The U.S. Virgin Islands are an amazing place to visit, and many visitors love it so much they decide to buy a second home or vacation home in the Virgin Islands. That’s often when we get a call. Lagnappe Custom Interiors specializes in interior design for island living, so we’re accustomed to working on a project while the client is hundreds of miles away.

While this experience is old hat for us, it’s often new to many clients. They want to be involved in their home design but aren’t sure how to do so long-distance. Here are our top three ways you can stay involved in your island home design from afar.

Set a Standing Meeting

If you’ve ever been in a long-distance relationship with a partner, you know that communication is the key to success. And though your relationship with your interior designer isn’t a romantic one, the same rule applies. To ensure you feel involved in the design process, consider setting up a standing meeting where you can check in and get progress updates. The frequency of these meetings may change depending on the phase of your project. During planning, for example, your meetings may be less frequent than during construction when you may want to have a call every other week.

Though phone calls are a reliable way to meet, there are many other types of communication platforms, like video chatting via FaceTime, Skype and Zoom. Talking with your designer face-to-face can help build a relationship with them, but also allows them to show you what’s happening at your beach home if they’re on site during the call.

Ask for Visuals

Interior design is a visual medium. Many of the decisions revolve around color, texture, size, shape and space planning. It can be hard to fully understand your designer’s vision without seeing their plans for your home. To resolve this problem, ask for as many visuals as possible. At minimum, this should include a floorplan of your home. Many designers use computer programs to model their designs. Lagnappe Custom Interiors uses a program called Sketchup Pro, for example, which shows our clients a 3D rendering of what the final space will look like. This is especially helpful when making a decision on a paint color or furniture piece because the software allows you to see what the finished room will look like.

Depending on the product in discussion, you may also want to ask your designer to send you samples for the tiles, wood flooring, fabrics, paints and other finishes they are considering. And while it may not be practical to mail you a countertop sample, your designer may be able to coordinate a showroom visit near you if you’re choosing engineered stone countertops.

It can be hard to envision a space when it looks like this — an empty shell full of possibilities. Your designer should provide you with sketches or renderings to help you understand what the final design will look like.
The sketches or renderings should look almost identical to the final design, as seen here. Design by Lagnappe Custom Interiors.

Plan a Visit

Although you may not be able to live in the Virgin Islands while your vacation home is being designed, you may want to schedule a couple of visits during the design process. This will allow you to meet your interior designer in person and see the progress on your beach home first-hand.

I recommend scheduling at least one visit after construction has begun, but before finishes are being installed. You’ll be able to get an idea for the flow of the home with wall framing in place, and will still have an opportunity to change things if you don’t like what you see. This is also a great time to view all the finish and fabric samples in person and see them in the space.  We always recommend seeing finishes in person when possible before confirming your orders.

We recommend scheduling at least one visit after construction has begun. The home will look like this — a “before” photo — with old finishes removed.
After the renovation is complete, your home should be as functional as it is beautiful. This master bath is full of island hues and loads of storage. Design by Lagnappe Custom Interiors.

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