The movement to democratize interior design has been building steam for a while, from magazines like Domino that broke the mold of the unattainable and unaffordable in traditional shelter magazines to blogs and books that break down the basic principles of design.
The last real holdout? Access to an actual designer and their shopping resources that largely remain "to the trade," without a hefty hourly rate or markup. Enter Tastemaker, the most recent company to join in the online design field. They work with designers to create a design to your taste and budget, and then put together a package, complete with with the ability to purchase the furnishings and decor through their site.
Launch date: April 2013
Inspiration for opening: Tastemaker’s founders were are all interior design fans, but they couldn’t understand why decorating a home had to cost so much. They believed that decorating should be more democratic and drama-free. They saw the trend in e-decorating and realized there was an opportunity to expand this idea on a large scale so that finding and hiring a decorator, getting a custom room design and purchasing all the furnishings could be easy and affordable for everyone.
Merchandise source: Tastemaker enables homeowners to find the perfect decorator for their needs. Based on an online Room Brief, it recommends a shortlist of decorators, each of which provides a quote and inspiration board. The homeowner hires the one they like best. The decorator then delivers a custom design within three weeks, complete with a shopping list with finishes, furnishings and accessories. Homeowners can purchase the entire room with one click via Tastemaker’s site. Decorators are free to recommend furnishings from any source.
Best selling item: To date, the most common type of Room Briefs have been for living rooms. Tastemaker allows homeowners to create Room Briefs for any room in their home. Customers have included bachelors, first-time homeowners and career couples.
Your favorite project: Our favorite project so far is the living room redesign for Dale and Marcy, a San Francisco-based couple who run an executive coaching business. The couple has a beautiful hilltop home with views over the city – the views provided great inspiration for client meetings, but the awkwardly-shaped rooms were a nightmare to decorate. Tastemaker matched Dale and Marcy with design firm Interior Design Fair and helped to deliver a surprising and stunning space that matched the couple’s quirky steampunk aesthetic.
Favorite store (other than your own): Wow, this is a tough one! We love browsing home stores, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. In San Francisco we would have to pick Zinc Details. In NYC it would be ABC Home. Online, it’s Wayfair. They seem to have almost everything.
- Founded: June, 2012
- Founded by: Joe Fraiman, Esther Park, Kyle Larson and Juan Vasquez.
- Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Tastemaker started out as a way to improve the process of hiring an interior designer. Very quickly, its founders realized the need to simplify the entire process of interior design. Homeowners are increasingly design-savvy, but that doesn’t mean they have the time to figure it all out themselves or the money to engage a decorator in the traditional way. Tastemaker was created to help them get their dream home for a fraction of the cost and effort.