Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dabbling In Design vs. Interiors Commitment

Oh, if only this could be true . . . .


On occasion, I get calls from folks who are interested in receiving “some” design advice but who are not really prepared to commit to the process of a completed space or project.  I call it, “dabbling in design”.  They were inspired by beautiful photos in a magazine, a show home, or just had a field day on Pinterest.  And let me just say, I certainly understand wanting to follow your bliss, especially when an interior has become a bit tired or forlorn or you’ve got an empty cavern.


(Step away from the monitor!)

When images of inspiration rooms float through the internet waves, it’s easy to become intrigued by the apparent ease of putting them together.  I’ve seen some great examples and I’ve seen . . . a few unfortunate ones.  (Yes, I loved “Legally Blonde”.)  I’m sure I may have put together one or two that wouldn’t be someone’s cup of tea.  (Of course, I like to think that comes down to a difference in preferences and not my professional capabilities.)

Now, when it comes to pretty . . . .

OB-Dabbling In Design

I can put together beautiful boards, all the live-long day. 


I can pull out swatches of beautiful paint palettes, too. 


I can give you beautiful interior images and provide the inspiration for a beautiful life.

But . . . that is only the icing on the cupcake and without the proper ingredients, and the recipe to bake it, none of the above can happen in a home.  You’re left holding the proverbial frosting bag.

A design project requires commitment to see the process through, from both the designer and the client.  No dabbling about it.  It’s my business, and for all the beauty in the world, I take my commitment to time and investments very seriously. 


Project directives are developed from gathered information:

  1. Before I meet with a client, a phone interview occurs and a questionnaire is completed.  (To know you is to design for you!) 
  2. At the first meeting, I have to measure the space I’m doing, along with any existing furnishings, artwork, and important design elements.  (The design process can’t begin without this.  They are also the key ingredients to establishing the dollars allocated for design, of which my services are a part of the equation.)
  3. I take photos galore.  (Gotta have a ‘before’, before there’s an ‘after’.)
  4. I explore preferences, functional needs, and then some. 

If I’m going to work with a client on any project, I require these steps to happen.  To not be able to do this is like trying to mix the batter together with missing ingredients.  Another trip to the market?  Think of the wasted time of having to backtrack in order to start at the beginning.  When someone says, “all of that isn’t necessary”, it pretty much tells me what I need to know about the intent behind the call. (Or, I need to do a better job of explaining the “why” behind my methods.)

Custom design is very different from “design in a box”.  It’s like comparing freshly-baked to pre-made.  Both have their place but custom design does let you “have your cupcake and eat it, too.”

 215539532135671622_dbjuJ3t1_c box_cupcakes

(Which one would you choose?)

And just one final thought . . . if you’re a little nervous about about the process of working with a professional interior designer . . .  think of your project in cupcake terms.  You don’t have to buy a whole dozen at once.  It might be too much for anyone to digest.  Decide on one room and let the mixing begin.  You can always choose a different flavor! 


All My Best

1 comment:

Details and Design said...

Bravo Wanda!! I am in this mindset past few days. Wondering why people hire us if they also try and do pieces of it themselves without any input from the designer? Think choosing bedding themselves but expecting you to pull the rest of the room together w/o knowing what the bedding will be?? Crazy. And a few people like you write about above. "we can skip this part" or "i just want ideas" blah blah. I had a meltdown in my office just yesterday and one of my senior designers had to pick me up off the floor. Figuratively:) Some days I think is better to have nothing to do rather than changing the way you know you should run your business. Love the cupcake analogy!! ~~~ cheryl