Precision Design Through Technology

By Mary A. Daust

The world of commercial interior design has grown leaps and bounds in regards to digital technology. It allows designers to communicate their creative concepts for interior spaces visually with such fine-tuned accuracy that the expensive and lengthy process of completing a m odel room is often not necessary. Of course if you have the budget and time, it is always advantageous to complete a model room so you see the actual product in the space.  Another advantage of an actual model room is that you can touch and feel all the product and display it for future owners and guests as a marketing tool.

In the pictures below you can see the digital presentation and the actual completed unit.  Illustrated below, The Hammocks on Bald Head Island in North Carolina is a collection of 27 fractionally owned homes managed by VRI. Navigating the design process was a little tricky with many owners wishing to have a say in the final design.  Given they each owned multiple weeks, it was a fair request. It was imperative that we convey our final design concept to the board.  The ability to present this digital concept gave us the approval we needed. There would have been no way to move forward without this technology. Generally speaking, some people are visual and some are not.  This technology allows those that do not naturally comprehend visual concepts to see the design in its entirety.






Often our clients will also retain us to complete a digital presentation so they can get the board members and owners excited about an upcoming renovation and/or assessment. We recently completed a digital presentation for Americano Beach Resort located in Daytona Beach, Florida managed by ARC Resorts, LLC. They are in the stages of completely renovating their property and needed to be able to show the investors, owners and future owners the conceptual finished space to obtain ‘buy in’ from all parties. To convey our design, we created multiple digital presentations of various rooms and a 360 digital where you can essentially walk around the room on tablet or phone. The images below illustrate digital perspective room images, and if you go to our website at you can access the digital 360 in the renderings section.

There are multiple software options available to designers. We have chosen Chief Architect X10 that includes ray trace capabilities which offer high definition images to better convey our vision. Chief Architect, AutoCAD and Sketch up are all compatible and communicate with each other. Our process works in a very systematic way.  Myself, or one of our designers, measures the space/unit, and the unit is then drawn in AutoCAD to precise dimensions. As the design progresses, we create custom pieces of furniture to fit and look exactly how we envision them in the unit. Those elements are drawn in Sketch Up and all of the custom pieces of furniture and dimensioned floor plans are imported into Chief Architect. In Chief Architect the entire room can be drawn and then shown as a 360 perspective.

Another exciting new technology is digital printing on textiles. You can digitally print on all kinds of surfaces, but for the purposes of this article, I am going to highlight textile printing. One of our Senior Designers, Cam Abascal and her team recently had the opportunity to work on an exciting project called Massanutten Resort, located in Virginia. The design concept included items geared toward the region’s natural and active environment. To incorporate the foliage associated with their surroundings, we printed nature-inspired patterns on the top sheets.  While we are all used to seeing artwork on the walls it is new and fresh idea to see it on the top of a bed.  In addition at Massanutten, to highlight the mountain’s role at the resort, accent pillows on twin beds depict the trail maps for both winter skiing and mountain biking.  A high resolution art file from the property gave us exactly what we needed.  The guests love them so much that the property managers are considering selling them in their gift shop. While there are lots of attractive, pre-designed and stocked products available to designers, customizing the design of a product is often our best path towards visually inspiring rooms.   Thankfully technology and the advanced processes of manufacturers allow us to this.


Mary Daust, ASID, LEED AP ID+C, is VP of Hospitality Resources & Design. A Florida-licensed designer, she specializes in hospitality design, renovations, and refurbishments.