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Home Sweet Home

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We are all familiar with the saying "Home Sweet Home," but what does it mean? It varies greatly from person to person. What is comfortable and stylish for one person is not for another. While it is fascinating to find out how people truly live, it is hard to discover. Once hired, I sometimes resort to an unannounced visit. Some might consider it rude, but it is effective for me and 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 and learn something about my clients to better assist them. As a designer, I never try to impose a lifestyle on clients but rather define and refine their own style.

Your lifestyle is what should define your decoration. Working with a designer, a client enters into a relationship where it is expected that you divulge 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 sleeps in another room? When you are working with an interior designer, it is time to be bitterly honest about your household. This is not the time for keeping up appearances.

Creating you home sweet home is not unlike buying an haute couture gown or having a custom suit made; it requires a little patience and some time for modifications so it can fit you like a glove. Whatever your design style is, the design has to function for the particular needs of you and your family. This might mean letting go of conventional concepts of a household. For example, maybe you forgo a formal dining room if you eat out all the time. 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 is 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."

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Fla. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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