Monday, May 24, 2010

Don't forget about the trees!

Don't forget about the trees?

After recent discussions with my wannabe interior designer daughter (all of seven years of age), on the interior design for her new bedroom, which by the way is not as nice as her old bedroom (before we started), boy life is tough!
She told me not to forget about the trees!
What, trees in a bedroom, what on earth has she designed?

I sat down with her and looked at her design concept. I think she must have been doing the interior decorating ecourse because she had sorted out what she needed, listed it up, drawn sketches and had a definite theme that she was adamant required no input from me!

You will never guess her theme, so I will tell you. The Sound of Music. For anyone too young to know what this is it is a book and movie made popular years ago with Julie Andrews as the star singer, she played a nun/ nanny (Maria) for a family with no mother and a lot of children and I think from memory it was in Germany or Austria, I need to read the book again.
Anyway, she wanted her room to look like the scenes she had seen in the movie and her book, with mountains and forests. Hence the comment - "don't forget about the trees!"

She has sketched paintings that she wants to do of music notes, mountains, and trees, she has ribbons draped from the ceiling. She hasn't actually completely finished, so I am not sure what else she needs. I now have to get creative and work out how to squeeze a forest into a small bedroom! I have made a start with the forest, I put a pot plant into her room, a peace lily. She was very excited, and a funny thing happened. This is why I am writing this blog if you were wondering where my train of thought was going, every time I walked past the room, I felt like taking a deep breath of fresh air. I know this sounds very strange, and it startled me too. I have concluded that by simply adding one green living thing into her room, I had totally changed the feeling or harmony in there. She is so excited about having a plant, I had honestly never thought about having a living pot plant in a child's room, but I can definitely recommend it, as it has totally changed the dynamic of the room. We have done a lot of the decorating but wait till we get the forest finished!

So the lesson for me, the experienced interior designer, that I am now passing on to you is:
1/ listen to your client as sometimes they can have a brilliant imagination but not no how to implement their ideas
2/ remember that design and decoration doesn't always have to be about material things
3/ having something living and green in a room is often overlooked and undervalued - try it!
4/ don't be afraid to follow your imagination and step outside the normal boundaries, Emily's room is not always going to look like the Sound of Music, we are making it a temporary theme, but for now, that is something that brings her happiness and comfort, she is now no longer scared of the dark, she feels safe in an environment that she has helped create, and what more could you ask for. (Just me to finish the forest!)

The whole process has been a valuable reminder for me to keep an open mind when I meet a new client, even if she is my daughter!

As a footnote, I have added a few extra functions to this blog, I get so many emails from my readers that I can't answer all the questions, so feel free to add questions on the right hand side of this post on my blog, I have started a few just to get you thinking, if you have an answer to a question I would love you to add some input. So feel free to get involved and it might mean your question will get answered quicker.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

When is a designer right or wrong?

When is a designer right or wrong?

I recently was contacted by a contractor on a project that was almost complete, I had allowed the client to make a change, she wanted a feature wall in the corporate color (lime green) in the reception area. It wasn't what I would have chosen, but being an isolated area I decided to compromise the design concept and let the change happen, it wouldn't upset the flow of the remainder of the building.

Well, when the rest of the staff saw the color they all wanted it in their offices. Lime green overload! The contractor had gone ahead with this, even though I had not given him the instruction, and when I saw it, it was worse than I thought. Chris came with me and calmed me down, he thought it was bright and funky. The staff loved it and I was the only one upset.

Unfortunately as designers we do get a little precious. We can go through the entire process of taking the client brief, creating a beautiful workable concept, get the project underway and then the client just has to have the last say.

What I mean is you can educate your client on the process of interior design, make them trust you, after all you have managed to come up with a concept they like, you are a professional and you can visualize the end result.

If they choose to deviate from the scheme, then the results speak for themselves, the design concept has been compromised. Don't get me wrong here, the client involvement is extremely important, but if they want to make changes and have input once the project is underway then you need to stress the importance of letting you know what they want to do.

At the end of the day, my client was happy, I don't think long term they will be as I believe the color was too intense for a work place. We will see who is right and who is wrong? (Still a sore point for me obviously!)

Interior design isn't black or white, it is all personal interpretation. There are no hard fast rules, just guidelines for us to work by. So just remember that being creative cannot be marked with a tick or a cross, only by how good you make your client feel at the end of your project.

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