My 3 Monsters: Interior Designing is Hard

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Interior Designing is Hard

It is. Not hard in the way that rocket science or heart surgery is hard, but hard no less. Partly because the average person cannot perform a triple bypass reasonably well on their own and, most likely will not even attempt it. Also, there is not a whole cable network of programming telling people that they can, in fact, perform triple bypasses all by themselves on a dime. It is also hard because interior design is so subjective. While, I imagine, there is ONE right way to perform an open heart surgery, there are as many right ways to renovate a bathroom as there are bathrooms needing to be renovated. There is some skill involved in designing (at least my parents hope so after paying for me get a 4 year degree), but there is just as much need for good taste, which you either have or you don't. And here's where it gets really tricky: you don't even have to have good taste. You just have to find the people with similar taste to your own who are willing to spend some money on their house.

I love what I do. Or more to the point, what I haven't done (on a paid basis) for the past several years while I have been raising my kids and am beginning to do again. I love everything about it. But I have a hard time acting like I know more than other people do. Which is really what we designers are doing. I am telling you what you want and you are believing me because I am also telling you that I am some kind of authority on the matter. I have a hard time pulling that off. I will stop and pat myself on the back here and say that I DO have an eye for color. I'm a color girl through and through and I can pick 'em like nobody's business. I have a hard time explaining why I pick them. It's really just an instinct. I do things because I like the way they look. Sure, I could probably trace all my "instincts" back to rules and theories I learned in school, but I generally don't. I just DO. And if you like what I do, you can pay me and I will do what I do for you.

I recently did a design consultation for a couple. They were the nicest people I've met in a long time. Surprisingly, I found that I was very confident in sharing my opinions with them. We picked paint colors for the two main rooms in no time flat. When they started asking me why I would paint all the trim and doors crisp white instead of staining it and all I could say was, "Because that's the way I like it," or, "Because, to me, that looks really fresh and clean and makes your paint colors pop," and they were OK with that as a reason I was a little bit stunned. These people trust me. Whoa. As the meeting went on and I got to know this couple better I was impressed by how differently other people see me. (As opposed to the totally chaotic view I have of myself.) Here was this man who reminded me so much of my dad telling me he had been intimidated by me. So much so that he had asked a mutual (female) friend to call me and ask if I'd be interested in taking on this project rather than just calling me himself. Huh. Weird. There I was, just a girl the same age as his daughter with a couple of opinions about paint colors and furniture placement. Real intimidating. So, life is weird. And I'm a little freaked out that after I left he went ahead with our plan to put a nice new door into his atrium and cut a door-sized hole in his wall right where I told him to. Yikes.


  1. You'd be surprised how much someone with ZERO talent in the design department admires someone like you who has a natural (and learned) instinct for this stuff. I know what I like, but I'll be dad-gummed if I can materialize or create what I want. And yes, I may need you to point out to me what I like.

    That said, I don't want to pay you for what you do. I want you to post pictures of your house so I can make a cheap attempt at copying every last detail. Run along and get snapping, now.

  2. My home is realy not that impressive. Really. The whole budget (and time) issue is ever frustrating. Oh well. I'll selectively photograph the few things in my house that I don't wish were different or have plans for changing. You'll see . . . I'm just like everybody else.


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