August 22, 2016
From Each Client’s Vision through the Mind’s-Eye of a Professional Designer
As clients embark on the process of working with a professional designer, I am often asked what my process involves, in order to assure that the resulting design is comprehensive, cohesive and professional, while at the same time genuinely reflecting the preferences, personality and taste of my client.
In a way, the answer is simple and concise – its not my house.
Many clients know what they like when they see it. It isn’t hard to admire a beautifully designed room. But it takes professional training and practice to create an admirable interior design that will truly resonate with the individuals that inhabit it.
My role is one that requires the right amount of distance and an abundance of respect when it comes to individual taste. If I designed to satisfy my own taste and desires, much of my work would start feeling quite similar. While I do love one-of-a-kind items and design elements that always bring something distinctive and unique to a space – I see my job as taking my client’s taste, lifestyle, personality and priorities and making these elements work between the architecture, material selections and interior design elements. This creates a home that my clients love and want to call home, and one I am just as proud to show off as an example of my work.
Actually, when I have client who has very distinct style and taste that is different than my own – it’s exciting for me. This brings a new dynamic to my work, and keeps it professionally challenging, personally interesting, engaging and fun. I always learn a great deal.
A few years ago I worked on a large project that was a total re-build and through the process my client and I became friends. This is pretty typical because we spend so much time together talking about intimate details of lifestyle. As we worked through the architectural process she realized that I was seeing the finished product while designing – envisioning and iterating plans for color, built-ins, flooring materials, lighting and more.
Almost weekly, she would push me into thinking about something that I wasn’t quite ready to think about – and it was great! Her style was “Shabby-Chic” which I had never really done before. My job was to make sure that it didn’t go overboard while still expressing her passion with materials from vintage fabrics to unique patterns and tile. The result was stunning, fun and inspiring and one-of-a-kind. We both loved it.
I have another client who had a passion for “Vintage” style and she knew exactly what she wanted in terms of the feeling and design style her finished product would reflect. She just had no idea of how to going about it. I was able to teach her about proportion, scale and local resources while she taught me about painting cabinetry finishes and reclaiming and reusing antiques in a new modern way that paid homage to their origins and vintage style.
If people profess they don’t have a defined style, I have them start and share with me a Pinterest Board or scrap book collection of things that they like. It doesn’t take me long to take a look at it and quickly see a theme. Typically, people are pretty consistent about what they like… even if they don’t know it.
The path is never straight, and the design process is a cyclical evolution that is always fun albeit somewhat torturous for those with an aversion to decision-making. The goal of my process is always to teach and enable my clients to make their own style work successfully. I don’t impose my own taste or design style on clients – I work to reveal their unique vision, and bring it to life together with them. Again – its not my house. I know, and respect that every step of the way. Yes, it’s a challenge but I never fail to find the fun and inspiration along the way – let me guide you through the process!