Inspiration . . . We’ve just about reached inspiration overload in this business. There are so many images and so many ways to collect them now. And there’s a little bit of danger in going overboard with all this inspiration.
Because people can get obsessed with their inspirations. They can get too attached. They can end up wanting to just duplicate or copy what they see . . . down to every last detail.
Where’s the fun in that? Where’s the creativity? Where’s the special? Where’s the “design created just for me?”
Now, if that’s what you want, then go for it. Hire a contractor and get it done. Go to a furniture store and hand over your image and tell them to show you everything they have that looks like the furniture on that page.
And, I can't believe I'm going to say this.....don’t hire a designer.
A designer doesn’t copy. A designer doesn’t duplicate. A designer doesn’t imitate.
A designer Creates. Imagines. Envisions. Rethinks.
Do you see the difference?
A designer takes your inspiration of the end result and makes it happen in a fresh, unique way. There will be ideas and products used that you would have never thought of yourself. They will be combined creatively, in a way that you did not expect. How your inspiration becomes your vision is where the creativity and expertise of the designer is used.
On the other hand . . . A contractor is an order-taker. (A contractor told me this. It's not an insult, it's a fact.)
Most contractors really just want decisions made so they can quickly and efficiently go about doing their job. As long as it satisfies the client at the end and they get paid, they are happy. They are skilled at implementing the job and have the tools and sources to get it done. They have to know what the job is though. They need products specified, and the manner in which they are installed has to be as definitive as possible.
Style vs. Bottom Line
I recently had a lighting sales rep in my studio and she said selling to designers and selling to contractors or builders are two totally different things. Designers want to hear about style, finish, quality of product. They are concerned with how it will visually affect their project. With contractors it's all about the bottom line. They really aren't concerned with how it will "visually affect their project", they want to know that it's within their allowance and if it's not, will the client want it so much they will pay for the difference.
Do you see how these two professionals are coming from two totally different places?
When you ask a contractor or builder how they think everything will look, you're really not asking the right person. They will happily build whatever you want as long as you make a DECISION and PAY for it. Whereas a designer who has emotionally invested themselves in a project cares very much about how everything impacts the space.
The designer is trained to see and create the vision, the contractor is trained to implement it.
I attended a seminar where a really knowledgeable high-end contractor was speaking. He was telling a story about one of his projects where a door opening was in question. There were all kind of things in the wall where the opening was to be placed -- electrical, plumbing, etc. -- and it was going to cost more money to move them. The contractor made the decision to move the opening down the wall a few feet to avoid those things and he put the opening there.
When the architect (designer) got to the job he was not happy. He showed the contractor how the opening, located just where he wanted it, was the key element in the design of the entire remodel. That placement allowed a vista through the entire house all the way to the gardens outside. It was the difference between a good project and a great project.
Yes, the homeowner was willing to pay the additional amount for that key element in the design. There's no way the contractor could have known how that decision he made impacted the design. Do you see how the two professionals on the job are looking at things from two very different perspectives?
Great designers don't duplicate, they originate
So, if you want to duplicate something, a vision that’s already been created by someone else, hire the contractor. If you want something new, fresh, unique, special, custom . . . hire the designer.