Archive for September, 2010
After the plans were drawn up of the actual space I started the simplification process, which had already begun formulating in my head from the moment I stepped into the house. The design intent was to visually increase the size of the house by opening it up.
You can see from the demolition plans below where we eliminated walls, added windows & doors and relocated rooms which in turn increased the square footage to other areas in the house.
The process is like lining up dominos and knocking them down one by one, in working with renovations one change brings the next step to vision. I knew this was the beginning of a long process but one that was starting to gel in my mind. The next process was running the plans by the client.
Presenting to clients plans of an altered space is a tricky process, as all they can see in their minds is what exists. I first start by explaining what I saw as problems in the space then what our intent for the design of the house is. Then I like to cut up a print of the plan by the different areas, i.e. foyer, living, dining room and so on. I start presenting from the entrance of the house and with glue tape attach the next space and then the next to follow in the natural progression as one would walk through the space.
It is a puzzle that I have created piecing together the house room by room. The purpose of this is for the clients to focus on what I am presenting and not have them distracted by looking at other areas which I am not ready to discuss. I use this approach when I am showing new plans or decorative plans.
*** If you would like to see all the posts together you can click on ” Behind The Scenes” under categories***
What an incredible collection of beautiful carpets in the new book, The Decorative Carpet by Alix G. Perrachon. It is a compilation of different designers including David Easton, Juan Montoya, Clodagh and myself. I highly recommend it as it gives you a range of designers perspective’s on using handmade carpets from around the world as decorative pieces.
My fiancé and I recently bought our first home and I couldn’t wait to get in and start decorating. I am not formally trained and I don’t have a ton of experience, but I’m an artist who studied fine art in France and I’ve always been told I am a natural when it comes to interiors. I thought I would finally be able to show my true vision to the world using our new home.
For the last six months I have obsessed over every detail, lived and breathed design, arranged and rearranged floor plans, and scoured every possible resource. After all that work, I don’t feel like my vision is coming together at all. In fact, I think that I have put so much pressure on myself to make my home perfect that I have lost my vision entirely. I’ve also been hindered by my fiancé’s contrasting ideas for our space as well as price and time constraints.
I follow your blog and your vision is so clear and apparent in all that you do. Your spaces always possess that “thing without a name” or that certain something that can’t be articulated, but it makes a space great and whole. As an experienced designer, do you have any suggestions for finding my vision and keeping it at the front of my mind?
Great space is not about being perfect, it is not about every item being a ten and it’s not just about the objects in the room. It is about the concept or vision of the overall space.
To me obsessing translates to insecurity and being unsure of what you want. I always tell people to go with their gut, trust yourself and try not to second guess every decision you need to make.
I would first start by doing a floor plan and furniture plan to scale on paper, go into your mind and pull out what is important to you and your fiancé and what are your needs. Then you can start balancing it out in the plan. You should be aware of scale, the ying and yang and try to have a sense of humor.
If this doesn’t bring you joy or a sense of well being, maybe you should hire a professional that can translate your wishes into reality.
Who out there has had similar problems?
Is it harder to do it for yourself than for other people?
For my Christmas travel which I take every year, I am going to Uzbekistan and possibly to Tajikistan. These are not places that have a lot of literature about them and I would be very grateful if anybody out there could give me some tips on where to go or any information.
After some negotiations Mr.M purchased the house with half of his mind thinking it was a money pit and the other half thinking it was a nice piece of property in a great neighborhood.
From working with the M’s before I know that Mrs. M loves a lot of things and her likes continuously change. She is an artist so her creativity is not to be questioned but her decision making has sometimes driven me distraction. Mr. M on the other hand is very decisive and concerned with the bottom line, but most of all he wants Mrs. M to be happy. So during our first meeting we discussed their thoughts on what the house should be. Their first suggestions were: let’s make it a modern house with some traditional elements, I want it to be a country house, I want it to look like a barn and so on…
My immediate sense was to do the opposite of what the apartment was. It should read country traditional with some very clean modern details. We will accomplish this with the use of straight lines in the structure, the elimination of arches and some of the frou frou that had been applied to the house later on. I also want to bring more light into the environment creating a stronger tie to the outside by cleaning and opening the space up.
