What does "home" mean to you?
Selecting an interior designer to help with the design of your home is tricky. A bit of research is required to see if you are a good fit. A meeting should take place — not unlike speed dating — in which basic questions such as stylistic preferences, scope of work, work ethic and budgets are discussed by both parties. Most important is your approach and/or your design philosophy.
For example, my interior design philosophy, first and foremost, is dictated by a regional approach. Interiors in Palm Beach, Florida, should not look like interiors in New York, and vice versa. Interior selections with regard to materials, finishes and colors should reflect the location of the project. A designer should always endeavor to capture the nuances of place, without hitting kitsch.
Steer away from designers providing a "signature" look. The best interior designers can work in almost any style. Each home and project should be a reflection of a homeowner's taste and lifestyle. Each project is and should be different — different in architecture, different in style, different in client requirements. Therefore, the design results are never rubber-stamped, never the same. A designer's role should be to act as a moderator, editor and facilitator of design.
It's most important to find out what "home" means to one's clients and to oneself. The concept of home captures both tactile things and abstract emotions. The best compliment is when guests and visitors cannot describe why they feel so good in your home. It is the "it" factor. Home is about a feeling. It's a place of comfort, which is the ultimate luxury.
Be candid with your designer about what you would like the most important function of your home to be. For one family, it might be comfort. For an aspiring chef, it might be a culinary haven. For a high-stress businessperson, it may be a spalike atmosphere. For an art collector, it may be a place to house art. It is crucial for the designer to know this linchpin of the design; in the end, the homeowner gets to live with an interior they truly enjoy, and the designer can walk away knowing they have done their very best for them.
Some takeaway tips:
1. Decorate to please yourself — not your neighbors or friends.
2. Buy the very best art you can afford — over a long period of time.
3. Accessorize with few items. It's best if each item is larger than a football.
4. Do not be afraid to mix. Juxtapose styles, colors and textures.
5. Be bold.
6. Leave room for changes: accessories, art and the occasional piece of furniture.
7. An inviting room can even make food taste better.
8. Always add your favorite color to any room. It'll make you feel good.
9. Take risks. It's your home and your rules.
10. Read "Home: A Short History of an Idea" by Witold Rybczynski as well as "Geography of Home: Writings on Where We Live" by Akiko Busch.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is www.josephpubillones.com. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.