Have you seen that TV commercial for Kohler faucets, where the couple is sitting in the architect’s office?
“Design a house around this,” she says.
Such a request actually isn't all that unordinary.
That one single faucet says a lot about their style, their quality, their budget.
Of course, there’s always room for elaboration.
One of the most important things a designer can do in the first meeting is listen and observe.
Smart designers follow your direct requests for your project, and then do a little reading between the lines too. The more information you can give us about your wants and needs, the better. However... we do like a little freedom to create.
The woman in that ad didn’t say much by presenting that faucet, instead giving her architect a lot of freedom to create. If her only requirement was that the home be designed around that faucet, and she didn’t care about the materials, color, layout or a budget, he would be one happy architect.
One of the most important things you can do before meeting with a designer for the first time, is determine the scope of your project.
There will always be a little massaging here, but if you know up front what areas you want to affect and if you’ve determined a realistic budget, then it becomes a lot easier to describe the outcome you want.
Do you want to entertain in this space? Does everything need to be pet and child friendly? What color palette speaks to you the most? What style would you enjoy seeing in this space?
The outcome or end result would incorporate the answers to these questions and many more.
I’ve been on many a consultation where people don't provide any direction. They want me to come in and tell them what’s wrong with their space and how to fix it.
Without knowing what you want to achieve and the parameters of your project, that is really an unfair question. I may blurt out that I think you should gut the place and start over. Or, I might recommend painting the house, when you’ve just finished a paint job.
Producing ideas right there on the spot is really not the best way to design a project. Thoughtful consideration and careful planning make for the best end results.
It’s a much more successful meeting for all parties concerned if, instead, you are prepared with your scope, your budget, and your goals, and the designer does a lot of listening.
That being said, there’s a fine line.
I mentioned “freedom to create” before. It’s important not to get too hung up on every little detail you want in your project, your grand list, which most likely has more than your budget can afford anyway. If you get too specific, too attached to each element and detail you’re requesting, then you might as well not have a designer.
You would be better served hiring a contractor or going to a furniture store directly to place your order for your project.
In order to take advantage of the creativity you’re wanting and will be paying for, and to benefit from the ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of yourself, you need to provide a little room for the designer to do their thing.
If you’re getting ready to call a designer, the more info you can share about what you want, the better. Just remember that the real value in hiring a designer comes when they have some room to create something unique, just for you.