Time is the major element that gets overlooked in most residential interior design projects shown on television. The actual implementation of the job is shown at fast forward speed. By the time 22 minutes are up, the jobs is tied up nicely. You rarely see the designer sourcing fabrics or furnishings. The trades are always available. Budget is never discussed. There should be a warning: Don't try this at home!
Pandering to the whims of socialites possessed of too much money for their own good may have typified yesterday's interior designer. Their clients’ most noticeable characteristic was idle time. Times change. Today's residential interior designer's typical clients have a complete shortage of time and too many demands on what little time they do have. These people chunk life down to a size they can handle. In design, this translates not into a mansion makeover, but a room at a time or a condo makeover to suit a certain lifestyle.
Designer's client lists distinctively include physicians and dentists, attorneys and accountants, entrepreneurs and business executives. Their good fortune is the ability to control their destiny by working hard at their chosen profession. What they all have in common is a shortage of time. And busy-ness is their most noticeable characteristic.
Here is a selection of true-to-life design direction scenarios I have encountered in the last year.
1. We are moving offices to Vancouver in 6 weeks. I purchased a condo downtown. I don't know my new city that well, but I have been all over looking for furnishings and can't find anything that meets my criteria of comfortable, affordable, and of good quality. I need someone knowledgeable to source and arrange furnishings and linens and curtains for my two bedroom condo and to deal with my executive assistant by phone and email for payments and scheduling installations.
2. My husband and I just downsized to a condo. We hate the ugly carpeting throughout our living room and dining room. We'd prefer a mixture of hardwood and area rugs. Where can we find a reliable hardwood specialist at an affordable price? How do we go about choosing area rugs?
3. For such an expensive real estate price I expected much better than these cheap-looking countertops, hardware and blinds installed by the developer. I want to change the look with marble and black-out lined drapes and also find someone to create custom closets.
4 I desperately need a fabric I can wash and dry. I have two dogs that shed and drool. What kind of fabric will work? What colors are available?
5. I always bought my fine linens at specialty stores but now they seem to be everywhere and they all say they have a high thread count. Are they made of the same quality cotton? I can't find the colors I like at the big box stores. I've been searching for a slate colored duvet cover and shams.
After the daily corporate battles these busy professionals want to retreat to rooms that look like the photo shoots of home decor magazines and re-charge their batteries for tomorrow. They can afford high-end furnishings and finishes but don't know where to find them. Even it they did, they wouldn't know where to find the time to pull it all together. They mostly want a designer for sourcing the furnishings, making sure all the colors work together, and coordinating trades.
Time is the driver of interior design these days. If a designer can show the importance of this ability to take the job off the shoulders of busy professionals, and save them time, they'll be rewarded with referrals and repeat business.
Veronica Wakeham is a Vancouver Interior Designer and owner of Terra Nova Linen House, a luxury linen establishment in Yaletown in Vancouver, BC. For interior design consultation call 604-688-9280 or go to http://www.threadcounts.com