When I first start working with a new client, one of the most important things I need to do, besides understanding what they are trying to accomplish, is to understand what it is they like (colors, style, etc.) or, more often, to help them to discover what they like. Most people know what they do not like and it is my job to help them find out what they do. My goal is not to give them the house of my dreams, but rather the house of theirs.
One of the most important aspects of our relationship is communication and honesty. Two things are critical to have a great working relationship. One, they need to trust that I know what I am doing, and two, they need to be free to tell me they don't like something without worrying that they will offend me.
My goal with each project is to create a space that the client loves. Years ago, a friend of mine hired a designer to re-decorate her house. But she was never happy with the end result - she says it 'just wasn't her'. She went along with what the designer presented because she doubted herself and believed that he knew what looked good and so therefore she should like it. She also did not want to offend him.
And so one of the first things I talk to a client about is how important it is that they understand that they cannot offend me if they do not like something I show them. Design is subjective and just because something doesn't appeal to me doesn't mean it is not good design. I tell them that I can look through the many shelter magazines that I read each month and see work from some of the top designers and not like some of it. I go on to explain that these designers are talented and their work is considered the best - but that doesn't mean that everyone will like what they do. In the same way, they will not hurt my feelings if they do not like what I present to them and more importantly, if they accept something that I show them and they don't like it, then I have failed.
This does not mean that I don't need to educate and stretch them. It is my job to help them to see new ideas, to get them outside the box they may be in and to help them to understand the basics of good design, but ultimately they are the ones who need to be happy in the finished space.
I think that as designers, it is important to help our clients discover who they are and what they like; to help them to not compare themselves or their houses to what other people are doing - to not follow the latest trend but to create a home for themselves that will have longevity and satisfaction long after the latest trend has passed.
I also think that in this crazy subjective and competitive world that we are in it is important that we are comfortable with who we are and what we do, and that we don't compare ourselves or our work to others. We need to embrace and develop the gifts that we have been given and share those with others the best that we can. And we need to be able to celebrate the wonderful gifts that others have as well.
What do I know for sure? I will always find many, many people who have MORE talent then I do. And that becomes so much more evident to me as I get more immersed into the blogging world and see all the incredible talent that is out there. I can let that stop me ... or inspire me! I choose the latter. (All photos & examples of very talented designers are courtesy of House Beautiful)
Have a blessed Sunday and embrace your God given gifts! xo
"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else."