The Modern Life: Long-Distance Decorating

An interior designer and his client furnish a Zurich apartment using up-to-date technology Written by Peter Terzian.

When Elena Vinarsky was looking to decorate her new apartment in Zurich, Switzerland, she surprised her friends by hiring Val Nikitin, an interior designer based halfway around the globe. A consultant who sometimes travels as often as three weeks per month, Vinarsky wasn’t able to schedule regular face-to-face meetings with a local decorator. She met Nikitin on a trip to New York, where he lives and works, and the pair agreed to collaborate on her Swiss home via e-mail.
During online brainstorming sessions, Vinarsky showed Nikitin examples of art and furniture that she already owned, as well as sending him “before” pictures and a floor plan. In return, he sent her sketches and ideas for furniture and lighting options. Using her laptop and BlackBerry, the globe-trotting Vinarsky was available to reply anytime, anyplace. The process was much shorter than working with a client in person, says Nikitin, because instead of setting up live meetings, he and Vinarsky were able to quickly bat ideas back and forth. “It was a match from the very beginning—that was most important,” says Vinarsky. “We’re still in touch. I write him whenever I buy something new, asking him where to place it.”
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