It’s an interesting question: what is the design process like?
I endeavor to making homes beautiful for clients. And I want them to love where they live. That’s about where I stand professionally. It’s that simple.
Certainly, there are a few designers out there who sell product. The do a specific look over and over again. They typically do very high end beautiful work, too. For my clients, I want to make their home about them. Their taste, their lifestyle, their dreams. The same statue with hands towards the sky in each client’s home is not what I am all about. I rarely repeat fabrics other than the go-to items, such as a basic bedskirt basic or something like that.
My sister has a nack for predicting what a family member will want to eat. She loves this game. With a menu presented to her, she can say: mom will want this, hubby will want this sis will like this and she’s usually right. Eating out with her, you’re in good hands.
When working with clients, part of the fun and challenge is figuring out what they like. I love this part. It’s really fun. Then once I figure it out, I take it up a notch.
We start by identifying lifestyle. How will rooms be used? By whom? With what kind of frequency? Dogs, cats, and kids are a consideration, too. Then we do a floor plan. That’s the basis.
At the same time, we are thinking about what this floor plan is going to look like. It’s great to come up with a name: urban oasis, relaxing retreat. That helps set the tone and to make sure we are on the same page.
Typically, clients pull magazine pictures and then we go through the stack and I ananlyze what they like. We look for design elements, style and other features including symetry, colors, light, style, shapes. It always amazes me how people are consistent in their taste. A client recently did not think this was a fun process so we skipped it and I was able to figure out what she liked based on what was in her home, and what her complaints were about existing items. We used a painting as the inspiration for our color scheme. Many ways to go about things if it doesn’t work for a client.
Then we look at fabrics for feel. We call this “hand” in the biz. Do you like fuzzy, chenille fabrics, tightly woven fabrics like wool or fabrics with a sheen? That sends you down a path for upholstery.
Lighting? What are the needs? Reading? How are your eyes? How much light do you like? Modern or traditional?
Seating? I really don’t see the reason for uncomfortable chairs, sofas, etc. Many clients worry about this, possibly because they have made mistakes in the past. My clients sit in items before purchasing as everyone’s tush has a different preference. There are firm sofas, down filled sofas that are squishy, high backed chairs, etc. What you like is personal. It’s OK to have a fabulous decorative chair, that maybe doesn’t sit well if it is some incredible form, but other than that, homes are for living and should be comfortable.
We just keep going down the list.
Window treatments, flooring, accessories, art. More and more people are wanting flat screen TVs in more than just the family room. For This Old House, flat screens are found in the family room, office, master bedroom and billiard room for the homeowners’ viewing pleasure.
Once a direction is determined, we look at rugs first.
Flooring is the most limited and I like to start from there when decorating. Especially with hand knotted or oriental rugs.
It’s a job I love.