Celebrity Designer Launches Online Consulting Platform Featuring Wanted Houstonian


In the last 11 months, Did you turn your dining room into a home office only to find your furniture wasn’t quite working? Have tried the art gallery wall of your dreams, but learned that you might not be the best at balancing it? Were you inspired to finally paint your bedroom only to encounter hundreds of hues that all looked almost identical and yet also completely different, before finally deciding that the project should wait until the next pandemic?

Enter Expert, a virtual platform that launched this month and connects savvy home decorators with the upper echelon of the interior design world for one-on-one virtual consultations. Founded by LA designer Jake Arnold (you can spot his work in the homes and offices of Rashida Jones, Dan Levy and John Legend and Chrissy Teigen) and entrepreneur Leo Seigal, the platform aims to give users the ‘access to information from top designers for smaller-scale projects.

Currently, The Expert offers 25- or 55-minute sessions with 60 designers from around the world specializing in all types of aesthetics, with prices for a virtual meeting ranging from $ 150 to $ 1,500.

The talent list includes Arnold himself, as well as strange eye ‘s Bobby Berk (born in Houston), Leanne Ford of HGTV and a host of notable designers AD100 and ELLE Decor A-List, including Paloma Contreras from H-Town.

“It was really informative and made a lot of sense, especially in the age of social media and after all the changes we’ve all been through as a result of the pandemic, working from home and just living differently,” Contreras said. on being approached to join the platform. “Overall, all the designers I’ve spoken to – luckily, fortunately – are very, very busy these days because everyone obviously spends more time at home. They have projects than they do. want to achieve or disposable income that they don’t spend on travel, but often these projects are not necessarily candidates for what we would normally undertake.

Contreras has already worked with a handful of clients during the platform’s gradual launch phase on what she describes as “design dilemmas” and is open for about two or three sessions per month.

She compares the requests she received from her clients on The Expert to the DMs she receives on Instagram regarding paint colors, tips for designing a beautiful shelving unit, or furniture placement, although users can also get advice on things like design guidelines and floor plans. . Most of the clients she interacted with were happy to tackle the job themselves, but felt they only needed a bit of her expert advice.

“It’s just nice to connect with people who are really energized by what you’re doing and who are grateful that they can work with you somehow,” she says. “And in return, it’s really gratifying for me to be able to provide them with some kind of design advice even though we wouldn’t be working on a large-scale project together. “

Still, she says, the users she’s worked with don’t take the task lightly. She recommends following in their footsteps and coming to the meeting prepared with mood boards or even PowerPoint. “They got to the plate prepared, they know exactly what they want to ask me,” she said. “And so, I can really spend that time giving them tangible resources and valuable take out that they can then bring to their own homes.”

Our only question: why could it not have existed in March?