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

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