This past weekend two people asked me if I meet with clients and prospective clients in my home...Not usually and here's why:
To start, we have a wonderful and friendly, but a bit crazy, 60 lb. husky. Adorable as I think he is, I am sure he could overwhelm visitors. Yum yum.
But much more importantly: I am so proud that each and every one of my design projects is unique. And I have blogged before about how a personal environment should absolutely be reflective of its resident, not of the person who finds the furniture or chooses paint colors. My goal is to give all clients a home that "works" and is visually what they like. When I look over projects I've done, there absolutely are similarities from home to home to office, but I am not sure that anyone who doesn't have comprehensive knowledge of Interior Design would even notice most of them, and some are intangible. The extraordinary experts, tradesmen, suppliers and manufacturers I recommend are quite often the same from project to project, but it's unlikely that selections will be duplicated (or triplicated, etc., etc).
There are so many ways for a client to show me what they like. Often, it's a bunch of magazine photos. Sometimes, it's a reference to a store display. And...yes..it might be a connection to something I have selected for another client or something I own myself. My web site mostly has photos taken of clients' places. There are also photos of the home we have now and some of our previous residence. Maybe I should share photos of our house from the 80's. It doesn't look 80's except for the laminate kitchen, but I'll have to dig them out and scan them!
In approximate order, most design professionals work with: furniture, window and floor coverings, wall treatments, lighting and then the rest. "The rest" includes all of the decisions and products that must (at least "should) be selected and determined before furniture is chosen and carpet and blinds are ordered. Those items are: installed lighting placement and switching, kitchen layouts, faucets and shower doors (and more) for bathrooms, etc. I start with anything built in, then the shell of the room (walls, windows, floors, ceilings) and then go on to portable items like furniture. Contractors that know me may even recognize in a basement full of light fixtures which ones were selected by me and which we chosen by a lighting store. It's the same with bathroom tiles and tile layouts. There are so many, many ways in which to be totally creative with each project; so many choices to be made.
If someone would come to my house, chances are they wouldn't check out the shower products in the different bathrooms and the hardware on the vanities. In fact, a friend from out of town once asked me: “Do you know what you have?” Uh, Yeah! But, I am not “doing” my house for clients, it's for us! I can share paint my paint colors, furniture selections, lighting or ceiling fan selections, even carpet styles. Occasionally, clients (and friends) are interested in learning more about art we have purchased so that they can investigate the artist's work for their own collections. I can usually help them with that information as it's interspersed with other decisions made for their project.
In an earlier "Design Sense" post, I quoted a client who when I first met her said something like this: "I don't expect to find my house in your portfolio, I only want to know that you know what you're doing!"
Of course, that's why I share photos of my design work on my web site, including my home(s), with prospective clients. If any of them would like to check out details in person after we have met and talked together, they could come by after I tidy up (same as anyone else)! Then, they just have to be prepared to meet and greet Fuzz on their way in.
Claire Golan & Associates: 847-948-9294