Hello December! You snuck up on me rather quickly! All of a sudden there is a million and one things to do! The new year is fast and relentlessly approaching and I'm up to my eyeballs in fabrics again! This is that time of year that everyone wants their homes just right. Fill it with warmth, please! Add some color, please! I need a place for guests to sit, please! It is certainly my pleasure to fulfill the request.
Reflecting on the year and taking on new clientele in a new area has shown me something. "Clients" , all of you out there, basically all want the same thing. A relaxing retreat that they can call home. Some are more patient than others, some or more realistic than others but none-the-less that is the common denominator.
As a designer, it is a daunting, exciting, and challenging profession. You want to please the client but also as the professional, have to be the voice of reason when requests are made. These days in the design community, the buzz is all about how we can show our value to our clients in the beginning, how can we show them that we really want their projects done well , and how do we bridge the gap between what they think a designer does and what a designer actually does?
If you plan on working with a designer in 2015 here are just a few things you can do to make it a positive experience.
1. Remember you hired them to help you.
Designers have been trained in numerous styles and principals of design. They have typically eliminated and vetted numerous options, price points, and scenarios that will work for you. Many clients get very anxious (understandably) about the process and grow impatient rather quickly. Remember that your designer can really help you if you allow yourself to be helped. I say this because, often, what happens is the designer is asked to drive somewhere and then the client holds on to the wheel the entire time... that makes for a scary ride for you both... Trust that you and your designer can combine your efforts for a positive outcome. The designers job is to present options that in their expertise should work best. The "clients" job is to decide if this is something that they absolutely cannot live with. I say this because often what happens is a client is unsure, unable to visualize, so they say " I don't like it. " I often tell clients if you don't hate it.... I guarantee if you let it happen you will love it!
2. Remember that you get what you pay for ........
Many clients want their designers to shop and assist them in the same manner in which they shop. Find something already made , quickly available , and for the lowest price point possible. However, you have to keep in mind, that is how your neighbor with good taste can shop for you. A professional designer initially wants to provide quality , distinctive and useful properties, aesthetic, then budget. If you are only concerned with price , then you will get what you pay for... If you tell your designer that you only have $350.00 per month to go towards design, then, that is what we call "champagne taste on a beer budget." In a realistic situation that is simply not reasonable. If you do not have a reasonable amount of funds to work with, you and your designer both will be frustrated.
3. Remember that a Designer's opinion IS Valuable
This one is mucho importante! If a designer's opinion wasn't valuable you would just ask anyone to help you with your home. The landscaper, the grocery clerk or anyone you could find could come and help you solve all your design dilemmas. Yet, for some reason, the designer's hourly rate is the mostly highly debated topic. I believe this is just a simple misunderstanding. As mentioned before, a designer has to spend years and countless dollars on an education in principles of design, color theory, art history, psychology and numerous other areas related to the profession. They have spent time going through countless vendors (some more successfully than others) to try to bring the best to the project. In most cases a good designer has spent up to 4 times as many hours as the client is ever billed. So when the client doesn't want to pay it really strikes a cord. To save money, some even try to go to the local college to have a design student work for free as a "portfolio builder".
As mentioned before their opinion is valuable, otherwise you would just ask a neighbor. Asking them to do a design job for free should never happen. Not that anyone would do that... right?.right? .. just covering the bases.
4. Remember to communicate your fears
We designers love it when you share with us. Many of my clients are my close and personal friends. It is an intimate relationship after all. A good designer will listen and communicate back to you that he/she has heard your concerns and is listening. It really can be a great thing! Let's all love on each other and get some great design out of it as well!
5. Remember to have fun
Life is unbelievably short! Too short in fact to overthink , dwell on negativity, or what could have been. Mistakes happen, all the time, everyday. We can work together to fix them. They say patience is a virtue for a reason...(I'm still learning that one) Be patient , have fun, and enjoy the process and the results you will have when your home is fantastically, fabulous in 2015.
Enjoy your home and all your new projects in the coming year!