A new website promises to get home-owners and interior designers on the same page, says Madhumitha Srinivasan

While we think Google is the go-to for just about anything, including contact info of professionals, Pankaj Poddar begs to differ. When his friend had to look for an interior designer online to do up his living room, it turned out to be a harrowing experience. “Online directories are inundated with contractors; contractors who call themselves interior designers. Moreover, you only find their contact details and get no idea of their work,” explains Poddar. This is when the former finance and strategy consultant, along with his batchmate at ISB, Parikshat Hemrajani, saw an opportunity that was waiting to be lapped up. And thus the 30-somethings launched dwll.in (pronounced Dwellin) as “a curated network of interior designers”.

It is a website that connects those on the hunt for interior design professionals and professionals on the lookout for new projects on an even, credible platform.

Those who are seeking interior designers for a residential or commercial project can go to the website and fill a basic form that asks for name, address and budget. Then you can choose to talk with the administrators or proceed to fill out an extended questionnaire that requires you to fill out detailed information like choice of colour and floor plan. After this step, a few from the “approved” pool of 125 (and growing) interior designers registered on the site will pitch for the project with their design concepts. The user can then choose the designer he/she wishes to work with. The best part is that the users and designers can sign up for free; only the designers are charged once a project established through the site is underway.

The advantage, says Poddar, is the assured quality of designers registered on the site, and a talented pool of designers to choose from. In the seven months of its existence, dwll.in has had pitches for over 500 projects and 45 are in the pipeline heading towards execution. They even have NRIs looking for designers to do up their homes in India.

Although a lot of the initial designers were from Delhi and Mumbai, the professional pool is slowly growing and expanding, just the way the founders planned it to. “Our aim is not to have thousands of designers on board but for the website to grow into a platform that offers design choices even for those from Tier II and Tier III cities,” says Poddar.

Through the months of experience, the duo realised that many people wrongly assume that interior designing is a high-end luxury that they cannot afford. They also found that many home-owners hire contractors to execute designs they have in mind or those they have seen in pictures, unaware that they will end up paying as much as they might pay an interior designer but end up with a poor quality job that lacks finesse and expertise. “Designing or revamping your home or room is not something you do every year; people do it once or at the most, twice. So why not go in for the experts?”