Buying a ton of really chic products is definitely a lot of fun—it’s always great to give your home a refresh with the hottest new trends, and with so many fun items to choose from, it’s easy to fill your place with products you don’t necessarily need. And according to Laura Baross, founder of online interior design program Design W Care, that’s exactly what she wants to stop. “I think these days, we’re overstimulated with options,” Baross tells Domino. “But ultimately, your home should make you happy.”
Launched three months ago, Design W Care aims to bring eco-friendly, sustainable design to the masses. Since most people don’t know where their items come from (and according to Baross, as a result, 9.8 million tons of furniture waste is produced per year), the purpose of Design W Care is to help people understand that living a sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive, ugly or difficult.
“For me, as an interior designer, I found that my career didn’t align with my beliefs,” says Baross, who also runs a zero waste lifestyle blog. “But with Design W Care, I can feel good about furniture shopping and decor shopping, and know I’m helping people make more sustainable choices.”
Users who want to use the service initially sign up via the website, and can choose between chatting with someone about their project (for example, getting product recommendations or asking specific design questions) or signing up for one of the three packages offered online. (For those living in the NYC area, Design W Care also offers in-person services, which users can request via email.)
“I wanted to make the process as easy and seamless as possible,” says Baross. The three packages are classified as Mini, Midi, and Maxi, and are divided based on what the consumer is looking for at the time. Baross is also happy to chat in order to find out exactly what needs have to be addressed.
“Minis (starting at $119 per room) are meant for people who are only looking for a quick, few item refresh, and they get three days with a designer, a shopping list, and a concept board,” she says.
Midi (starting at $249 per room) adds 3D design boards and works as more of a revamp, where the designers help swap more actionable items, like rugs and furniture, and also work on additional aspects, like paint colors. Maxi (which is the most expensive, at $399 a room) is a complete makeover and style refresh, consisting of everything from the smallest accessories to a full-blown room redesign. ”It gives you 10 days with the designer per room, which allows you to customize your home in a way and at a price point that works for you,” says Baross.
The process in which each person is paired with a designer is also very nuanced. Baross understands that each person has their own personal style, and she doesn’t want to change that for the sake of it. “I want to find products that work for different styles and at different price points, and one thing I admire is we actually go into stores and meet makers to find out how the products have been made. Thanks to my background, I feel comfortable suggesting those brands and products to my clients,” says Baross.
Aside from their services, Design W Care also offers an online store, consisting of items ranging from paint to glassware. “I wanted to provide products with the lowest carbon footprint all in one place,” says Baross. “My hope is that through this company, I make people aware that being chic and socially conscious are not mutually exclusive.”
As for her tips when it comes to designing with more care? “First, stop bringing things home!” says Baross. “Slowly swap out your items for those that have a lower carbon footprint, and contact us to donate them: We have partnerships with several companies that help recycle old products.”
Her favorite piece of advice, however? “Be prepared. Sustainable living is like a muscle: It won’t happen until you exercise it.”
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