Design Process: Discovery
DESIGN is an aspect of our society that is essential to our everyday lives. It can be found in the cars we drive, the buildings we work in, the products we use, the ads we see and the furnishings we fill our homes with. It is something that is so apart of us that it is not noticed unless we take a step back and look at how it has shaped our world. And in many ways it can either detract or enhance how we feel, how our everyday lives function and how we perceive our surroundings.
That very intimate relationship we all possess with design is what drew me to this profession in the first place. As an interior designer, we are responsible for elevating a client's home in ways that are sometimes not yet understood by potential clients or the value is not always fully seen until you have worked with a professional and you first walk into a finished space designed specifically with you and your tastes in mind.
For years there was a stigma with interior design, that our only purpose was to make a room "pretty" and to provide what were referred to as the "non-essential details". While what we intend as an end result is a space that is pretty, it is nowhere near what we provide beneath the surface. Each designer approaches the stages of design in vastly different ways, but at the heart of it we all go through the same overall process that ensures a space that while pretty from the first glance has so much more to it. Unless we called your attention to the specifics you may not notice them and that is exactly what is achieved when a space is truly functional in the best sense of the word because the space works so well that you don't even notice it.
To truly know whether or not a designer is adept at their business and their craft you would need to assess the level of detail that goes into their process and their design schemes and how they are ultimately implemented. A top-notch designer won't just sweep into your home and start measuring for drapes and spouting off ideas for furniture arrangements. Instead, a top-notch designer would be someone who skillfully and quietly takes in the details of your home. He or she would take stock of what style your home is, the best features and details, notice the type of furnishings you seem to gravitate to as well as colors and all this before a discussion was even started to find out more about you.
We would then ask you intimate questions about how you utilize a space, what works for you and what doesn't, what makes you excited to live in your home and what you want to improve upon. While the word intimate might scare some, this is in fact a truly great benefit of finding a professional who can understand you best is that we can design a space that is truly you. We get to know you intimately because what is more intimate than the place you come home to every day. Where you experience joy and sadness, love and heartbreak, grow a family, share dinners with friends and grow old with someone.
To know whether or not a designer you are looking to hire is truly worth their salt, you as a client should be on the lookout for the following things:
- Does the designer ask you in-depth questions about who you are and what you like and don't like? The distaste of certain things is as important as the things we like.
- Does the designer walk through the spaces with you and study the details and architecture of a room?
- Does the designer ask you about how you utilize each space ... whether you entertain guests often, or need a space for the kids to do homework while you're cooking, or if you cook a lot or not at all, if the home needs to be pet-friendly, etc?
- Does the designer ask you how you want to feel in the space? This is a strong factor as we tie our emotions to our home environments and we want you to love where you live.
- Does the designer ask you about your timeline and your budget?
Without each of these questions, then the designer cannot possibly complete what we call the discovery part of the design process. We focus so much on this one step as it is the key to achieving a great and functional design that you will love. And in part this is also the most important part of the process for the client as well as it is a chance to get to know the designer and whether or not your personalities make a great match for such an intimate relationship as this.
Check back with us later this week when we discuss the second phase of the process which involves finding our inspiration and framework for a room and where the design first starts to take shape. As always we'd love for you to share any thoughts you have with us in the comments. We love hearing from you! XX - Amanda