Dear Jean and Richard, I think of myself as a creative person, and I would like to try reworking my home’s interior. But I’m not sure how to kick-start the process. Any suggestions? Kelly, Asheville
Richard: Hi Kelly.
We usually begin each job with the information we get in the client interview. Each interior design project may start out differently. But what they always have in common is a clearly defined goal of creating the customer’s dream environment.
Jean: Richard mentioned the interview, something we take very seriously. We often discover that a couple may have very different ideas of what they want to achieve, and they expect us to be some arbitrators. When that happens, we try to find common ground and suggest compromises. But whether there are two decision makers or one, we strive to get a sense of the lifestyle and determine what the clients want to achieve.
Richard: Then we kick-start. Jean kicks me, and I start working. We both start working on a master plan. You will need to do the same thing, but I would suggest first writing down what you expect to achieve in a kind of mission statement. This will help you when you get bogged down in choosing colors, shopping for accessories, or even arranging furniture. If you know in advance what you want to accomplish, difficult decisions may be easier to make.
Jean: That’s not a bad idea. But don’t confuse the mission statement with the master plan. It’s more like a stated expectation for the results of a master plan. Let’s say the best part of your vacation was staying at an excellent old Bed & Breakfast, and you wish your house could be that inviting and attractive. You might write something like, “My house will be a welcoming place, full of rich textures and whimsical artwork, allowing every day to be a vacation from the ordinary.”
Richard: When does she kick-start?
Jean: Hey, it was your suggestion. I’m just saying that in her mission statement she doesn’t have to write down specific colors or treatments—just spell out the overall feeling she wants to achieve. And from there, she can start thinking about what it might take to accomplish her goal.
Richard: One thing that often helps is to determine what things in the interior cannot change, and what items you now have that you want to keep. A favorite piece of artwork, for example, may become the centerpiece of a newly designed room. Or maybe you have an antique dresser handed down from your grandmother you want to incorporate. These things could well become your kick-starting place.
Jean: Maybe we should kick stop now.