Almost 40 years ago, when I started in the field of residential design almost everyone seemed to
follow a similar process:
● Gather information
● Create 3 design schemes
● Present 3 design schemes
● Throw out 1
● Combine the parts of the other 2 designs that the client liked into one design
● Present the new revised design again
● … wash, rinse, repeat. …
Whew, I’m glad that’s done! I’m getting tired just thinking about all that back and forth!! Hope I didn’t lose you in the middle of that.
As a designer with decades of experience having developed hundreds of remodel designs over the years, I could gather information and go back to my office and develop a design that I think is good and works well, but this really misses the point. That would be designing for myself, in a vacuum and devoid of many critical considerations I might never discover without talking to you, and besides, as we all know vacuums suck.
What I’ve learned is the old process sorely lacked specific input from the client, the people who actually were going to live in the house! Today we cut through most of the back and forth by developing understanding of specific wants and goals as soon as possible in the process. I’ve discovered the best way to do this is by having a conversation, and fostering this collaboration while actually sketching a proposed design.
This requires a dialog between client and designer, and allows us both to explore “what if?” scenarios. The client is encouraged to say: “yes I like that”, or “no, I don’t like that” and ask “what if we did this?” and get an immediate response and explanations. This helps steer the design in real time, and prevents me as a designer from chasing concepts that you would not find acceptable. Most people have a pretty good understanding of what they would like, most just don’t know how to get from here to there. The result of this collaboration is a tailored design that you like and understand because you have been engaged in the process of creating it from the very beginning.
The point is this: I am designing for you, not someone else. Each person or family has an entirely different set of experiences, needs, aspirations and requirements. Yes, there is plenty of commonality between what most people want, but it is the differences that make each design opportunity unique!If you are looking for a “Starchitect” to tell you “what to want”, I am probably not your guy. If you want someone to partner with, to collaborate on an amazing design; now we’re talking!