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Miami Makeover Update

by habituallychic

03 . 13 . 12
I received a lot of great comments and emails about my friend’s condo makeover project.  One reader sent a question that I thought warranted a full post. 

“I don’t mean this to sound critical but it will. It is a genuine question so here goes- I keep hearing what you want which is different from what the client wants. Why do you want to influence him in your color choices? What if he hates it after it is all installed and realizes he really wanted that neutral decor he kept asking for? Is it because you think he really likes the color but just doesn’t know how to express it?” – Humbled

First let me say that I am only helping my friend in order to earn my ability to stay at his condo when I visit Miami.  But my approach to his project is the same as  with a real client.  The photos I posted would be something I would pull for a first meeting.  A client hires a designer for their expertise.  They definitely have ideas but the first meeting isn’t about giving them exactly what they ask for but both sides bringing ideas together to get on the same page visually.  Sometimes a client will say that hate green.  What they might actually hate is mint green but they love kelly green.  You might suggest Hollywood Regency but in their mind they are picturing Art Deco.  Some designers bring a full bag of fabric samples to a first meeting so the client can show them what they like and dislike.  Everyone’s approach is different.  

In no way was I trying to suggest that it’s my way or the highway with the images of inspiration photos I posted for the Miami condo.  They are really just a jumping off point.  I also think it’s nice to show clients ideas that they think they might not like because sometimes those end up being what they do love.  My friend loved the pale blue striped walls from Miles Redd and the striped hallways with sisal from the Soho Beach House.  It might be too much to do both so it becomes like a puzzle to figure out what can be used in which room of a project.  He also liked the Massimo Vitali photos and ended up buying one today on One Kings Lane. The days of a designer coming in and just doing what they want without any client input are long gone.  It’s definitely a collaboration. 

I thought of the immortal words of Diana Vreeland when I first read the question above, “Give them what they didn’t know they wanted.” It’s at least a good place to start. 

Comments Closed

  1. Bob March 13, 2012 | 10:05 pm

    A very smart reply, Heather!!!

  2. Design is... All in the Detail March 13, 2012 | 11:28 pm

    I just stumbled across your blog and fell in love! I am your newest follower! Thanks for the great inspiration. Have a great evening – Jalon

  3. brendam March 14, 2012 | 2:57 am

    I applaud the question, as I too have wondered that very thing (albeit about other designers)..Thank you for the clarity, professionalism and humility provided by your own response.

  4. meenal bishnoi March 14, 2012 | 5:04 am

    Very well articulated, Heather! xx meenal

  5. MJH Design Arts March 14, 2012 | 1:10 pm

    Hi Heather. It is a good question and a great answer. Teaching is a major part of what a good decorator is all about. Mary

  6. Kathy March 14, 2012 | 1:40 pm

    Great answer..so true. I told my interior designer I hated blue, problem being my master bath granite was blue pearl…when re-doing my master bedroom she gave me fabric swatches of what I wanted (rust/gold/brown) and what she wanted (blue/gold/brown)so I loved blue if it had the warm colors with it..after that brilliant move I gave her carte blanche to do whatever she wanted and I LOVE what she did.

  7. LisaMende March 14, 2012 | 1:45 pm

    The exchange you just described between client and designer is necessary to begin any project. Kudos for offering options the client may not otherwise consider. I think it is this fine balance that creates the most interesting spaces for the homeowner. In doing this dance the designer helps the client to discover what they really do like. As always a great post!

  8. Kim March 14, 2012 | 6:18 pm

    Excellent question and answer! Exquisite posts. Thank you, Heather!