It’s every designer’s dream to receive a project where it can be completed in one lump sum. Okay – I’ll bet that applies to most clients, too! There’s nothing more satisfying than to see a project ready for a photo close-up.
Real life reminds us it’s not always possible. Sometimes it’s the budget and other times it’s a vision that continues to
(These words can send chills up an interior designer’s spine! Okay, I’ve sometimes tossed this around when I’m looking for that “certain something” for a client, too. Oh, the rolling of eyes and deep sighs . . . Image: Kevin McCauley)
I have a new catch-phrase for it: Progressive Design. I know you’re shrugging your shoulders and may be thinking, “Isn’t all design a progression of decisions and/or actions ?” Most definitely! But, there are times when it’s not always wrapped in a neat, little package.
I’ve got a few projects which fall into this category and there are pluses and minuses to be considered.
Minuses: The minuses can be that it takes longer to appreciate your investment. If you’re immediate gratification-oriented, this will make you a little crazy. It requires some “revisiting” of where things were left off. Often, interior designers will do a room for a flat fee or a pre-agreed upon project scope because some services can be bundled. (Ever hired an electrician to install light fixtures? You know if you have them come out independently for each item, there are usually minimums or trip charges so it’s more efficient to do several installations at once.) When services are split up, the designer may need to apply a higher, hourly fee with a minimum of hours to be met.
(This is over my desk. A reminder about creating art.)
Pluses: On the plus side, if you have a desire to hand-select artwork or need to digest design elements over time, this may be best for you. Also, you may need to live in a new space in order to really know how you want to “live” in that particular part of your home. Just be sure you don’t run into the danger of changing your style focus, mid-stream. It really wrecks havoc with your previous investments, not to mention the cohesive feeling of the room. (There is eclectic and then there is
If your budget dictates layering, be upfront with your designer so that he/she can do a total plan and implement it in stages. Just be prepared to stay the course for the best results. Dangling carrots with impressions of design grandeur can cause you to lose a great designer relationship. Think of it as being engaged without a wedding in your future.
I’ve shared an example of a project-in-progress, above. You can see, in the lower left corner, we had an empty room. We started with the builder’s flow color and elected to choose a fixture that was in the allowance. (If possible, we would have taken a credit to just get the minimal towards passing inspection but it didn’t quite work out that way.) We used original art to help set the tone. You can see, at the midway point, getting furniture and a wall color was a big priority. Later, we added the “wow” factor with a coffered ceiling and a great fixture. Special art lighting brought my clients 'collection into focus.
Another art piece will be coming into place where the tree is a place-holder. (For the record, I’m not a huge fan of silk trees.) We’re also going to add an area rug. I actually like the exposed hardwoods but I think it will bring a cozy feeling to my clients. On a window you can’t see, there will be panels added to soften shutters.
(My client isn’t a fan of pleated headers. I hope she’ll take inspiration from this photo.)
I’ll admit it takes patience, on my part, to wait for these projects to unfold. I get so excited when I know where a room is heading! Being that we were working on other spaces, it has been okay to let this transpire over a period of 12+ months. What a difference our efforts have made! (And please excuse my amateur photos. I always wait for the finished project before investing in pro shots.)
Perhaps Creighton Abrams said it best, “When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” :)
PS - If you’re daunted by the task of creating personalized, interior spaces, I’d love to hear from you! You’ll have great options available.
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