24 June 2010

I'm Learning Something

I am learning that what will make a good decorator is the same thing that makes a good person--being selfless.  (image via Habitually Chic )

The past few weeks I have had so much fun helping my friend, Jennifer, decorate her dining room, living room, entry, powder room, kitchen & breakfast nook.  I write so much about this because I am new to it...and it is a dream come true!

We have gone down one road of what she thought they wanted....and now this has brought us to something like the picture above from Bungalow Classic....neutrals with pops of blue and violet (and a little zebra like pictured above!)  But, I have learned that to get to what THEY want....I had to get out of the way.  I am really just a vehicle to help them discover the "home that is already in them."  It has nothing to do about me.

I do serve the purpose of "giving them permission."  I think many times people really know what they want, or they do want to go wild in some part of their home.  I think, sometimes, all they want is conformation that it is okay.  (a damask stenciled bedroom....image source unknown).

If I were to push my ideally beautiful room, it would be something like this above, styled by Atlanta Bartlett...trademark spareness, whiteness...with lovely rustic touches.

But that wouldn't be them...and isn't that who it is all about?

She really loves, as she calls "the love affair I have with my chandelier".....this is true.  I think I have succeeded in really loving an inanimate object.  (my kitchen)

But, as we learned, this isn't her....isn't them!

She even is being an ideal, selfless wife.  She is forgoing her dream (gray-violet painted walls) in the dining room....to please her husband who wants neutral. 

 It is not all about her, either.  It is about a family.

It is about mixing a little of her glam.....(we're putting one mirrored piece in the DR)

with his masculine neutralness....

(a picture of a rustic bench we want to locate...image via Simply Grove )

With the kids' playfulness...

easy-to-clean goodness found in a Louis Ghost Chair (I think House Beautiful image)

I think some decorators and designers are all about signature style.  If you walk into a Kelly Wearstler room....you KNOW who did the room.

Perhaps there are some families who say..."I want this room to look like a Kelly Wearster room".  I bet this isn't many.  

I bet to have a long career as a decorator (which I hope to have!)....you serve mainly as an instrument that pulls the design out of your client.

What are your comments on this?

By the way, thanks for voting!  It looks like I have a new project this weekend....cover the backs of the bookcases!

I have made a little progress with the mirrored stairwell...there are now 5:

Thank you, Homegoods!  What would all of us do without you?


  1. Love this post! By the way, I just picked up a rustic bench...it is a little larger in scale than the one pictured and different style wise...I'll be posting it with those other finds from Homegoods today!!!

  2. Love your kitchen chandelier!I'm going to have to check out Homegoods too :)

  3. It is so exciting to help with the design of someone's house. I'm a little jealous. I have lots of friends who ask for my help picking one fabric or a wall color or for my opinion on a piece of furniture, but I've never had the opportunity you now hold. I can't wait to see the finished project (take lots of before shots so we can ooh and ahh over the afters)!

  4. I think a designer helps someone step out of the box sometimes and yes, I agree with you, assure them that their idea will look good......or not. Your project sounds fun!!!

  5. Yes ..... what would any of us do w/o HomeGoods??

  6. beautiful sentiments and you are so right on a decorator being a 'vehicle' for the end product.

    it was wonderful to see some progress shots; hope you will show us more....

  7. You are right on! I will say though, that generally the best decorating relationships seem to be between decorator and client where they share some common decorating tastes. Not sure that Kelly Wearstler could ever do spare and white with a touch of rustic!! ;-)

    Can't wait to see the results!

  8. Years ago I thought seriously about ditching my educational roots and going to design school. One thing that stopped me was the thought that I couldn't design a space in a style that I didn't like. Even designing one's own home can be a challenge.

  9. Julie, you are right. Being a good designer means LISTENING to your client, and respecting her style and budget. It has to function for their family, and sometimes it is very hard when they don't see your vision! All you can do is try to guide them, and to keep them from making huge mistakes like a purple and yellow backsplash or something. Often I know that a project I am working on will NEVER be my favorite, but I still try to make it the best I can because that is why they hire us. At the end of the day, it is their home, and I want them to feel comfortable with it.