Are you excited at the end of the day to climb in your car and head home to your safe comfortable happy place you call home? Of course, you should be. You’ve decorated it to reflect your color preferences, your style and your comfort levels. But did you design it for your health?
Summer interior jobs can slow down in this season of sea, sand and vacations. But it can also be the best time for many home improvements to get done. Homeowners typically don’t think about calling on their designer when windows need replacing, plumbing needs repair or appliances have become worn out. Allying yourself with contractors whom you have vetted for insurance, references and credentials will strengthen your client relationships in ways that will pay off for years. Knowing the sources of as many products as possible as well as quality and price could put you in a different league in their eyes. How is this done? Put your organizer’s hat on and follow these steps:
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST
One thing seen in creative fields such as interior design is a transitioning of roles and careers aligned with the need to create – yet different. A person may start out in one area of expertise, get the training and pursue the career with all the enthusiasm and vigor necessary. Then they see how another peer in a different yet similar field is going about their business and think, “Well, I could do that – perhaps even better.” And so begins the transition. It’s easy to have this happen in interior design and decorating. That innate creative spirit gets a little bored. Creativity urges trying on new pursuits. That’s the nature of the beast.
It’s the first of the year – yeah!? February rather slips in after January… after all the hoopla we get wrapped into. January… we deal with cleaning up from the holidays, feel guilty as we know we spent too much and gained too much weight and know resolutions don’t work. February we are trying valiantly to refocus and get our head in the game. But all that refocusing can dampen our core, our vibrancy – our creativity!
Our creativity sparks our life- lights it up, feeds our soul. It could be said it is an entity unto itself that lives within us. Creativity can’t be contained in a jar or in one direction. Most creatives need exposure to multiple outlets to hone their best work. They often have a varied career switching fields of endeavor. February is given to us as a month to slow down (not hunker down) and refresh our creative soul.
Beware -I feel a rant coming on…
My husband and I were having a discussion over morning coffee time today. We started discussing the economy and technology. He is a fourth generation in a line of engineers. Although he loves designing ways to make things work better, whether it be carpentry, electrical or managing a business, he can’t see technology for technology’s sake. I have to admit there is a fine line between technological innovations that better people’s lives and those that just give a false impression that because it’s new it must be a better way to go. The philosophy that if it is moving the economy toward new heights we must be growing and growing is essential – right? Which brings us back to the economy. There was a New York Times article on October 28, 2012 about a man diagnosed with lung cancer and given six months to live. He made the choice to go to Greece to die. Now we all know Greece is a struggling country economically. In the region he chose to live, the people live primitively by Western standards. They eat very simply – home made bread, what they grow in their gardens, yogurt they make, beans and vegetables, occasionally meat. They drink tea of mostly local herbs, goats’ milk and home made wine. They work at what the local economy can support, visit each other a good portion of the day, nap in the afternoon, dance and sing with friends at night – and yes get plenty of sun every day. The area has a large portion of its population that lives to be over 100. Our man with the cancer opted for no chemotherapy, hospitals, hospices or gravestone. Actually he didn’t make funeral arrangements because he passed his 6 month time period and just kept living. He lived where the economy was not “growing”. Did he rob the economy of what it could have made from the medical and funeral costs. Did he cheat the lawyer out of fees, the city and county out of taxes, the real estate agent to pass on or sell his house and “things”? An automobile industry wouldn’t have flourished because of him, as he opted for no car. He lived simply and happily without disease.
A relative’s recent experience with the twenty year old home she just moved into taught us a few facts worth sharing. Water started appearing in her home along one side of her home. Her floors are large marble tiles as she lives in Florida where they are common. When water started seeping up in between the tiles when stepped on, she went on high alert and got a plumber in pronto. After probing for a good long while, he found water standing under the house. This eliminated the sprinkler system surrounding the exterior or a completely broken pipe that would have gushed. A slow leaking hot water pipe was discovered behind the drywall in the office. Once capped off, it stopped the leak but further work will have to find the other end of the pipe to finalize the repair and make sure there are no other contributing spots.
Almost all procedures in interior design are based on proportions and measurements – aka spatial relationships. Putting the relationships into perspective requires a plan and these plans are traditionally produced to communicate visually.
The design process may begin with freehand concept sketching to enable the designer to relay onto paper what he envisions and see what needs to be added or modified.
Presentation plans are the initial schematics showing the overall concepts: site placement, the exterior and interior architecture, the mechanical plan the electrical plan, plumbing plan and fire protection plan (which today often includes a sprinkler system).
We are in the process of updating our 20 year old home to get it ready to go on the market. The effect of four dogs at various times and many kids traipsing in and out in earlier years hit our happy home full force. Flooring was the hardest hit. When we bought our house in 1996, pickled oak was a leading trend. We paired the oak flooring with a green/aqua carpet that I thought made it look a little Scandinavian. I grew to hate the carpet – but not enough to replace it until now.
We are in an era that is currently enjoying the fruits of hundreds of years of contributions in all the various elements of interior design. It wasn’t even an individual practice until the early 1900’s, although it functioned as a necessity under the fields of architecture, construction and landscaping.
Often we look at the outer shells of our spaces as places to just arrive into and escape the outside world for awhile. We stash our stuff, eat , sleep and do all the mundane utilitarian things we are bound to do. We can of course condense our life down to a TV, refrigerator, bathroom and bed. Simplifying our lives does have merit. But I believe most of us have an innate desire to enrich our environments with design elements that make us feel unique, that tell a story about who we are up to now and who we strive to be.
Design elements work by engaging our senses of color, texture, sounds, smells. They can be subtle inferences or they can loudly announce our stand in this world. The entry in our home makes the first indication of what we are about.