Style Talk: Windsor Smith

Windsor Smith

I am so excited to bring you today’s Style Talk interview with interior designer Windsor Smith!  I have been a fan of Windsor’s work for years.  Her design are impeccable.  And today Windsor is letting AphroChic readers know about her brand new design service, Room In A Box.  A revolutionary design concept, different and new from many of the e-decorating services you’ve heard of, Windsor is working to ensure that everyone, no matter what type of budget they have, can bring beautiful design home.

Windsor Smith home

1. Tell us about Room In A Box. How did you come up with the concept?

Room In A Box was born out of a desire to provide more beautiful rooms to a wider audience than the elite few that could afford the luxury of a top shelf decorator. Over the years we have been inundated with calls from people desiring our aesthetic and luxury product but were looking for a new, more fluid, more transparent, more affordable way to accomplish that than the ordinary client/designer relationship. We were looking for a solution to that need. I sensed a complete shift that would allow more people to get in on decoration, and we wanted to commandeer that shift and position ourselves at the helm of it. In a nutshell, provides our online client with all of the components one would receive in a typical designer relationship capsulated in an efficient process that allows it to be more affordable.

2.  What is your design philosophy? Does the Room In A Box system present any special challenges for expressing that philosophy for each individual space within?

I believe that everyone should live in inspiring spaces. They represent our biggest opportunity to define who we are, what we love, and support how we aspire to live and feel in the world. When we have that kind of space that we are completely “at home” in, we want to draw others into it. Life blooms outward from there. We want to host parties, teas, scrabble tournaments, séances!!! An amazing environment is not only the ultimate gift to give yourself, but to give to a guest too.

Windsor Smith step1

The true luxury in hiring a designer is to get to that combination of elements that make up that room that is yours and yours alone. Through an intuitive process, made up of many very specific steps, we are able to distill your questionnaire, photos, and layout of the space down to the essential oil or DNA of your design. We don’t work off of templates or use some fast food approach, this is a fine tuned process that the internet has made more streamlined. The client can more easily articulate their likes and dislikes through our process, as well as communicate by uploading information into a well thought-out user friendly system. They can drag and click images they see online in various places, (blogs like yours being one of the best) that inspire them. Before the internet, you would have to go to a library or bookstore or drag a decorator to a friend’s house you like and then make a collage of images. Who on earth has time for all of that?!!!! That’s why people hire decorators because they have those resources more available and they can be assembling that while the client is enjoying their fabulous life!!!

Windsor Smith step2

At we want the client to be more engaged in the process and through the advances in technology, we can afford to work with someone on this process in a more streamlined and thus more affordable way. The computer has been revolutionary to the process of design. The computer does not manufacture talent, it will never do that, a gifted eye and intuition for design is unique and not the least bit scientific. However, it allows us to marry talent with a process that brings us out of our design offices and into your home virtually and more easily and affordably.

Windsor Smith step3

3. How do consumers implement the design after they receive their boxed design?

They have two options: 1) They can take the design and run with it, depending on their access to local upholsterers, products, etc., and use it strictly as a guide to their design. This creates an opportunity for them to apply whatever time and energy they have to recreating it while knowing that they are working from a professional design or blueprint. This approach is for someone who loves the process and wants to take more ownership in both the design and the budget.

Windsor Smith menu

OR 2) They can click through to purchase part, or all of the components that make up the room, while receiving membership discounts. There is no guesswork in this method and it is fool proof. The beauty of is that the power and control of how to execute it is yours. In a customary design relationship you don’t have that latitude, the stakes are high, the fees are high and there is an expectation that the client will be spending a load on product, commissions and fees and on a relatively tight timeline. Trust me, unless you are a Rockefeller that can be a wee bit stressful. It’s always been the flaw of the business. It doesn’t invite others that have constraints to play! My dream is to change that and make it more accessible to a very vibrant demographic that has the resources and desire to have beautiful rooms but on their terms.

4. Are there any merchandisers that you partner with to help clients find exactly what they need for their space?

We have carefully curated our library with the best merchants in the country culled from my years as a designer. We don’t have any mainstream or “big box” merchants, we look for “diamonds in the rough” that we feel speak to our sensibility, that not only have an impeccable product, but business practices and professionalism that meet our expectations. A designer is as good as her resources and I believe that has been a differentiator for us. We go the extra mile to find extraordinary things from extraordinarily talented merchants!

Windsor Smith Pink Interior

5. Any tips for readers who are looking to enliven their space?

Repaint, it’s the least expensive lift. Bring optimism into your environment! Through color, through photography, buy an unexpected piece that celebrates a whimsy or an aspiration of yours and give it a great placement. See if that doesn’t inspire creating other “moments” in your interior. It’s the collection and placement of those things that start to get your creative juices flowing. Start with a clean palette, don’t just have stuff around to fill a space. Clear the room of all arbitrary things. It will mark the beginning of a process for you. Build the room one piece at a time. Add only things you love and spend the time to see where it should live in your space. Oh, and if you find yourself incredibly inspired and are ready to take the plunge go to!

{Images: Windsor Smith}

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