Design Strategy - Narrowing In On Style





With So Many Design Images And Styles....

It is difficult to narrow the focus.  Not for designers but for people who are doing their own project or communicating their dream home ideas to a designer.  If you are confused about how to narrow your style ideas or helping a client do so...read on.

This conversation really did happen and I had decided to take the project because I truly liked the client and her love of beautiful things.  She didn't need me there to point out beauty....she needs me to rein her in and choreograph something beautiful with her joy of all things gorgeous.

This issue has become more typical than before because of Pinterest, Houzz, HGTV and other inspiring visual home design productions, publications, and digital catalogs.   They are all really exciting, inspiring and a real treat for the eye and imagination...The thing is, how do you put all of those requests into a person's dream beach home?  Their get away they have been waiting to build for years??

With delicate thought and choice of words. Pinpointing the best overall style, scheme and plan of action takes a bit of strategy to make it cohesive.  You want it to sing, reflect your clients, function beautifully for their lifestyle, reflect your great eye for style,  ability to implement a whole house build and design scheme....and so do your clients.  It can be done and does take some strategy.  Here are some tips.  If you are doing this for yourself, get someone to help you as its often too close to make a smart decision on...and mistakes are terribly expensive not to mention altogether disappointing.

5 Tips to help narrow style choices and still deliver

1) Do you remember those standardized tests in school that would name 4 or 5 things and then ask you to name what is most similar about the group? The one thing??  This is how I treat a challenge such as the many many choices challenge.

2) I look at all of the images, listen to what the client loves, look at little things they have kept as inspiration, look at their current level of style and how they live.  

3) I then compliment them on what is good....and (honestly) say, " I could have 10 houses and they could easily all look different"  One in the city, one in the country, another on the east coast, a brownstone, a ranch.a farm, a beach house and etc.  Each would have a different vibe/style that would reflect the bones of the home and the surrounding area.  You would definitely see my style there but the area and architecture dictate a lot of the process.

4) Example:  This clients current home is more formal and traditional.  It has wonderful details and thoughtful touches but it is more formal. Her dream house will have a more casual flair.  The furnishings will accommodate pets, family visiting, and some sand occasionally.  The styles are clearly different and she loves so much of everything.  Where do I start?

5) I find the unifying thread and come back with concepts to show my clients.   I see how they respond and usually,(because of experience)  I am correct.  I also let them know that cohesive style is important.  A house of vignettes from different styles  will be confusing and unrelaxing.  Which is very true and important to let her know this.

What I came up with... 

After really hearing her and seeing all her images, and tiles, and things she has collected to communicate herself with....I realized she loves a Hawaiian craftsman bungalow style with coastal flair, white or warm white paneling and beautiful casements, color accents,c ustom tiles that are hand made, texture, depth....a story.  Do you know what?? She is an avid reader and was an English major and devours books,

 Do you know what?? She is an avid reader and was an English major and revels in books, stories, art. and the process....I just needed to define it into one story.

This project will take over a year for sure.  I will keep you updated but I truly like this client and know we are a good fit.  Easy?  No its never easy but it never has to be hard either.

I am glad to have a positive influence on peoples lives through design.

If this was helpful...

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Elizabeth Ribons has been a designer and entrepreneur most all her life.  She has successfully mentored others into their creative businesses and provides her knowledge, tips, and experience through  Better by Design Academy blog and online mentoring.