Buying furniture is an investment, and EQ3 wants to make the shopping experience as fun and stress-free as possible! Our store staff love to inspire customers with beautiful and creative room settings, but many customers need additional help to envision the furniture they see in-store, in their own home.
That’s where EQ3’s Free In Home Consultation program comes in! We’ve equipped each EQ3 retail store with a Shop at Home consultant – a trained designer who will meet you right in your home and offer advice on furniture selections and layouts, right down to the colours and accessories that’ll complete your room.
We called up Tiffany MacKay, EQ3 Calgary’s Shop at Home Consultant, to talk about the program and what a customer can expect from the Shop at Home experience. Tiffany also shared her best tips for furnishing a home.
Portrait of Tiffany, EQ3 Calgary Shop at Home Consultant
EQ3 What is your educational and work background?
TIFFANY MACKAY I started in theatre and film. I got a degree in set and costume design from the University of Calgary. What’s kind of interesting, and why I think that is so key to my success, is that when you work in theatre you design spaces for a character, and how their home looks represents what they’re wearing and how they behave. So when I got to somebody’s house it’s about them, not necessarily what I think they should have.
After university, I worked for many different companies doing visual merchandising, and really focused on spacial relations.Then I started doing private consultations and working for a building developer, and now I’ve been with EQ3 for four years.
EQ3 What does the Shop at Home design process look like? What can a customer expect out of the experience?
TM Typically, per room, the consultation’s about an hour. It’s a no obligation service, but hopefully the client is interested in EQ3 products and styles. When I go to somebody’s house, the first thing I always try to ask them is what they’re thinking of their space, what they’re hoping to get out of the consultation, maybe what they’re struggling with. Is it room layout, is it scale, is it colour, is it size? I always say to them “It’s your hour, so let’s talk about what you’re struggling with.”
Most often than not, I’ll go to appointments regarding upholstery. I try to think through the entire room, so that even if the client can’t afford to do all the pieces right now, at least they’re set up for success.
Condo featuring EQ3’s Replay Sofa and Simone End Table (room shot from Tiffany’s portfolio)
EQ3 What services do you offer?
TM It depends if the client is in their home, or if they’re building their home. If they are in their home, I’d show up with a giant suitcase with all the fabric swatches. I’d move in for an hour and we’d layout the space. We’d look at the colours. I always bring paint samples too in case someone wants to paint based off of the materials they select. And then, at that point, if they’re still struggling with visualization, I like to measure (the space) when I’m in the home, and then I can provide a 3D rendering.
Typically when somebody’s not in the house, and they just have blueprints, that’s when we do a lot of 3D rendering. I always prepare a little package for them. They can take home all of the swatches that they picked and we do some before and after pictures.
And then, with most appointments, I do invite clients back into the store one more time. I refer to it as the last ’bum test’ on the sofa so they can make sure they love it and feel confident that what they’re purchasing is the right choice for them. Because there’s no point in selling someone furniture that they’re not going to love. I always joke with people that I don’t want to see them back again unless we’re doing another room.
Condo featuring EQ3’s Reverie Sofa, Solo Chairs and Cast Floor Lamp (room shot from Tiffany’s portfolio)
EQ3 Tell us about a favourite project or two that you’ve worked on.
TM I hate to play favourites. I’ve done everything from 500 square foot condos to 4,000 square foot homes. I fall in love with the people I deal with. It’s really satisfying to have somebody come back into the store and tell me how much they love it and show pictures.
In this one instance with a client I worked with, she said to me that the consultation felt more like a friend giving her advice on what would work, but with her best interest at heart. Because I think sometimes when you get advice from friends, it’s their opinion instead of what’s going to work best for (your) lifestyle.
We also did a huge crown suite in the Westin. That was quite memorable. When Presidents and dignitaries from other countries come and stay at the Westin Downtown, we did that suite for them. That was tons of fun!
EQ3 What are your favourite EQ3 products to design with?
TM I love the Reverie Sofa. I love it because it looks cool, but it’s also super comfortable. I’m a big fan of mid-century design. I love that we carry Herman Miller, and I love that products like the Reverie can be complementary to their high end designs.
I quite like the Mesa Dining Table as well. I love marble. I think that there’s something polished and elegant about it, and if you can’t afford granite, quartz or marble countertops, it’s a way to incorporate that element into your home.
In terms of accessories, I love the Sitara Rug. I like the idea of a summer and a winter rug. I feel like that adds an element of longevity. The Sitara’s great in the winter for its cozy, knit appeal, and I like the Ori in the summer. It has a little thinner pile, so it’s easier to maintain if you’re in and out of the house with your flip flops.
Condo featuring EQ3’s Elise Sofa and Rubix Ottomans (room shot from Tiffany’s portfolio)
EQ3 Do you have any tips for any readers who are furnishing their homes?
TM I think less is more. I know a lot of people are in a rush to get things done. If you take your time and make the right choice – no band-aid solutions – you get the right piece, in the right space, and you actually don’t spend as much money.
You can always add, but it’s difficult to take away, especially furniture because it is a larger investment.
EQ3 What does your own home look like?
TM I’m an artist, so I have lots of artwork on the wall. It has a very beachy, California vibe. I’m bold: I have a coloured sofa. It’s Key Largo Teal, which is a vibrant blue. I’m a bit of a book nut, so I’ve got lots of bookshelves, and I organize the books all by colour. I also have lots of pieces from EQ3 and my travels.
Need help selecting the perfect furniture for your home? Click here to arrange a free in-home consultation with an EQ3 designer, or call your local store today.