April 17, 2019

How To Create An Amazing Design and Not A Pretty Pile

Allison van Ee

I am always excited when my clients come in with a bag full of ideas for their new house. Their excitement exudes and radiates throughout the whole process: they’ll point to all the tile they like— hexagons, pennies, large scale geometric, stripes, polished solids; they love the show-stopping quartz countertops that mimics ocean waters as it recedes off the sands. There are so many options and possibilities that, trying to figure out how to combine these fabulous ideas into one cohesive, holistic design can become overwhelming.

It may seem natural to take everything you like and put it together, but this would not be advised. I try to go by the following rules when designing a home that seems to have too many elements to combine successfully: Accept, Prioritize, Edit, and Trust.

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The most significant part of the process is the first step. Accept that you most likely won’t be able utilize all of your favorites in your home. Imagine going into your closet and seeing all your casual wear, work attire, and formal wear…then create a single look with your favorites. You grabbed your beautiful Hermes scarf, your “go to” skinny jeans, your Sweetheart neckline wedding dress, those oh-so-comfy Tory Burch red flats, and your amazing leather bowler jacket that fits you perfectly. It may turn out to be the most stunning ensemble you have ever worn or a hot mess!  Going into the process knowing that you won’t be able to use everything you’ve fallen in love with is truly half the battle.

Next make two lists of your favorites and prioritize. What is the most important space to you in your new home? Is it the kitchen, where you spend most of your time and want to see the investment on a daily basis? Perhaps you’re the couple known for the best parties and want the most amazing basement with a wet bar and television equipment ready for any game at any moment? Or are you busy executives that need a relaxing, spa-like experience in your master suite before you take on the day?

I like to put some of my favorite design elements in the rooms I find the highest priority for me. I love to look down at my beloved bathroom countertops when I’m getting ready for bed. It reminds me that I really love this space that I have worked all day to come home to.Whatever your priorities may be, it’s wise to have them listed out by importance before you embark on your design. Remember, your list may be very different from your partner’s, so having them written down beforehand will help the conversation and open the doors to negotiation.

When you know your priorities, start with a holistic base of design. This may be a color scheme or a design aesthetic like Modern Farmhouse or Industrial. If you want to introduce multiple “star” design elements it may be wise to incorporate an element of cohesion. For instance, if you’re going to introduce different tile and countertops it may be nice to continue the same cabinet throughout the home. When pairing tile and countertops, always remember the star looks better with a sophisticated supporting cast! If you have a large-scale marble tile with lots of movement, a toned down solid would look lovely to really showcase the natural veining of the stone and not be distracting to the eye.

Many times, those favorites from earlier have snuck their way back into the design again. When this happens, the time has come to edit. Customers are often disheartened by the thought of removing one of their lovelies. They shouldn’t be! This is arguably the most crucial stage to the outcome. In most cases in the master bath, you are able to remove an accent tile or tile pattern and it will refine the design. In recent years, customers have been using multiple types of tile in their master bath. To pull this look off, however, there is a delicate balance between all elements. Always ask yourself who is the star and how can I make it best shine?

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Last but definitely not least, comes trust! Trust your designer to guide you. Designers have a way of picturing items, many of which they have used before and have the experience to know what will  best work together in certain spaces. We are creative beings that always want to come up with new ways to push boundaries, but we also respect the grounded principles found in classic design. Our goal is to make the client fall in love with their new home and we are proud to be a part of this process. Trust us and we will not send you out on a date in a wedding dress with a leather jacket and red pair of flats. We want to design something for you that you’ll want to show-off every day, for all your guests, for years to come.

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