While all designers have their own personal style, when dealing with clients my own tends to differ markedly from the standard approach which normally involves extensive consultation and multiple shopping trips together. I try to avoid over-intellectualizing the process, looking instead to my intuitive “read” of a space to supply my inspiration. I like working at an accelerated pace, and I usually get a very quick read at the outset. I’ve learned to trust my intuition at this stage of the process; that bright, shining flash of an idea is always right, but if I overthink it I find it becomes distorted. I might need a Plan B, of course, to accommodate the myriad complications that can arise with any project, but I try not to deviate too much from the initial inspiration.
Similarly, when listening to clients discuss their preferences, I tend to focus on what they don’t say, relying more on my sense of who they are and how they live to drive the design. I find that this allows me to more accurately express their voice, their story, since many people either can’t articulate it or aren’t even conscious of it. It also prevents the process from becoming too automatic, and forces me to question myself in constructive ways.
But I don’t just listen to the clients; I also listen to the house itself. The designated space will invariably have a language of its own that dictates the kind of design that will be welcome, even if it initially seems at odds with what the client envisions. By honoring my intuition in that regard, I frequently hear responses like, “It’s better than I thought it would be,” or, “I didn’t get it, but I trusted you, and now it’s just right.”