It really does seem like finding your interior designer is a bit like falling in love...
If you were looking to start a new relationship, it would only seem natural to first ask your friends for their advice... did they have any handsome, charming, sensitive, successful, preferably enlightened friends... that they could introduce you to? The same seems true for finding an interior designer, as we usually start by asking our closest friends for their recommendations for their favorite designer.
Occasionally, you may want to take a risk on that new designer you just saw on HGTV or on the cover of Architectural Digest or Luxe Magazine, deciding, that's the right one for me!
But I think we can pretty much say with certainty that although it may prove to be loads of fun... this may not be the best way to finding your soul mate!
After a few blind dates, and being introduced to lots of different personalities... it may seem, thankfully, the search is finally over, and you're convinced you have found the right designer for you... there's lots of chemistry, and so the dating begins...
You meet for hours talking about all the things you love: antiques or contemporary classics, your favorite art, what makes you feel most comfortable, what are your favorite colors, how you like to entertain your friends, where and how you like to spend your weekends... by the pool with 20 friends or curled up in a quiet room with a cozy fire and a great novel, how you like to cook, where you want your wine collection stored, what kind of mattress is best, with what thread count in your sheets... and on and on... This part of the process can be quite intimate. And there is a great deal of information your designer needs to know to create the best environment for you, and there is a good reason why they must have all this information up front and very quickly and it's because they need to understand just who it is they are designing for.
They need to see you exactly as you are, not who they want you to be, at least according to Harville Hendrix. It all may even seem quite perfect... you may be feeling butterflies, that your designer really cares about you, has really taken the time to understand what you really want, who you really are... you may feel safe and understood... it may even feel a little bit like you have just fallen in love...
But what happens next will determine if the relationship is destined for success or doomed... during your engagement lots of decisions need to be made about the wedding... I mean... the project. This is the time when you are both under stress and have to make a multitude of decisions together and give lots of approvals. At this point it's imperative you understand the overall look and feel of the project, as it will set the entire theme for your big day. Will there be an event planner/office manager to keep it all sorted out with a schedule and a budget, are you going for quiet and simple or for no hold's barred Moulin Rouge extravaganza with all that glorious drama and chaos?
It would be best to find a designer who can clearly explain the design process to you in a way that makes you feel comfortable with all aspects of the design and the cost... to keep you feeling safe about where things are headed and possibly even a completion date, so that you actually make it to the altar on time!
After the honeymoon is over, you will be left with your newly designed home... filled with architectural design features, amazing building materials, furnishings and fixtures that have all been specified and selected to create that special environment you have been anticipating. It may seem optimistic to think that the end result will be exactly what you had hoped for over the course of the last several months, but if you want to find yourself happily married with a storybook ending... be sure to spend the time to find the right designer for your project, don't just jump in blindly hoping to find love... otherwise, you may just end up asking yourself what the hell happened here?... With only a sweet memory of that lovely first kiss!
A few suggestions to send you off in the right direction...
It's very important to trust and respect your designer -- on an emotional level as well as, a professional level. You must know they clearly understand your design aesthetic and your expectations for your project. Please take the time to be sure he/she has the qualifications to provide you with the service you are looking for. Don't be afraid to be honest, ask questions and let them know exactly what you want up front. If you even suspect your ideas are going in one ear and out the other, and that this project is going to be all about them... then run!
Most of all, have fun and enjoy the process! You are creating a new space to live in, and it is supposed to be fun... this isn't open heart surgery... so find a designer that can make it fun and enjoyable for you!
When you do find the right designer, you will know it, as they will become a part of your family for years to come and because, after all, you fell in love!