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 the 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.
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.
As professional designers and decorators, no one is impervious to the client you have taken on shopping on their own, checking the validity of your prices, coming up with new products etc. etc. Here are some guidelines you may consider when this dilemma arises.
1 – First really zeroing in on the clients you are about to deal with is crucial. Using confidence and discernment, ask the right questions in the first appointment. This goes a long way in seeing whether they are your ideal client.
What is a functional floor plan? You can’t think about the functionality of a floor plan without thinking about how the household functions on a day to day basis.
Each person in the family has a routine, habits of living and an individual energy level. Multiply the number of people in a household by all those factors and life could get messy. Building some safeguards into a floor plan reduces the headaches a family could encounter.
If you took the time to trace the trips throughout the home made in a day with a different colored marker for each person what do you think you would see? Would there be constant congestion in the kitchen? Would there be rooms never used? How about trips up and down stairs just to maintain the laundry? If you used time lapse photography, would you see a gradual build up of flotsam and jetsam accumulating in the family room, the entry, mudroom or around the kitchen table or the bathrooms? These would require more trips to clean and control repetitively but could cease to be a problem if proper storage or places to perform various tasks were planned in advance. Perhaps you would discover with the colored marker chart the difficulty of getting from point A to point B because of large pieces of furniture blocking a traffic pattern or a lack of passage ways or stairs.
It is necessary that we all know the differences between the many styles of design eras, furniture and houses, but do we also think about descriptions of interior styles in a more thematic way? For instance: Glamorous, Well Traveled, Sexy, Industrial, Botanical, Curated, Into the Wild, Lodge Luxe are all decorating schemes we’ve seen in marketing for stores, products and magazines.
Many creative types that pursue a career in designing or art manage to keep the mathematical area of the world at arms length – until it inserts itself into their lives in order to calculate pretty much anything or run a business without making all the mistakes first.