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Let's Get Something Started...Again.

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

One question we get asked repeatedly, usually by every client we meet is: How hard is it to go from one project, and walk into a new one; with a different design style? I can't answer for all designers, but I can share with you, how it is for me, and our team as a whole. It is however, kind of a tricky question. It requires a two part answer.

I may go from a traditional farmhouse client's home and walk right into a modern minimalist's home.

Fortunately for me and both those client's in the above scenario, my outa site, outa mind mentality, comes in handy. My mother used to call me the little absent minded professor. Walking into a different client's house to me, is like waking up to a new day and I find it refreshing doing a different design style. I compare it to my art. I will paint modern art , very traditional art, and everything in between. I simply love to have the paint brush in my hand pressing on the canvas, and creating something beautiful.

What is difficult for me, is actually leaving a project that is incomplete. I am not only talking about the process of creating the design, but also, the implementation of the design. With the latter, being the most difficult to leave one day to complete the next. Although, we have done this quite a bit, I still get impatient waiting on a bid, or worse; a special order material needed to complete the project.

The process:

  • Consultation: We go meet a client, get to know them a little better. During this meeting we familiarize ourselves with their style, and look at their project. This is also the time to gather budget information.

  • Designing the space: Over the course of a few days, I look at the project at different times, to ensure myself that I have looked at this space from all angles and all angles are about this client and their lifestyle. Before I consider submitting the design to a client, I always have another team member look at it.

  • Collecting all the cost to present with the design. I like to have 2 different options for the client to look at.

  1. Does this design style fit the personality of the client?

  2. Does this design tell a story about who they are, or where they are going?

  3. What does this design say about the client?

  4. Is it a functional design for their lifestyle?

  5. Does it meet or exceed their budget?

It is very difficult for me to have a conversation or stop my search during the creation process. For instance, if I am working on a floor plan or a presentation and I have to take a call. I will fumble my way through the call, as I am 85% still thinking about the design at hand. A good example:

The other day I was working on a presentation. The client had made it clear they wanted a fun design implemented into an office area. I was completely enthralled in this design when my phone rang. I had already been playing phone tag with a potential client. They unfortunately, called back during my writing out the presentation part...

The first part of the phone conversation went well, as I was mainly listening but allowing my thoughts to drift (still designing another space in my head). Notice I said the first part went well? It went well until, the potential client paused, and I awkwardly realized they were waiting for a response to a question of process. I answered "Lucky for you I am very fun... (instead of stopping here, I persevered on trying to make that very odd statement make sense in the conversation) and because I am so fun, this will make the remodeling process a bit less painful for you!" UGH did I just hear myself say all that verbal vomit? Yes, yes, I certainly did. Nevertheless, I muddled on through to the end of the call and somehow managed to schedule a consultation. Relieved to end the conversation and feeling embarrassed that I had made little to no sense at all.

As painful as it is for me to leave an incomplete design idea, going from one design to the next can be fun! In-between, our first meeting with one client and our second visit with them, we have already met someone new. We have already started another design for a different client. This process goes on and on... For me this isn't difficult at all.

Where I have an issue, truly is during the implementation of the design. I hate leaving to have to wait for the rest of the floors to be installed the next day...I want to see it all done right then and there! I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and WhattaBing, WhattaBang, WhattaBoom it is done!

Unfortunately, that isn't the way that part works, and I have found during COVID times, it is even a more frustrating process for me! Never before wait times and delays on products that never were a problem before to get within a week, now are 3 weeks or more out...ugh

I have to prepare myself, and my clients for the wait. This seems to help me and them to get through the waiting stage a bit easier. Remodeling is one of the most stressful things a person can go through. It is excruciating at times even. If we have prepared them and ourselves, it is far less stressful for the client. Still stressful for us, but isn't that one of the reasons we are hired? To take on their stress, and relieve some of the anxiety?

Sometimes, I definitely welcome the feel of the wind and sun on my skin as I listen to my music loudly blaring down the highway, headed to my next client's home. I get lost in the music and the drive, it helps keep me balanced; to have this freedom, away from everyone and everything.

Each and every time that a design is completely implemented and finished, it absolutely makes me feel so very proud to be a part of the process. I feel so completely happy the moment I see how satisfied the client is at the completed project. I also become more impatient to see any other and all other projects that I have going to completion LOL I guess you could say this part of the design process is like a drug to me, and I never get enough of it.

Speaking of moving on to the next design, it is time that I start that process right now! I hope this post was insightful for you!

~Trish Whitsell

Did you enjoy this post? Did you make you want to see what a designer can do for your space?

Maybe enlightened you on our design process?

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