My goal in every new project that we take on (residentially speaking) is to help the owners create a home and not just a house. In order to do that you need to be able to tap into something deeper, more personal - soul. You know a house has soul immediately and you feel that ist is more than just a house it is a home. It's not as easy to describe let alone blog about it but allow me to try.
There are projects that we take on that despite our best efforts or intentions, just never find their groove. Some we finish, others we finish to a certain point and others well that's for another day. There are always signs when the groove isn't being found - sometimes we keep at it and the groove is found other times we scratch our head a lot and try and see what we are missing.
After 16 years, I know the answer but again it's hard to nail down in one neat little summary but I'll try. If you are working with a designer, with the goal being creating a home not just a space that you will live in or coexist in with someone or some others or by yourself the key to finding the soul connection does not rest on the designer it rests in you, the client. We curate, filter, and weave together the elements that will make your house a home - which is ultimately a reflection of you at your more personal level - sancutary. You have to give of yourself or surrender aspects of yourself to the designer in order for them to synthesize functionality, with both the personal an the aesthetic. Recently, I was discussing with our #LongBranch client how she envisions using her now very open concept home. I asked her about what her vision of dining formal or informal was in her house - and she is still getting back to me on that and so we've managed to figure out a way (I think) that will let her feel like her house is finished but leave the door open for us to be able to make changes and additions to the house after she's lived in her new space a bit. (I'll leave the discussion of Design Inertia for a different blog)
When a project is IN the groove decisions are made easily - some are still wrestled with don't get me wrong, but you just feel things clicking. You get VERY excited about it. I get VERY excited about it. When a project isn't in the groove, you wrestle more than you enjoy and well you settle. I recently worked on a project where budget was a concern and we had to settle. I remember sharing pictures of some aspects of it on here I think and my friend Shelley on twitter commented that it didn't feel or look like a Meredith Heron project. I had hopes that it could be styled to reflect more of my je ne sais quoi but that didn't happen. Shelley was right - it wasn't me - there was no soul.
We had a project shot for a special something something that I'm not at liberty to discuss and I took a picture of one part of the room with my phone in the middle of a set up. There are cables and wires in the foreground of the shot but I have to tell you even with these cables and gear in the shot, the room soars. There is so much character and life it jumps out at you from my phone. It has so much soul I think I should rename it Smokey Robinson. The homeowners have become friends and I truly enjoy their company and I love being in their home because it is a home. So much love and life there.
Have you ever heard the expression that you can't design if you have a gun to your head? You also can't create if you don't have the facts, understand the expectations and you also can't make something out of nothing - if the budget isn't there, miracles can't always happen. If the emotional bank account is overdrawn the project is also destined to fail even if there is budget to be had. Design is personal to the core.
As a designer, it's taken me years to find my own groove. I know what I am capable of providing to home owners and I want more of that. There's such an endorphin rush when you see it all come together in such a personal and profoud way. It's why we do what we do. Soul. That's the benchmark.