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Inside a Design Project: organization, traveling, and knowing your client

 An interview with foley&cox about their recent project in Rumson, NJ.

Rumson House.jpg

1. Of your recent design projects, what one did you enjoy the most?

We worked for over two years on the development of a new home on the Navesink River in Rumson, NJ. In conjunction with the architectural firm of Unger & Mahns and the construction company Britton Builders, we designed a home that exceeded our clients’ expectations.


2. What made it special?

We established a wonderful repertoire with our clients and created a perfect balance between re-inventing their own cherished pieces and introducing them to wonderful new designs.  To ensure they felt included, we even had a separate design meeting with the children to give them an opportunity to influence their bedrooms with their own personalities.

 Rumson House 2

3. How did you get inspiration?

The healthy, athletic, and all-American lifestyle of the family influenced many of the details we incorporated.  Creating a space for yoga, a shop for bikes, a room for music, and several areas for reading and studying were priorities for this active and academic household.



 4. How did you find pieces for it?

During the long construction process we were able to continuously shop and source and bring discoveries from all over the east coast and as far away as the Paris flea market!  We utilized our favorite vendors for special pieces of custom upholstery, developed a pieced felt shyrdak from Kyrgyzstan for an ottoman, discovered new galleries and antique stores in nearby towns, and scoured Hudson, NY where our own store, foley&cox HOME is located.


5. What was your favorite aspect of this particular project?

When we completed our installation and presented the finished house, the whole family came in together and the father videotaped the kids’ joyful reaction to their new home.  The little boy ran and dove into the huge sectional we designed for the great room, and instantly we knew that they would share many happy memories in the comfy spot we’d built for them.


Rumson House 3

6. How do you stay organized during a project?

Hundreds of purchase orders over the course of nearly 20 months make a project of this scale a challenge for even the most organized design firm.  We’ve developed a dual binder system – one for the project manager organized by room and one for the bookkeeper organized by PO# that helps us stay on top of all the moving pieces. But the foundation of every project is Design Manager because it generates all of the purchase orders and all the reports needed to help us track inventory and budgets.


7. Is there a specific way that you budget a project?

All our clients find it incredibly helpful to get a ballpark estimate as early in the process as possible to help them plan and budget accordingly.  Through Design Manager we are able to create a rough estimate shortly after we have an established furniture plan, and this document becomes the guideline we work within during the entire course of the project.


8. Are there certain goals that you want to accomplish with each project and do they carry over from project to project?

Our ultimate goal for each and every residential project is to create an environment that is better than our clients could have imagined.  All our interiors reflect our clients’ interests and aspirations and ultimately should become their sanctuary and refuge.  Nothing is more gratifying than meeting with a client years after we finish the project and they tell us “we love the home you made for us!”


9. How have your international travels inspired your work?  Do you think that it is important for interior designers to travel?


Travel is easily the single most important influence for our design firm!  We have been fortunate enough to have our clients challenge us to incorporate such diverse elements as:  Tyrolean style into a chalet in Austria, Bahamian style into a beachfront home in Harbor Island, Hawaiian “aloha” into a vacation home on Maui, as well as the urban sophistication we infuse into all our Manhattan projects.  When we are shopping for our projects and our store in Italy, France, Denmark, Mexico, England, Turkey, or Belgium, we are immersing ourselves in the local culture.  Then, in the most subtle of ways, we can introduce new design elements, unique materials, and inspiring colors into our interiors.




Liz Willits
Liz Willits
A graduate of Grove City College, Elisabeth Willits began working as a marketing coordinator at Design Manager in 2013. Passionate about both art and technology, she aspires to make technology more approachable for interior designers and to demonstrate the important role that it plays in business. Elisabeth enjoys the interactivity that working in marketing allows her and loves meeting with interior designers to learn more about them, their aesthetic vision, and their business needs.

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