When I designed Mr. & Mrs. M’s New York apartment it was (and still is) in an art deco building with very traditional detailing on the inside. So I wanted to apartment to read modern with some traditional touches. For the new beach house I thought it should be traditional with some modern touches to create a nice transition from the past to the present.
I gave them homework, Mrs. M was to research appliances and look through pictures to see what environments she liked. Mr. M was to find a contractor that could get the job done being able to follow our design and bring it in at a good price.
The crew from my office (2 males & 2 females) went to the house to take measurements. I was anxious all morning until they called, I was not sure if they were even willing to go into the house. I hadn’t really given them the choice but they are a gutsy group. The girls screamed to scare the mice and the men took the dirtiest of rooms. I went to photograph the house with the foresight of this being great for my next book.
It is the termination of a project prior to completion, whether it be financial or difference of opinion it doesn’t matter. I have explained this to one of my facebook friends who has recently suffered this blow. I have told her that it has happened to me and almost every designer out there. Her friends recommended contacting the client and saying to them, “What can I do to make you happy, what can I do to make this right for you? “
These are hard words to say when you feel you have done your upmost on behalf of the client, where your personality and talent in no way have been the cause of the problem. We are living in times where an enormous sense of entitlement and turmoil is prevailing in our society.
I think we should all be responsible for our actions and ourselves and try to learn from whatever lesson is in front of us and refocus towards the positive.
How have you coped with things of this nature? Speaking from 37 years of experience I still felt like a piece of crap when things like this happen.
In the difficult times that we are in now surprisingly enough a movie helped me put things into perspective. I don’t know if you trust my judgment….but you must see the 1949 movie The Fountainhead.
It put things into perspective for me by making me ask the question
Are we here as creative people to serve and satisfy all the whims of clients, disregarding whether we are compromising or turning our backs on our integrity for the sake of pleasing?
The movie illustrates that the 1940’s had the same problems we do now, making it a timeless quandary. The love story between Patricia Neal and Gary Cooper can get a little corny, but what he speaks of, what he believes in and where he draws the line is really inspiring.
You can see the price one pays for standing up for what he/she believes in, but you could end up looking like Gary Cooper…. not such bad reward.
My publisher just gave me the great news that 4,100 books have been pre-ordered and we are still about a month away from the launch. This is of course because of all of you. Thank you so much for all your kindness and support. I do hope you enjoy it.
City: new york
First of all I have to say that as a new interior designer, I always admire your work and creativity.
I have 2 questions for you.
The first one is how do you take creative risks, like pairing completely different furniture and styles? Any advice?
Second, what are your first client meetings like? What do you show or bring with you to discuss with your potential clients?
Thank you and keep up the amazing work!
I don’t see it as a creative risk; I see it as I dialogue. They may be different in style but somehow I try to find a common thread between them. I go for the ying and yang, square with round, smooth with rough, but there should always be something that gives the different styles compatibility.
My first client meeting is always in my office as I feel it is important for them to be in my surroundings to be able to see my work. This also gives me the opportunity to bring out my three books, my publicity books and my past job folders. Another advantage of being in my office is that if I need to illustrate a thought right away everything I need is at my fingertips.
I discuss with them how I work and I try to find out what it is that they want and more importantly what they don’t want. I find that giving too many ideas without knowing their likes and dislikes can be a double edged sword……you may suggest something that might turn them off too early on in the process.
I had the pleasure to spend the day with the ladies from Rue Magazine a few weeks back. You can see our day starting on page 140 ( dont loook too closely at the portraits) As I am sure most of you already know they launched today. Congratulations.