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Establishing Parameters and Finding Inspiration

I have on numerous occasions found myself in a prospective client’s home feeling quite overwhelmed. This usually stems from the scope of the project, having a client tell you they want to take their upstairs and put it downstairs and take their downstairs and move it two streets over can be a bit bewildering on the first walk through. When this happens, I take a deep breath and a mental step back and assess the situation. I take notes, make recommendations and mentally divvy up the project into what needs to be done immediately and what becomes secondary.

When beginning a large design project or any project for that matter, one of the first and most important steps one must take is to establish parameters, i.e. what would you like to accomplish, in how much time and at what cost. Once you have identified the major objectives and parameters for the project, a task, that at first seemed daunting, can be broken down into smaller, less overwhelming to-do lists. First, consider the space. Is construction required? What items need to be replaced, repaired or reupholstered? Do your homework. Research similar projects/items and their subsequent costs. This will help you develop a reasonable budget for completing your project.

Once the project’s parameters have been established, you may need inspiration for the ultimate look of your space. Inspiration can come from many different sources, a film, art, travel, food, or a piece of trash lying on the street. I typically rely on the client’s personal interests to determine their project’s design direction. This may be a favorite color, a family heirloom, or a hobby. I weave these little bits of personal touches into the design by way of paint, fabric selections, art, or even refurbishing an existing heirloom and incorporating it into the new design.

Having a source of inspiration for your design project will help keep your design plan focused and tie the entire project together. It helps establish the color palette, theme, and/or the style of the space. Once you have figured out the scope of your project by way of your established design parameters and found your inspiration, the remaining design components should fall easily into place.

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