Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Around my table

Today I was fortunate enough to sit at a "designer roundtable" to discuss how a struggling fabric house can reinvent themselves during a time when value and luxury are two words that should coexist in the same sentence; a bit of an oxymoron but what most clients are truly looking for when they hire us to manage their budgets and make their house look beautiful at the same time.  Including me, there were 10 mixed-use designers there sharing in an open discussion about what is important to each of us when it comes to choosing a brand and a showroom.  To some it was customer service.  To others, a user-friendly website with up to the minute information on pricing and current stock.  And to me, it was and always will be, practicality.  Of course the first two points are important things that I look for, but ultimately it's how practical the fabric (not so much the brand) is for my project and for my client.

In recent years, there has been a strong movement away from fuss and into function.  Those special single-use rooms are getting harder to find with people wanting to live in their space rather than just admire it.  When I look at a project, I tend to think of the space as a whole, even if I am just working on a piece of it.  I am a big believer in cohesive design and feel that rooms should flow into one another without obvious stops and starts, and color palettes should continue through transitions welcoming you into the next space.  If I had my way, everything under one roof could be interchangeable, and a bedroom chair could easily serve as extra seating during a dinner party without feeling like something borrowed from another room.

So getting back to the practicality of a fabric house.  It's obvious in my portfolio that I favor certain fabrics and certain manufacturers.  Some of the lines just understand my idea of design better than others.  Sometimes that can mean budget.  Sometimes durability.  Sometimes accessibility.  And, sometimes, how much time I have to find the fabric before the babysitter calls telling me it's time to come home.  But, more times than most, it means all of it coexisting in the same sentence and the same space. 

Chair from bedroom
Can transition into the living room

And then into the dining room

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