How a designer's set of tools gets you a home you love
Let's talk about deliverables.
It’s a word that I’ve used countless times in my first career in information technology, and frankly, has always consisted of Excel spreadsheets, Power Point presentations or some software release notes. Dry? Maybe. But stick with me, it’ll get more interesting.
In my new work, my “deliverables” are so much more exciting! Filled with color, texture, curves and angles…. I’m grateful to be able to execute these each day! If you’ve never worked with a designer, you may be wondering what you really get as part of the experience. One of the key advantages of working with me as your designer is my ability to create a vision for a space that reflects you.
Given everything that is going on today, I feel more strongly than ever that we all need a refuge – a place where we can come home to, be ourselves, and love our surroundings. A place that gives us peace, solace, and shelter for our families. This post will give you insights into the questions I ask my clients, and the collaborative processes that I use to develop those deliverables, and design spaces that reflect who they are.
How do you want your home to FEEL?
With my projects, I start by asking what feeling you want your space to evoke…. Cozy and welcoming? Elegant and sophisticated? Modern and streamlined? Industrial and hip? Your answers help to shape the design of your space. I have a design questionnaire that I walk through with clients to understand their initial thoughts and ideas about how they want their space to “feel.”
"Interior design embodies how your world makes you feel every day. " - Ronique Gibson
Of course, other factors play into the design, so we also talk about your preferences about colors, textures, patterns, materials, and finishes. Understanding your preferences upfront helps me to get a sense of what you like, and produce a design that includes elements that you fall in love with. Can't stand the color orange? Good to know, and I'll make sure I don't use it in my selections.
How have made your design choices in the past?
Think back to the last time you bought a new sofa. I'd be willing to bet you did a fair amount of research into it...
How did you decide on the size of it? (Or even whether it would be a sofa? What about a sectional? And how big is too big?)
How did you choose the fabric that it would be upholstered in? (Were you looking for a performance fabric that would hold up to a few small kids and some messy but lovable dogs? Or did you want to splurge on a luxurious velvet?)
How did you decide on a particular color? (After all, there are LOTS of shades of grey out there.)
How did you evaluate the quality of it before you bought it?
How many stores did you visit?
How much Googling did you do to see the reviews from others?
How many hours did it take you to make all of those decisions and finally put in an order?
….. And finally, when you were finally able to bring it into your home, did you love it, or did you feel like you made a wrong turn somewhere?
Whew, that's a lot! Most people aren’t used to choosing furniture every day, let alone analyzing all of the options, and understanding how they all fit together. I’m going to share with you how I do it not just for sofas, but for entire rooms and homes.
Now back to those “deliverables”
As part of my overall process, I create two key deliverables to bring my clients curated, unique rooms filled with furnishings, accessories and art -- designed just for them.
2D Floorplans and 3D Renderings – creating our design footprint
These are the more utilitarian of deliverables, but they’re critical for larger spaces that require multiple pieces of furniture, area rugs, artwork and other elements. These map out the exact placement, size and scale of the selections that will ultimately be purchased for the room. Using our sofa example, it will let me understand if an 84” inch sofa or a 108” X 94” sectional would be a better option in your family room.
Once we’ve set in place all of the major furnishings for the room, we use 3D rendering to help us visualize the space as if we were sitting in the room itself. The 3D tool lets us virtually “walk” through the space and make sure that you’re on board with those general selections. Round reclaimed wood coffee table vs. upholstered square? Now’s the time to nail that down.
Moodboards – let the fun begin!
Once we’ve finalized the 2D and 3D floorplan designs, we’ll move onto the exciting phase where we get to play with my favorite parts of the process. Do you remember the TLC show “What Not to Wear?” (If not, go watch some episodes RIGHT NOW.)
Clinton and Stacy had a rule – every outfit should contain the following four elements:
Color, Texture, Pattern and Shine
There are similar design principles for designing a room. Not only do we plan for the overall space plan for your room that optimizes function and flow, we then layer in these decorative elements to reflect what you love, and what’s important to you. Think back to the question about how you want your space to “feel” – a dining room table made out of rustic wood palettes (which is what currently occupies our dining room at the Janeway house) gives a totally different feeling than a polished chrome and glass one.
For example, when choosing your sofa, let’s say that we decided that the 84” sofa fits best in your space. Based on those specs, I’ll present you with options for:
The silhouette that complements the design style that we’re targeting (say, contemporary)
The fabric color and selection that suits the overall design aesthetic and needs of the family (my empty nesters could go with a luxurious velvet)
Finish on the legs (dark walnut anyone?)
All within a budget that’s been set specifically for that item
Each piece gets THIS LEVEL of attention and selection. And, I know the ins and outs of the industry and have access to an infinite number of sources beyond retail. There are so many manufacturers that only sell to designers, and have fantastic quality, too. When you work with me, you’re ensuring that you get the best quality in your investment range, with a myriad of design options beyond what you'll see at your local stores.
We go through the same process for area rugs, artwork, light fixtures and lamps, soft goods like pillows and throws, and finally, accessories. These items are placed in a “moodboard” - a collection of all of the items that will go into the final design. This lets you see all of the items that have been selected, and really get an idea of how things will look when they’re all together in your home.
I'll present your moodboard during our Design Review meeting. We’ll review each selection together, and you’ll have the opportunity to revise any items that you’d like. From there, depending on the service level that you’ve selected with me, we’ll order those items and begin planning for installation phase. These deliverables (hopefully that word sounds a lot more fun now!.) give you the ability to envision your space re-designed, and build something that reflects the true you.
I love collaborating with my clients through this process to create spaces that feel like them – whatever mood they want their home to evoke, wherever they are, we collaborate and design a place where they can relax, unwind, entertain, and be a family. Working with a designer lets you delegate the heavy lifting for all those design decisions, and lets you focus on living your life!
I'm ready to talk through ideas with you, or kickoff a new project together. Can't wait to hear from you soon, and stay well friends!