Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pearls of Wisdom - Billy Baldwin

  A designer's job is to listen to the client wants, needs and vision for their home, office or whatever space is being designed, then carefully put the rooms together to reflect the owner or people who inhibit the spaces while exercising good design principles.  The older and more experienced I become as a designer,the more I realize how important it is for our environments to reflect who we are or what we like.  Our homes tell a story about us.  We should be able to walk into a room and feel as though we know something about the person who lives  or works there.  

If we are continually waking up to a room that does not reflect who we are as a person, it's like being a guest in a hotel.  Collaboration with the clients vision and being flexible is the only way a designer successfully completes a project that is authentic to the owner.

Some designers have a need to control every ounce of a project to the point the project becomes more about them than the people using the space.   My projects are always a mix of my style with that of my client's personality, lifestyle, wants, needs, and perhaps family heirlooms that make the most-interesting environments to me. 

 I have learned to ask my family about their wants and needs in our home.  When I started asking my family, I discovered some interesting things which have made my children feel more invested in their rooms and our home.  I'm not suggesting you have your two-year old picking out silk for the drapery, but it is good to ask what they like and don't like about their rooms or rooms they use in the home. 

When I was a young designer, I thought I knew everything about design; therefore, I was suppose to maintain complete control over the project in regards to the total design vision.  I still do maintain control in regards to the overall plan and execution of the plan, but I  offer leeway with the client's wants and needs.  Yes,I went to design school where I studied residential and commercial design, the principals of design, survived massive amounts of studio critiques, multiple art history classes and all the trying project deadlines design students endure.  The one class I didn't have was listening to others.  That is a life class you learn on the job.  Developing the art of listening is as important to design as having knowledge of furniture design.  It is through listening we as designers can extrapolate   ideas to make our client's lives and worlds more functional and beautiful.
As I have gotten older, I realize that collaboration creates more interesting projects. When we value the opinions of others or at least consider them, it expands our thought process.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not going to use furniture in projects I don't think fit the room, just because it belonged to Aunt Sarah, but I am listening when someone says I really want to use this if possible, or I'm not sure I like that chair.  I don't immediately shut someone down because I think it's my way or the highway.  Valuing the opinion of others especially in regards to shared spaces is paramount, whether you are a designer or a mom decorating your  home.  There is value in considering everyone's opinion in creating spaces that are authentic to the person or family.

  People invest in environments that feel authentic to them.   I think Billy Baldwin was right!  His pearls of wisdom hit home with me.  If you like Aunt Sarah's table by all means find a place in your home to use it.  

If you are a designer, how much to you listen to your clients?  If you are a homeowner designing your own home, how much do you consider others who live in the home?
You might be surprised at how much you can learn from listening to others and being respectful that we all have opinions to consider!

  Do you feel at home in your environment?  Does your home reflect you and your family in a manner that tells your story?  If not, what are you waiting for?  Call tomorrow, we can make that happen!
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  1. Great thought from both you and Mr. Baldwin Lisa. I can look at a room immediately and see how much a family is actually LIVING in it, using it every day. I do believe that even the designers so well known, can give their clients the home layered with history and love! Listening is the answer!

    The Arts by Karena

  2. I totally agree with you Karena, I even edited my post because my thoughts were not clear and sounded as though I was being negative about big name designers which was not my intention. I agree that the most successful design is born from listening. Thanks for commenting and making me think about how that sounded to others reading it.


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