Monday, November 28, 2011

What Makes a Design Expert?

“An expert is someone who knows a lot about the past.” ~ Tom Hopkins

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was sharing with family members about being asked to help a few clients with their holiday decorations.  (I have to share that my main business is more inclined towards the interiors portion of readying homes for the generations to gather.  I’ve completed projects from nurseries to retirement nests, and everything in between.)  My brother-in-law was fascinated by the fact that someone would actually hire me to “deck the halls”, so to speak.  It’s not that he didn’t recognize my design capabilities, but I think the idea was totally lost on him that my clients have come to also see me as a trusted advisor and as a translator of their style leanings . . . even to the point of bringing it home for the holidays.  I’ve become their ‘go-to’ person - to include being their lifestyle ‘expert’.  It’s a confidence and trust I don’t take lightly. 

Tighe Tree

(One of my upcoming Christmas decorating projects.  I feel like I know this house like the back of my hand.  I was with the client from the blueprint stages and through all of the finishing touches.  Coming back each year, for holiday decorating, is like catching up with an old friend.)

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(A cart full of fresh trimmings for another client.  It will be held at the greenhouse until I’m ready to place them.  My client trusts, through previous experience, I have the best resources available.)

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(If you notice, the first few photos are so-so because they were taken by moi – an amateur photog at best.  In this shot, Whitney Gray, a talented area photographer, captures my work in the best light.  It might be fine to share some of my “home grown” shots with you for quick points of reference, but when it comes to putting my best foot forward for my website and marketing materials, she’s the person I call on to bring it all together.  Do-It-Yourself may provide a close approximation but an expert provides polish, acumen, and focus.)

As an interior designer, offering boutique-type services, there is an expectation that I should be “The Expert”.  It doesn’t mean that my clients aren’t free to be involved in the process or to collaborate.  It simply means they appreciate that I’ve got the education, background, and past experience to be able to take their style preferences to a different level.  I bring a concierge offering of services to include many of the little details, which added together, make up the sum of a completed project. 

My brother-in-law is often inspired to be creative.  He believes he is not only an expert in his chosen technical field, but that he brings a certain “something” to his home that no one else can. 

And to that I can attest.  (Bless his heart!)

All My Best

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