Keeping Focused

Sometimes I feel like half my job is keeping a client focused on the ultimate goal.  It’s so easy to get distracted by all of the beautiful things out there in the design world.  And there are so many aspects to design that you must consider.  Sometimes you just want to do the easy thing: It’s easy to become enamored by some shiny object.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the functionality of something and loose sight of the beauty.  It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the cost of things.  It’s easy to desire whatever your BFF or neighbor has in her house.

Here is what I say to that:  State a goal at the beginning of the project.  For example, my favorite colors are red and green.  We do not live a formal lifestyle: therefore, the rooms need to feel cozy and livable.  I like Asian inspired pieces and big compfy furniture.  The hardware in my whole house is a dark brass. Decide whether you’re going to use white or cream (I’ll talk about this later). Come up with a budget.

Work with a friend or decorator.  Someone who can have an objective opinion.  Someone who will tell you the truth.  Someone who keeps on or ahead of trends.  And really your decorator should be a friend.  Someone you love working with and bouncing ideas off of.

You want your house to look and (key word: feel) cohesive.  It should flow nicely from one end to the other and from top to bottom. Your master bath shouldn’t be French country and your kitchen midcentury modern.  It’s confusing and unsettling.  The feel part of design is equally important as the practicality.  Every piece you put in that space should contribute to the overall look.  If one piece is out of sync, it throws everything off.  That piece stands out.  Basically, it can ruin all of your hard work.  No good!

Here are some rooms in which I think the designer did a great time incorporating functionality and staying on track with the design look and feel.  I’ll explain why as we go.  I love breaking things down!

Let’s look at this bedroom first.  It is neutral, but there’s so much more going on to make it feel three dimensional.  The cream curtains frame each window. They add softness and elegance.  The headboard is upholstered with a stripe, that adds softness and pattern.  There’s a chair in velvet that adds luxury.  The floral pattern rug breaks up the space in a whimsical way.  The metal furniture add shine and a hard quality that breaks up all of the softness in the room.  The light adds that contemporary touch to the room.  None of the pieces are a set.  This gives it that collected, expensive, designer look.

Let’s look at this kitchen.  They stuck to feel on this kitchen without sacrificing practicality.  This wood looks so rich with the white molding.  The tile creates a beautiful pattern. It has that hand created look that adds softness.  The tiles are not perfect.  Looks like maybe they did caesar stone or marble on the counter.  They did that because of all the pattern with the tile.  You can’t have pattern (like with a granite) on the countertop and pattern on the backsplash too. Everything from the pulls to the faucet to the beaded glass adds to this look.  Even what’s in the cabinets gives it a more modern but homey feel.  FEEL is so important!
Now let’s look at a mast bathroom. This is perfection in design.  She placed her pattern on the floor.  Therefore, the windows and walls had to be solid.  You really have to pick one or the other.  This light blends, but it also is the right color and size.  The art is just the right color and size for the space.  Every little detail makes this room feel peaceful and luxurious.
Let’s look at dining room.  I would say the two big things in a dining room are lighting and variation of furniture.  Both of these things add depth.  Lighting is HUGE to me.  It can change the feel of a room.  Look past the finishes in this room and look at each individual piece.  You might have thought: Red curtains?  Ugh.  Bookcases in the dining room?  Weird.  Frosty chandelier?  What.  Patterned floors and chairs?  Crazy.  But it works!  It’s so interesting.  Every detail makes a difference.
I  love breaking things down.  It helps me as a designer to go back and look at these things.  Gives me new passion to stay on track. It’s okay if your vision doesn’t come to live in a year or even two.  Keep focused, save your money.  Gradually buy those pieces that work in your home and are a reflection of your personality and how you want your home to feel.  Don’t buy anything just because you feel like time is of the essence.  Make sure it fits into the grand scheme and look of your entire house.