What follows is the first installment of a four part interview I had with Michael Payne, the famed interior designer who was the original host of HGTV's Designing for the Sexes. Enjoy!
CA: On HGTV's Designing for the Sexes, you worked with many couples who were at odds with each other over their differing preferences in design style for a particular room. And by the end of each episode, you were always able to come up with a solution that each were able to love.
So tell me . . . What was it about how you approached a couple’s situation that made all of your projects so successful? Was it the way you listened to each couple? Or was it simply good design?
Well, the truth of the matter is it relied on both - arguably, equally both.
It’s not possible to do a project at all without fully understanding the needs and likes of the people you’re working with. So I spend a lot of time talking with them, sometimes individually, sometimes together, just to fully understand what they like about design and what they dislike.
Then, once it was time to design the space, I was always keeping in mind their voices and the very things they wanted, because it was imperative that I gave them as much of what they precisely wanted as possible. However, that wasn’t always possible.
Example: Let’s suppose one person’s favorite color was orange, and -- frankly -- they wanted the entire room to be painted orange. Yet the other person absolutely loathed orange.
My solution: I would come up with a design solution that featured something off-orange.
Then, frankly -- if I may say (laugh) -- the remainder of my solution came down to really good design.
There’s more to good design than simply making something look pretty. Good design is something that’s totally functional, because if it doesn’t work, it’s not worth anything.
Finally, at the end of the project, everything came together, because -- as I said -- I simply kept in mind what the clients wanted. I made sure they both got something they wanted, and I also made sure neither got everything they wanted.
That, right there, was the essence to the success of my projects.
Next Monday (9.6.12.), join Michael and I as we continue our discussion. He’s going to share his secret for how to deal with the most extreme conflicts a couple can have, where each partner prefers a design style that’s the polar opposite of the other.