 

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"We've been doing a lot more virtually, particularly on the hotel side," Inman said. "Companies are doing a version of this where they're not physically in the same location. Hilton has people all over the country, and we thought this could be a really great formula for a design firm."

Working remotely also means developing new skills. 

"Before, we were able to see things and now we have to ask the right questions to understand the client and know what they're all about and what their story is, and what story they want to be told," Nessbach said. "I think that's the key now, it's communication."

"I think it's been a paradigm shift," Inman said. "I think we've just seen a shift in the way design will go forward."

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Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.