Onward and upward
Now that you are feeling free to boldly turn away from hyped–up trends and seductive retail sirens, and know whom to turn to for solid, relevant advice, it’s time for some meaty questions. What does the professional’s process for creating a well-designed interior design story look like? Why do you almost certainly want it? How can you get it?
A good interior design story is analogous to a good short story, where each sentence builds on the one previous, and contributes to the next, and each element is used deliberately to express the author’s intent. Likewise, a good interior design story has a beginning, middle, and end. There are stops, pauses, and separations. And there are side notes and footnotes. Yes, even an interior space can exhibit foreshadowing, satire, allegory, reference, humor, and surprise. Like a classic story, the more layering and depth an interior contains, the greater its long-term power.
This kind of experience can be found in many of our favorite restaurants or hotels, where the design has been masterfully created to transport us to another place — creative, calming, exciting, enchanting, or seductive. These are our gold standards for what we do.
The space needn’t be only high-end like the Mercer Hotel; it could be Chipotle. In both examples, deliberation and consistency underlie the designs. The designs meet the needs of their users and seem to do so tirelessly. We want to return again and again because each contains something that speaks to us, even if we’re not sure how. We just know we want more.
Great interiors are best thought of as a constructed whole, rather than a little of this and little of that, sprinkled here and there. They are born from an overarching “plot” and “subplot,” each designed and deployed by the designer to ensure a desired response from their user. There is intention in every selection, every statement, every use of the space. Details have been given thought so that you don’t have to. Nothing should distract fromthe overall experience, everything supports your feeling of total immersion.
A similar process applies to the way we think about our homes. By creating a few key phrases that best describe your vision for how you want to live or the experience you want to engender, you will have taken the first important step to creating a great interior.
Throughout the subsequent work, these phrases should be ever-present— like a mantra. All decisions should be passed through them like a filter to ensure they are in keepingwith your intent.
Make your next design choice an intentional chapter in the overall story you’re trying to tell: it’s not just a chair you like and happen to see, but it’s a chair that ties to the carpet, that ties to the walls, that fits your body well, that makes you want to dream. It’s not, in other words, just any old chair!
Heather Van Luchene, ASID, and Steffany Hollingsworth, ASID, are partners inHVL Interiors, LLC, an interior-design firm offering professional residential and hospitality design services. Both areNew Mexico-licensed interior designers. They can be reached at (505) 983-3601 or info@ hvlinteriors.com.
The Albert, an American contemporary restaurant located at Hotel EMC2, provides an intimate library setting with a design plot that is bound to captivate guests