Defin­ing what ‘Home, Sweet Home’ means

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We are all fa­mil­iar with the say­ing “Home, Sweet Home,” but what does this mean? This varies greatly from per­son to per­son. What is com­fort­able and stylish for one per­son is not for an­other. It is fas­ci­nat­ing to find out how peo­ple truly live, and hard to find out. Once hired, this is what I some­times re­sort to ... an unan­nounced visit. Per­haps some con­sider it rude, but it is ef­fec­tive for me... you’ll see why.

There is noth­ing I love more than to pay unan­nounced vis­its to my clients and friends... and no, not be­cause I am do­ing a “Mother-in-law’s” house­keep­ing visit. Lord knows the only house­keep­ing that I know how to do is the one that I hire. I love these vis­its be­cause they are spon­ta­neous, or at least I make it seem that way, and you can ac­tu­ally see how peo­ple live and use their spa­ces, with­out them tak­ing time to show you the way they’d like to live.

This al­ways re­veals the unedited ver­sion. I al­ways take away some­thing from these vis­its. As a de­signer, I never try to im­pose a life­style on clients, but rather de­fine and re­fine their own style. I ac­tu­ally learn some­thing about my clients to bet­ter as­sist them.

Your life­style is what should de­fine your dec­o­ra­tion. Work­ing with a de­signer, a client en­ters into a re­la­tion­ship, where it is ex­pected that you di­vest in­for­ma­tion that is some­what pri­vate and can be con­sid­ered in­ti­mate ter­ri­tory. So what if your teenage daugh­ter loves to plas­ter the walls of her bed­room with ad­he­sive tape, your live-in Mother-in law is de­ter­mined to move all your ac­ces­sories around the house, or your hus­band sleep in an­other room.

When you are work­ing with an in­te­rior de­signer, it is time to be bit­terly hon­est about your house­hold. Your de­signer can of­ten find so­lu­tions by de­sign that can make your in­ter­ven­tions seem like a great idea to your neme­sis. This is not the time for keep­ing up ap­pear­ances.

Cre­at­ing your “Home, Sweet Home” is not un­like buy­ing a cou­ture gown, or hav­ing a cus­tom suit made — it re­quires a lit­tle pa­tience and some time for fit­tings so it can fit you like a glove. What­ever your de­sign style is, the de­sign has to func­tion for you par­tic­u­lar needs or your fam­ily.

This might mean let­ting go of con­ven­tional con­cepts of a house­hold; For ex­am­ple, for­go­ing a for­mal din­ing room if you eat out all the time, or if your kitchen works best with a din­ing area. There shouldn’t be any ob­sta­cles when mak­ing your space work for you, but it needs to make sense. Your de­signer should al­ways be your sound­ing board for ideas, good and bad, and steer you in the right di­rec­tion. Some­where be­tween their ad­vice and your needs lies the best an­swer for your de­sign.

My fa­vorite quote about be­ing sin­cere about your de­sign needs i s from Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel be­cause those who mind don’t mat­ter and those who mat­ter don’t mind.”

Your life­style is what should de­fine your dec­o­ra­tion.

Joseph Pu­bil­lones Art of De­sign

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